The Sunday Leader

Sri Lanka promises accountability

Pic courtesy Washington Times

Sri Lanka will hold accountable every person accused of war crimes during its decades-long civil conflict, the island nation’s ambassador to the U.S. says.

The Obama administration and human-rights groups have questioned Sri Lanka’s commitment to accountability after its government released a 387-page report on the conflict that does not identify any war-crimes suspects.

Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya said the suspects’ names are disclosed in eyewitness testimony that is posted on the website of the government-appointed commission that issued the report.

“There are no names [in the report], but there is a process to check accountability,” Mr. Wickramasuriya said in an interview with editors and reporters at The Washington Times.

Accusations of war crimes run up the military’s chain of command and include Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Sri Lankan government has opposed an international investigation, and Mr. Wickramasuriya said that position has not changed.

“We believe that a home-grown solution is the best solution for Sri Lanka,” he said.

The Sri Lankan army declared victory over the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009, ending a war that spanned nearly three decades and killed thousands of people.

Sri Lanka’s president appointed the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission in May 2010 to examine the war and post-conflict efforts.

Human Rights Watch said the commission report “disregards the worst abuses by government forces, rehashes longstanding recommendations, and fails to advance accountability for victims of Sri Lanka’s civil armed conflict.”

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters last week that the report does not fully address all the allegations of human-rights violations that occurred in the last phase of the conflict.

“This leaves questions about accountability,” she said.

The government’s preliminary action plan does not provide the kind of “detailed road map that we had hoped to see for fulfilling all of the commission’s recommendations,” she added.

Mr. Wickramasuriya said Ms. Nuland’s comments were inaccurate.

“We were very upset about that statement,” he said. “The U.S. is one of our very good friends, and we are a democratic country in the region. Sri Lanka should be credited at this time.”

Moreover, the report adequately addresses the last days of the conflict, the diplomat said.

Earlier this year, a U.N. panel found there were credible reports that the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tigers committed war crimes during the final months of the war.

The Sri Lankan commission report contradicts prior claims by the government that no civilians were killed by its forces. It concludes that there were “considerable civilian casualties” during the final days of the conflict and that hospitals had been shelled.

Sri Lankan forces did not deliberately target civilians in no-fire zones, the report adds.

Mr. Wickramasuriya said Sri Lanka’s military had undertaken a “humanitarian operation” during the war to protect civilians, noting that government forces needed two years to clear rebels from their eastern and northern strongholds.

“If we weren’t concerned about civilians, clearing that area wouldn’t take that long,” he said, acknowledging that there had been some civilian casualties.

Sri Lanka, an island the size of West Virginia in the Indian Ocean, has a population of 20 million. (


9 Comments for “Sri Lanka promises accountability”

  1. Wobat power

    Look of trasy crap. The world knows this thug criminal government shot innocent Tamils at point blank and killed 300,000 of them.

  2. Bruz

    Every one knows about Sri Lanka & it’s promises. It promised so many things, but never delivered just one even. Accountability is a far cry, especially from this despotic
    regime. These gimmicks are all time buying,delaying trick of the infamous cheating
    arrogant power hungry unjust thuggish mafiosi like ruling group, just came through the back door to plunder & destroy this great nation.

  3. gamarala

    The General was found Not Guilty by one of the judges. The presiding judge has been promoted, while her husband holds high posts in state enterprises,against all norms of judicial independence.
    Earlier he was found ‘guilty’ by a military court of judges of lower rank than him, and untrained in law, which has never happened in courts martial, anywhere in the world.
    The General’s remarks on the ‘white flag’ killings have now been substantiated by a Major General from abroad.
    What price judicial independence in Sri Lanka?

  4. raj

    can you allow outsiders to investigate your statement’s validity. This is nothing to do with the culture spoken in the media. It is about the real cultue. In practice in some culture violent agains women are acceptable though it is not in written form. How many people are getting dowry from bride when they get married from women family in Sri Lanka?

  5. There isn’t any meaning found in the SRI LANKAN Dictionary for the word “Promise”. This word is misused all the time. This Country has not learnt any thing solid from the Foreign Rulers in the past.

  6. Randir Waduge

    This man the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Washinton is an absolute disgrace. This man has no idea of diplomacy nor the intellect to represent the country. His Buth Curry diplomacy to curry favour with the Washingnton political elite and the diplomatic colony has made him a standing joke. The man says that all people who commited war crimes will be be accountable for the crimes they commited, I thought the govt line was no single person died at the hands of the millitary in the final stages of this murderous genocide that killed over 40 thousand innocents. So what is this man talking about?He of course is a relative of the President and his intellect is questionable, as are most of his relatives who are a bunch of Yokums with no proper education. and run the country supported by drug dealers crominals and thugs.

  7. raj

    Can the government of Sri Lanka make giving or getting dowry is illegal in order to eliminate grooms (male) demand assets from bride’s family.

  8. Said Hussein

    Do not believe what the Ambassador says. The truth is already known and many witnesses are there to support any inquiry by the UN investigating team.
    In this modern world there is no place for jungle laws and the people responsible must face the courts whether it be in USA or in Hague. Let us be honest and bring to book all the culprits responsible towards the genocide and crime against humanity.

    Said Hussein


  9. silva

    all knows about srilankan dictators promises , all dictators should also understand where all dictators end up, recent one honorable and best friend libyan socalled leade Gaddfi

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