‘No change in policy on war crimes in SL’
Last Updated: Saturday, June 04, 2011, 13:30
  
Washington: Noting that there is no change in its policy with regard to war crime allegations in Sri Lanka, US has asked the Rajapaksa government to act quickly and credibly to address the rights violations alleged in a recent UN report.

"There's no change in the policy of the United States," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters during an off-camera briefing when asked about comments made by Defence Attache of the US Embassy in Sri Lanka on the issue.

The Defence Attache had publicly expressed doubt as to the credibility of surrender offers made by senior LTTE leadership at the end of the Sri Lankan conflict.

"Remarks earlier this week by the US Embassy's Defence Attache at a conference in Colombo reflected his personal opinions. They do not reflect the policy of the United States Government," Toner said.

"The US declined invitations to participate in this conference, and our Defence Attache attended to observe the proceedings as part of his normal duties," he said.

Toner said the US remains deeply concerned by the findings of the UN Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka.

"We are committed to ensuring that there is a credible accounting of, and accountability for, violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka," he said.

"We believe that the Sri Lankan Government must act quickly and credibly to address the violations alleged in the report and to adopt the measures necessary to achieve national reconciliation and build a united, democratic, and peaceful Sri Lanka," Toner said.

Participating in the conference in Colombo early this week, in his personal capacity, said that the surrender offer by senior LTTE leaders were a bit suspect.

"I've been the defence attache here at the US Embassy since June of 2008. Regarding the various versions of events that came out in the final hours and days of the conflict from what I was privileged to hear and to see, the offers to surrender that I am aware of seemed to come from the mouthpieces of the LTTE Nadesan, KP people who weren't and never had really demonstrated any control over the leadership or the combat power of the LTTE," he said.

"So their offers were a bit suspect anyway, and they tended to vary in content hour by hour, day by day. I think we need to examine the credibility of those offers before we leap to conclusions that such offers were in fact real. I think the same is true for the version of events," he said.

"It's not so uncommon in combat operations, in the fog of war, as we all get our reports second, third and fourth hand from various Commanders at various levels that the stories don't seem to all quite match up.

But I can say that the version presented here so far in this is what I heard as I was here during that time. I think I better leave it at that before I get into trouble," the Defence Attache is reported to have said.

PTI


First Published: Saturday, June 04, 2011, 13:30


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