Sri Lanka leader hits out at likely UN resolution

AP News
Posted: Feb 04, 2014 2:27 AM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president said Tuesday that it would be a "grave crime" if anyone brings war crime allegations against his government over its conduct in the final months of a quarter-century civil war, saying it would be a victory for forces opposed to peace on the island nation.

Mahinda Rajapaksa did not mention any country in an Independence Day speech, but the United States has said that it is frustrated at Sri Lanka's lack of progress in post-war reconciliation and accountability and says it will bring a third resolution to the United Nations human rights body calling on Sri Lanka to do more. Details of the resolution have not been revealed.

"I see the allegations of war crimes attempted to be brought against Sri Lanka in Geneva as a victory for those who are opposed to peace, "said Rajapaksa, adding it was a "grave crime" to make such accusations based on information provided by "separatists and losers."

Rajapaksa said the proposed resolution was against peace, justice and fairness.

Sri Lanka has faced questions over the tactics it used to defeat Tamil rebels in 2009 to end a 25-year civil war. Government troops have been accused of targeting civilians and hospitals, blocking food and medicine for civilians, and deliberately under countering the number of civilians trapped in the war zone.

The rebels were accused of using the civilians as human shields, killing those who tried to escape and recruiting child soldiers. According to a U.N. report, 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians may have been killed in the final months of the fighting, mostly by government attacks. The U.S has sponsored two resolutions calling on the Sri Lankan government to initiate an inquiry into allegations of war crimes.