Australian Tamils demand intl probe into Lanka `war crimes`

Tamils in Australia have asked Julia Gillard to support calls for an international probe into alleged war crimes.

Updated: Apr 26, 2011, 22:54 PM IST

Melbourne: Tamils in Australia have asked
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd
to support calls for an international probe into alleged war
crimes committed in the final stages of Sri Lanka`s civil war.

It is the time Australia "shows some leadership and
speaks out and calls on the Sri Lankan government to allow an
international independent investigation into war crimes", said
Sam Pari of Australian Tamil Congress.

"If Colombo fails to do so then Australia should take
a strong stand and impose trade sanctions or travel bans on
Sri Lankan government officials," she was quoted as saying by
Australia`s public broadcaster `ABC`.

Pari said the group had previously asked former Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd to take stronger diplomatic action against
Sri Lanka.

"Now Rudd is our foreign minister and it gives him an
opportunity to finally speak up and show some leadership when
it comes to human rights abuses in the Asia-Pacific region."

Pari said she hoped Gillard will raise the issue with
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the Commonwealth
Heads of Government Meeting scheduled to be held in Perth
later this year.

Earlier, a UN panel said killing of tens of thousands
of people in the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil strife
could amount to "war crimes".

However, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon an
international probe will only be launched if Sri Lanka agrees
or member states call for it.