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U.S. calls for release of army inquiry into alleged Lanka war crimes

Colombo, April 9 (Xinhua-ANI):The United States has called on the Sri Lankan government to make public a crucial inquiry made by the army into allegations of war crimes during the last phase of the country’s brutal three decade war, an official said here on Tuesday.

U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison, making a speech to the Foreign Correspondents Association of Sri Lanka, insisted that the report, which has not been made public, is crucial to reconciliation measures.

“Some form of credible investigation is in the interest of the government concerned. For when there are serious allegations of human rights violations whether a government likes it or not those allegations will persist until they are credibly addressed. We note reports that highlighted a Sri Lankan Army Commission of Inquiry report on actions undertaken in the final phase of the conflict. We respectfully suggest that this report should be made public,” she said.

The Sri Lanka Army Court of Inquiry was appointed shortly after British TV station Channel 4 released its first documentary that made serious allegations of war crimes before hostilities ended between the government and the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam ( LTTE) in May 2009.

On February 15, the report was handed over to Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya and reports indicated it blamed the LTTE for civilian deaths.

Sison insisted that engagement between the United States and Sri Lanka would continue despite the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adapting a second resolution on the island last month, which was sponsored by America.

The U.S. action, which was also supported by India, has strained relations between Washington and Colombo but Sison emphasized that relations would continue unabated.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report dated February 11, 2013 reaffirmed a long-standing recommendation for ” an independent and credible international investigation” into alleged violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka.

The latest resolution took note of this call, and asks the Office of the High Commissioner to update the Council on Sri Lanka ‘s progress at the September 2013 session and present a comprehensive report in March 2014.

The latest resolution also encourages Sri Lanka’s government to respond to the eight outstanding requests by UN special procedures mandate holders, she added.

However, the Sri Lankan government has made no indication that it would release the report on the army inquiry. (Xinhua-ANI)