European lawmakers press Sri Lanka to probe war crimes

COLOMBO, July 19, 2013 (AFP) – European parliamentarians Friday asked Sri Lanka to deliver on promises to investigate allegations of war crimes and ensure ethnic reconciliation more than four years after crushing Tamil separatists. A delegation of EU lawmakers requested Colombo ensure accountability in the face of what the UN calls “credible allegations” of up to 40,000 civilians killed in the final battles in 2009.

“On issues around accountability, we need to see more progress,” the delegation head, Britain’s Jean Lambert, told reporters in Colombo.

She said they wanted Sri Lanka to implement recommendations of its own domestic war probe which called for independent investigations into alleged rights abuses.

“On the physical side in terms of roads and reconstruction, the progress is very, very visible, but a lot more needs to be done on political issues,” she said.

She added however that the six-member team noticed that Sri Lankan security forces had been deployed for road construction and other work that would normally be carried out by civilians.

“We have raised concerns that the military is becoming a part of everyday life of society,” Lambert said, adding that they believed troops were having an unfair