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‘International mechanism’ will take effect to probe Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes – US

Aug 26, 2011 3:32:43 PM - www.ft.lk

Washington, DC. (Asiantribune.com): “We continue to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to meet its international humanitarian law and international human rights law obligations, and we continue to say that if they cannot do this nationally, then the international community will have to step in. So Bob Blake will be talking about all these issues on his visit,” declared US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland on Thursday, 25 August at the mid day media briefing.

The spokesperson Victoria Nuland responded to a question raised by India Globe correspondent Raghubir Goyal.

Nuland revealed, as the Asian Tribune’s earlier report noted, that assistant secretary Robert Blake “will be talking about all these issues on his visit” to Colombo end of this month.
Goyal referring to Sri Lanka ambassador to Washington statement that none of the atrocities were committed by his government, spokesperson Nuland responded by saying that, “We stand by the reporting that we (State Department) have done, and we call on Sri Lanka to have a transparent, open, and accountable process.”
In a letter to Goyal dated 19 August Ambassador Jaliya Wickremasuriya refuted the Indian journalist’s claims that Sri Lanka killed thousands of Tamils during its battle with the Tamil Tigers.
Wickremasuriya’s letter to Goyal said: “In another question at the State Department briefing, you have stated that atrocities were committed against “millions” of Tamil Sri Lankans by the government of President Rajapaksa. I assure you this is a horrendous falsehood.
“What President Rajapaksa and Sri Lankan government forces actually did was to rescue over 300,000 Tamil civilians who were being held hostage and as human shields by the LTTE. By ending the conflict against the LTTE, President Rajapaksa has actually restored human rights to more than 20 million Sri Lankans of all ethnicities, and brought lasting peace to the country.”
Not responding to Sri Lanka ambassador’s letter and failing to commence a dialogue with him to clarify issues facing Sri Lanka and her Tamil population the India Globe correspondent Raghubir Goyal once again raised at 25 August State Department media briefing “Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the U.S. has said, according to some press reports, that none of the atrocities were committed by his government in Sri Lanka. My question is: Do you agree with his remarks?
Because according to the film or the UN reports and human rights reports, Amnesty International, State Department reports all are wrong, then, what he’s saying. And what – finally, if they have requested in any way before Secretary’s visit to Sri Lanka for any assistance, also?”  In that open letter to Goyal, the Sri Lanka ambassador outlined the Sri Lanka’s operation to defeat the Tamil Tigers in this manner:
“Sri Lankan Government forces were fighting against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, and not the Tamil people. The LTTE, as you may know, was regarded by the FBI as one of the world’s most violent terrorist organisations and banned in the U.S. and many other nations. As you also know, the LTTE assassinated former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi, as well as a Sri Lankan president and a Sri Lankan foreign minister who was also Tamil, as well as thousands of civilians — Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and many others. “In fact, the premise of your question is inaccurate. The Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission, which was established by President Mahinda Rajapaksa following the conflict, has the full authority to investigate any wrong doing that may have occurred during that conflict. In fact, it is doing so right now. All of the testimony and statements taken by the LLRC are public, and can be found on the commission’s website (www.LLRC.lk). I encourage you to examine those statements; they are by no means pro-government. The commission is due to issue its report in November.”

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