Sri Lanka confident of avoiding war crimes probe

May 27, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka said Wednesday it was confident of averting an international probe into alleged war crimes committed during its offensive against the Tamil Tigers.

At the council meeting, two draft resolutions have been put forward — each one at odds in their approach to the aftermath of the conflict.

The Asian-backed one, which is sponsored by Sri Lanka, commends the government for defeating the LTTE, while the mainly Western-backed one called on Colombo to investigate alleged abuses and allow free access to displaced people. Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the island had managed to lobby enough backing during a special United Nations Human Rights Council session to fend off what he dismissed as little more than empty rhetoric.

“There is no reason for a probe. These are political statements made by various people. I don’t think we should get excited about it,” Samarasinghe told AFP by telephone from Geneva.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay on Tuesday said there was credible evidence that both Sri Lankan government forces and the defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) grossly violated international humanitarian laws.
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