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No evidence of war crimes found so far: Sri Lankan army

An army inquiry into alleged human rights abuses by Sri Lankan troops during the final stages of the war against Tamil Tiger rebels has so far found no evidence to back such claims, the Sri Lankan army said in a statement posted on its official website on Tuesday.

Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya is quoted as saying that false allegations are being leveled against the army and the Sri Lankan government because some people are not prepared to admit defeat of terrorism in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009 but later faced allegations of killing surrendering rebels and also civilians in an attempt to end the war.

The Sri Lankan government refuted the allegations and appointed the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to look at some of the allegations amid international pressure.

The LLRC, in its final reports made public last year, mentioned some of the allegations against the army and urged the government to look into these incidents.

However, Jayasuriya said the army investigations, which began this year through a military court of inquiry to investigate into the references in the LLRC report, has so far not received any eye- witnesses who could provide concrete evidence on the allegations referred to in the LLRC report.

“The President and Secretary of Defense are fully aware of the exceptional roles we, the members of the Army performed during the humanitarian operations and none of those international complainants or any other civilians at that stage, came forward to complain about those alleged atrocities, said to have been committed by the Army during the final phases. Now, those elements are working collectively to bring disrepute to the Army and the country at large while being in Geneva,” he said.

Sri Lanka is facing a U.S.-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva which calls on the government to implement some key recommendations of the LLRC report and also address accountability issues.

The army commander said allegations are being raised against Sri Lanka in order to overthrow the government.

Meanwhile, the commander also ordered his troops not to carry weapons in future while they are not on duty.


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