Global statesmen decry Sri Lanka’s peace without justice

August 3, 2010 (AFP) – A group of global statesmen, founded by Nelson Mandela, Tuesday criticised the Sri Lankan government for failing to build on peace brought to the island by the end of the civil war last year. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has dismissed calls for an international probe into alleged war crimes committed against the Tamil Tigers, and said he seeks ethnic reconciliation in the country. Sri Lankan troops defeated the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas in a massive military offensive that ended decades of bloody ethnic conflict.

But the “Elders” — who include former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, ex US president Jimmy Carter and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu — said the government’s post-war conduct warranted international concern.

“The ongoing persecution and disappearances of human rights activists, journalists and government opponents is truly terrifying,” said Tutu, calling for a “much greater commitment to achieving meaningful reconciliation.”

The Elders said 8,000 suspected ex-combatants were still detained without charge, and that the government was still using wartime emergency laws to control public debate.

They also said the marginal