Sri Lanka defends itself against warcrimes allegations

Sri Dharanee Performance Arts Theatre

COLOMBO, April 3, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s government on Thursday defended itself against fresh allegations it was involved in a cover-up over the massacre of ethnic-Tamil employees of a French charity. The government pulled out of a ceasefire with the rebels in January.

The island’s human rights minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe, said Colombo was determined to “show results” from its probe into the murders and a string of other cases, rejecting allegations the government wanted to bury the crimes.

“I am as desperate as anyone else to show results,” he told reporters, adding that each case was “complex” but that the government still wanted to see that “the perpetrators of these crimes are identified and dealt with.”
He did not say when he expected the cases to be concluded.

The comments came two days after a local rights group accused Colombo of a major cover-up of the August 2006 killing of Action Against Hunger (ACF) workers and for the first time named a list of suspects.

The victims were shot in the coastal town of Muttur at their office during a period of intense fighting between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The UTHR said they were murdered by two police constables a