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We will Protect Mahinda, Gota, Fonseka From War Crime Probe: UNP

Seeking support from all the communities in the country to form a new government, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) on Monday reiterated that it would not allow any international war crime probe against former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa or former army chief Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.Answering a question with regard to the UN probe, which has reportedly found some top political and military top brass being responsible for war crimes committed during the final months of the war, Deputy Minister of Justice Sujeewa Senasinghe said that the world “is aware of the fact that our leaders and the armed forces have carefully conducted this war to save the civilians”.

“We will not allow any international probe against Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Sarath Fonseka,” Minister Senasinghe told reporters at the party headquarters on Monday.

“We give that pledge. Nobody can play fool with us and ours is an independent democratic country. We pledge that we will not allow our leaders or the armed forces to be tried before international tribunals”.

He, however, slammed the former strongman for allowing the UN Expert Panel to produce a damning report on the conduct of the war that ended in May 2009, which he said has resulted in the UN-led probe.

“It is former president Mahinda Rajapaksa who allowed the Darusman report to be produced. All these charges arose from this Darusman report. We will correct the mistakes committed by Mahinda Rajapaksa,” Minister Senasinghe said.

Hit by political turmoil, Sri Lanka is facing a parliamentary election on August 17, nearly ten months in advance. The UNP which helped Maithripala Sirisena to win the January 8 presidential election against Mahinda Rajapaksa, is fighting hard against his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to win the upcoming election.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is set to release the report of the UN-led investigation into the crimes committed in Sri Lanka, during its next session in Geneva in September this year. The UN-led probe report is expected to be released along with a damning resolution.

Although the war survivors have been calling for an independent international war crime probe for the past six years, successive Sri Lankan governments have firmly said that the jurisdiction for all these matters were domestic.

Echoing the claim of the previous regime with regard to war crime allegations, newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena has stated that he would not allow any international investigations.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has also repeatedly stated that Sri Lanka is not a party to the Rome statute, therefore, cannot be tried at the international criminal court.

According to UN initial estimates, over 40,000 people had been killed during the final months of the war, but Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph testifying before one of the local commission of inquiry said that 146,679 people have been missing between October 2008 and May 2009.

– Colombo Mirror


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