Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda
Rajapaksa has rejected demands from the global community for
an independent probe into the alleged human rights violations
during the last phase of the civil war, saying a commission
appointed by the government will look into the issue.
Rajapaksa said if the commission appointed by him
points finger at anyone, even at his relatives, he will take
action against them.
"This is an internal matter. I don't want my internal
matters to be inquired by any other country or any other NGOs.
So we will look after that. That's why we appointed a
commission so if there is any violations, we will see," he
told Al-Jazeera television channel in an interview.
He was asked why the Sri Lankan government was not
allowing any independent body to investigate of it was so
confident that the army did not commit any crimes.
"If it is a crime, whether it is my relation, or my
army commander or anybody. It is immaterial. It's a crime,
crime is a crime, so we have to punish them," he said.
Sri Lanka is under pressure from the global community
to allow a UN agency to probe the human rights violations.
"You don't ask that from the Americans! You don't go
and ask that of the British about Iraq, or Afghanistan or what
is happening in Pakistan?
"Be fair with us...be fair with us... don't treat Sri
Lanka like this because we defeated terrorism. Unfortunately,
other countries couldn't defeat terrorism yet, although we
have done that," the President said.
Stressing that the security forces did not target
civilians during the last phase of the 30-year-old civil war
that saw the annihilation of LTTE, Rajapaksa said only LTTE
rebels were killed.
"I deny it ((security forces killed innocent Tamils),
because we never killed any civilians," Rajapaksa said.
"If Sri Lankan army acted in a different way, against
the civilians, they would never have trusted us," he said.
He said more than 3 lakh civilians crossed over to the
government controlled-safe zones from LTTE areas during the
last phase of the civil war.
On allegations that Tamils were being marginalised,
Rajapaksa said: "I don't agree with that, because some
politicians are making these issues. Or some NGO's."
On charges by sections of overseas Tamil diaspora that
his government was not doing anything for the Tamil community
in the Island nation, the President said the community had not
even visited the main areas of North.
"Unfortunately, this is the problem, because they
don't want to come back to Sri Lanka. They are enjoying
themselves," Rajapaksa said.
First Published: Friday, May 28, 2010, 16:07