Opposition leader and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa claims war crimes allegations being made against the Sri Lankan armed forces are politically orchestrated.
On the tenth anniversary of the defeat of the LTTE, Rajapaksa said that war crimes were not committed during the last phase of the war in Sri Lanka.
He says the law of armed conflict had been formulated in such a way, as to enable a war to be fought.
“It must also be said that it is the Western powers led by America which has been instrumental in keeping the law of armed conflict within those bounds. I state most emphatically that according to the law of armed conflict accepted and upheld by the Western powers, no war crimes were committed in Sri Lanka,” he said.
Rajapaksa said that some of the world’s foremost experts in the law of armed conflict and the practice of war including Professor Michael Newton, Professor David Crane, Sir Desmond de Silva, Sir Geoffery Nice, Rodney Dixon QC, and Major General John Holmes had provided written statements to the Government of Sri Lanka confirming this.
“The war crimes allegations being made against the Sri Lankan armed forces are politically orchestrated. We will have to respond politically to such allegations,” he said.
Rajapaksa also said that while the Sri Lankan Government bought weapons to combat the LTTE on credit, the LTTE paid cash on the international market to buy the weapons they used against the Sri Lankan army as well as the Indian army.
He said that the Republican administration in the USA had helped Sri Lanka during the war and it was with American help that Sri Lanka managed to pursuade the EU to name the LTTE as a terrorist organisation in 2006.
He said that in 2007, Sri Lanka was able to destroy the LTTE’s arms smuggling ships in international waters off Australia and Indonesia due to specific information provided to Sri Lanka by the USA.
However, he noted that in February 2009, a new Administration took over in the USA and attitudes changed after that.
“Nevertheless we managed to resist international pressure to halt operations and we won the war,” he said.
Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka is the only country in the recent history of the world to have completely defeated terrorism and after having emerged from a situation of intense conflict, a nation should be able to put all that behind and go forward. (Colombo Gazette)