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UN seeks new Lankan probe

world Updated: Dec 04, 2010 00:43 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

A day after Wikileaks revealed what the US felt about President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former army chief Sarath Fonseka's culpability in alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, the United Nations has sought a new probe into war crime allegations over a video showing soldiers executing naked men and women.

The video was telecast by Channel 4 News and coincided with Rajapaksa’s UK visit. It purportedly shows Lankan government troops executing Tamil men and women during the end of civil war in 2009.

"It is shocking indeed, and clearly deserves more investigation," Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, was quoted as saying by Channel 4 News.

According to agency reports from London, the video appears to be a longer version of one which already sparked a UN investigation 16 months ago.

The Sri Lankan High Commission in London and government spokespersons in Colombo have vehemently denied the authenticity of the video. The video was a fake and was an attempt to tarnish Sri Lanka’s international image.

The US Embassy in Colombo on Friday, meanwhile, attempted to minimise the diplomatic damage caused by the leaked cable which revealed ambassador Patricia Butenis talking about Rajapaksa, his brothers’ and Fonseka’s culpability in alleged war crimes.

``We believe that in cases where allegations of possible violations of human rights have been made, the primary responsibility for investigating them lies with the sovereign national government,’’ the embassy said.

``We have consistently expressed to the Government of Sri Lanka the importance of implementing a credible and independent process through which individuals responsible for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law are held accountable for their actions,’’ it added.

The US welcomed Rajapaksa’s appointment of a Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and hoped that it would in consultation with ``Sri Lankan Tamils and other minority communities, address reconciliation and the needs of the citizens of Sri Lanka who were, after all, the primary victims of this long and terrible conflict.’’