Sri Lankan military ready to face war crimes inquiry
Sri Lanka’s military, on Thursday, said that it was prepared to face a war crimes inquiry in order to clear its name.
Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake told the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Sri Lanka that there was no need to fear an inquiry as the Army had not committed war crimes.
He said that the Army has established a new unit to counter the war crimes allegations, with evidence.
The establishment of the new unit comes as Sri Lanka celebrates nine years this May, since defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels.
Sri Lanka fought a bitter 30 year war against the Tamil Tiger rebels before eventually defeating them in May 2009.
However the Sri Lankan military has been accused of committing war crimes, particularly during the final stages of the war.
Senanayake said that the army had established a “Directorate of Overseas Operations” in April to address the war crimes allegations.
“A few personnel may have committed crimes, but the whole Army cannot be blamed for that. At any rate 14 personnel who had committed objectionable act had been punished,” he said.
Human rights groups claimed that nearly 40,000 people were killed during the final stages of the war but the Sri Lankan Government puts the figure as being close to around 7000.
Senanayake says most war crimes allegations against the Army, including allegations of abductions are being made by a group of Sri Lankans living overseas.