‘No change in policy on war crimes in SL’

Last Updated: Saturday, June 4, 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 4, 2011 - 13:30

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