Sri Lanka says war crimes allegations `propaganda`

Sri Lankan government forces are accused of committing atrocities against the Tamil Tigers during 2009.

Updated: Oct 27, 2011, 23:28 PM IST

Perth: Sri Lanka`s government on Thursday sought to
dismiss war crimes allegations as propaganda from its
defeated rivals, as it came under further pressure ahead of a
Commonwealth summit.

A spokesman for Sri Lankan President Mahendra Rajapakse
described the heavy focus on the issue in the lead-up to
tomorrow`s gathering of leaders from the 54-nation
Commonwealth bloc in the Australian city of Perth as "unfair".

"This is the well-oiled propaganda machinery of the LTTE
rump," spokesman Bandula Jayasekera told the ABC news network,
in reference to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and its
diaspora overseas.

Sri Lankan government forces are accused of committing
atrocities against the Tamil Tigers during a final push that
defeated the separatists in 2009, with accusations that the
military killed tens of thousands of civilians.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard raised the issue
with Rajapakse during talks in Perth yesterday, and it is
expected to be high on the agenda during the three-day
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

"This is hearsay. These are mere allegations... we have
ended 30 years of terror," Jayasekera said.

Rajapakse also repeated at a Commonwealth business forum
in Perth on Thursday his government`s insistence that it
crushed a "terrorist" organisation when defeating the Tamil

"An end to terrorist violence was absolutely essential to
move the country forward along the path of economic and social
development," Rajapakse said.

The next CHOGM summit is due to be held in Colombo in
2013, and Amnesty International chief Salil Shetty criticised
Commonwealth nations Thursday for allowing Sri Lanka to have
hosting rights with the war crimes issue unresolved.

"Commonwealth countries share a commitment to basic
values including democracy, freedom, peace and rule of law,"
Shetty wrote in an opinion piece for The West Australian

"Allowing Sri Lanka to head the Commonwealth runs
contrary to these values and threatens to derail the
organisation`s commitment to human rights."