Colombo, March 6: The Sri Lankan government has rejected a fresh appeal from the UN to allow international judges to investigate alleged war crimes committed during the conflict with the LTTE. From 1983 to 2009, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fought a fierce conflict with the Sri Lankan military, in a bid to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of the country.
The UN Human Rights Council on Friday had criticised Sri Lanka's slow progress in addressing its wartime past and reiterated its earlier call for hybrid court of international and local judges to investigate allegations of rights violations.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe rejected the demand, saying it was impractical. He said the conduct of the judiciary has improved under the current unity government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and there was no need now for a hybrid court.
Sri Lanka agreed to a UN Human Rights Council resolution in October 2015 which called for special tribunals and reparations for victims and gave the Colombo government 18 months to establish credible investigations. But the deadline lapsed without those commitments being met.
The Tamil minority insists on a probe with foreign judges, saying that the Sri Lankan judicial system could not be relied upon to deliver justice to Tamil victims of the conflict.
According to the U.N. figures, up to 40,000 civilians were killed by the security forces during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime that brought the civil war to an end by defeating the LTTE.