Sri Lanka PM rejects UN call for international war crimes investigation
Sri Lanka PM rejects UN call for international war crimes investigation

[JURIST] Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe [official website] on Tuesday rejected a UN recommendation for international involvement in its domestic investigation into alleged war crimes. The UN released a report [JURIST report] earlier this month finding that war crimes may have been committed during the Sri Lankan civil war, encouraging the creation of a hybrid special court [statement] to handle the matter. Wickremesinghe stated [Channel News Asia report] that there was nothing to be gained by international involvement, rejecting the idea that the inquiry would be hybrid. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has vowed to bring war criminals to justice, with his government announcing that it plans to set up a truth commission, war reparations office and commission on missing people. Despite this, members of the Tamil minority have expressed distrust in a purely local inquiry.

The UN report came amid mounting pressure [NYT report] on the Sri Lankan government from human rights groups and the international community to investigate and prosecute abuses during the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [CFR backgrounder]. Last year former US ambassador Stephen Rapp called on Sri Lanka to investigate rights abuses by security forces during the civil war. In 2013 UK Prime Minister David Cameron demanded [JURIST report] that the Sri Lankan government conduct its own investigation into war crime allegations. Earlier that year former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called on [JURIST report] Sri Lanka to improve its human rights record.