No foreigner in war crimes probe: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Friday said it won`t invite foreign experts in its probe into allegations of war crimes and maintained that the inquiry will take place within the country`s legal system.

IANS| Last Updated: Feb 27, 2015, 19:27 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lanka Friday said it won`t invite foreign experts in its probe into allegations of war crimes and maintained that the inquiry will take place within the country`s legal system.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith Perera told Xinhua that preliminary discussions into the conduct of the domestic inquiry had already begun and the government would finalize a structure soon.

"The domestic inquiry will be 100 percent local. We will only use the assistance of local judges, local laws and the local court system. However, we will ensure that the domestic inquiry will meet international standards," Perera said.

He, however, added that technical assistance from the UN would be sought while conducting the investigation.

Perera said the government hopes to introduce new laws before conducting the domestic inquiry in order to ensure that the probe will meet international standards and ensure the safety of those who testify.

Soon after winning the presidential election last month, Maithripala Sirisena`s government assured the international community that it would conduct a probe into allegations of war crimes committed during the final months of the civil war that ended in May 2009.

Sri Lanka, earlier this week, won a six-month extension on the submission of a report on war crimes investigated by the UN to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) after its chief praised the government`s willingness to open up the country to scrutiny.

While appreciating the UNHRC`s extension, Perera said the government hoped to finalize the legal framework and logistical issues of its domestic probe before the UN report was submitted to the council in September.

Rights groups say that thousands of innocents, mostly Tamils, died in the final stages of the military blitzkrieg that decimated the Tamil Tigers in 2009. Colombo has routinely denied the charge.