Lanka asks for immunity of war gen turned diplomat

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 18:17

Colombo: Sri Lanka on Tuesday lodged a strong
protest at the United Nations over the issuance of summons by
a US court to its deputy ambassador Shavendra Silva, a fromer
war general, in violation of diplomatic norms.

Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said that Silva
enjoyed diplomatic immunities and privileges accorded under
the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the UN as well
as the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

"Therefore, Ambassador Shavendra Silva is protected by
the relevant international treaties on diplomatic relations,
immunities and privileges and accepted diplomatic practices,"
a statement from the Ministry said.

The widow of the LTTE`s self styled Colonel Ramesh,
Vathsala Devi and another Tamil had filed action in the
district court of New York against Silva accusing him of war
crimes when he headed the Army`s 58 division in the final
battle against the LTTE.
Silva later told a local newspaper that he was willing to
face the court case and defend him and all his soldiers any
court anywhere in the world.

The external affairs ministry said that president Mahinda
Rajapaksa who had met the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on
the sidelines of the 66 th sessions of the UN general assembly
held last week, requested that Silva be extended "all possible
facilities and protection under the UN mandate to enable him
to discharge his diplomatic duties efficiently and effectively
during his tenure of office in New York."

The war crimes accusations against Sri Lankan political
and military leaders who led the decisive battle against the
LTTE surfaced after the report released by Moon`s special
advisory panel which looked back at the final phase of the
Sri Lanka dismissed charges as unsubstantiated and
influenced by the pro-LTTE diaspora and governments in the
Western world.


First Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 18:17

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