UK MP seeks debate on De Silva

A British Parliamentarian has called for a debate in the British parliament on the diplomatic immunity of the defence attaché at Sri Lanka’s high commission in London, Major General Prasanna De Silva.

British MP Siobhain McDonagh told the House of Commons on Thursday that if the attaché is allowed to leave without being questioned, that will undermine Britain’s proud reputation for not tolerating war criminals.

A case has been filed against the British Foreign Office over the diplomatic immunity provided to De Silva despite allegations being raised against the Sri Lankan military of committing war crimes during the final stages of the war against the LTTE during which period De Silva was also in the army.

“Three months ago a dossier about war crimes committed by the defence attaché at Sri Lanka’s high commission in London, Major General Prasanna De Silva, was sent to the Foreign Office. However, the Foreign Secretary has reportedly refused to strip him of diplomatic immunity so that he can be questioned about these terrible accusations. I hope we can have a debate about the case and about the abuse of diplomatic immunity, because if the attaché is allowed to leave without being questioned, that will undermine Britain’s proud reputation for not tolerating war criminals. If we are soft on Sri Lanka, other shady regimes will surely also begin to regard us as a refuge for people who commit atrocities,” Siobhain McDonagh told the House of Commons.

Leader of the House of Commons Sir George Young, in response to the concerns raised by the MP, said that he will ask the British Foreign Secretary to explain to her what action his office is taking with regards to De Silva

“I understand the hon. Lady’s concern. It is important that diplomatic immunity is not abused. There was an opportunity on Tuesday to raise this with the Foreign Secretary. I am not sure that it will be possible to raise it again before Prorogation, but I will ask the Foreign Secretary to drop her a line explaining what action he is taking in response to her concern about the continuing diplomatic immunity of the individual to whom she referred,” Sir George Young said. (Colombo Gazette)

 

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