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 conflict.

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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