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Lanka rejects Dublin war crimes probe, calls for an end to witch hunt

Sri Lanka yesterday urged the international community to end its campaign against the country for eradicating the LTTE. Government sources said that a section of the international community was relentlessly hounding the government.

An elite panel of 11 judges will decide if Sri Lanka had violated human rights and involved in war crimes against civilians during the last phase of the Vanni battle last May.

Government sources said that Milan based Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) was scheduled to investigate allegations on January 15 and 16 at the Trinity College, Dublin, with provisional findings to be announced at a public meeting on Saturday (Jan 16). Sources said that it was unfortunate the international community was harassing Sri Lanka for meeting a terrorist threat with legitimate military means.

The following is the full text of a statement issued by the Presidential Secretariat yesterday:

The judgements of the so-called ‘Permanent People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka’ will do nothing to further efforts to cement a permanent peace in Sri Lanka.

The body is ad-hoc, has dubious terms of reference and has no status in international law.

Furthermore the timing is clearly designed to influence the forthcoming Sri Lanka election on Jan 26, and suggests a degree of political motivation or manipulation.

There is nothing to suggest that this ‘tribunal’ will be conducted in a fair or representative fashion and its agenda is highly suspicious.

We strongly condemn any unaccountable organisation, whether it purports to be a quasi-legal entity or not, irresponsibly distorting events and seeking to selectively pass judgement from afar. 

This ‘tribunal’ continues to sow the seeds of division that has gone on for 25 years, is backward looking and it will not help the important recovery and unification process.

In fact the ‘tribunal’ is itself a serious threat to stability of the country. The members of the ‘tribunal’ should be helping Sri Lanka unite, and move on at the end of a terrible conflict, not continue to stoke it.

What many activists criticising the Government of Sri Lanka serve to conveniently ignore is that Sri Lanka was terrorised for over a quarter of a century. 

Indeed, it is strange that organisations that appear to stand for peace can find themselves in a situation where they are overlooking the activities of terrorists while seeking to undermine and question the actions of a Government and an entire nation to bring lasting peace to its country.

All Sri Lankans; Tamil and Sinhalese, Muslim and Buddhist, Hindu and Christian, suffered at the hands of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) a ruthless organisation that was banned by the United States and the European Union and was described by the FBI as "one of the most dangerous and deadly extremist outfits in the world.

The military action taken by the Government of Sri Lanka was not taken lightly, but having exhausted all other options it was felt that decisive military action was required to defeat terrorism so that all Sri Lankans could live in peace and enjoy the manifold benefits that peace brings. 

For the first time in almost three decades, Sri Lanka can now look to a future of peace and prosperity, one in which all Sri Lankans will benefit.

It is time for Sri Lanka to unite, build its economy, create prosperity, and look to the future. It is time that the international community supports Sri Lanka as its people start this new chapter, not continue to stoke division and conflict.

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