UNP opposes UN War Crimes Panel on Sri Lanka


* Could have been avoided, if govt. respected democratic norms – Ravi K

* UNP refused to sign International War Crimes Treaty


by Zacki Jabbar


While opposing the appointment of a UN panel to probe war crimes against Sri Lanka, the UNP said yesterday that the situation could have been avoided if the government had permitted democratic institutions to function freely, including the implementation of the 17th Amendment.

Ravi Karunanayake MP, addressing a news conference in Colombo, questioned as to why the tough talking Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, had given in meekly to UN interference in the affairs of a sovereign State.

"What did the External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris go and discuss with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? The government is vocal internally and on their knees externally. They are trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hound."

He said that the Ranil Wickremesinghe government in 2003 refused to be a signatory to the International War Crimes Treaty. In comparison, the tough talking "patriots", who brand those who expose their faults as "traitors", have meekly accepted the appointment of a UN Panel on Sri Lanka.

The Rajapaksa government had claimed that Ban ki-Moon and Hillary Clinton were on their side and accused the UNP of trying to create problems. However, the very people who were praised, have now initiated a human rights inquiry, Karunanayake said.

He said that statements pertaining to human rights, made by Mahinda Rajapaksa when he was an opposition parliamentarian in 1990, have also been cited by the UN.

"The irony is that the appointment of a UN Panel was announced while its Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, Lyn Pascoe was in Colombo, meeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa and senior ministers," Karunanayake said. "Due to the government’s blatant disregard for democratic institutions and violation of the rule of law, including unprecedented attacks on the media, the UN has been able to creep in and dictate terms."


Karunanayake said that he did not think the security forces committed war crimes during the battle against the LTTE, which was defeated last May.

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