Sri Lanka president dismisses threat of war crimes charges

May 22, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse on Friday brushed off calls for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by government troops in their offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels. “There are some who tried to stop our military campaign by threatening to haul us before war crimes tribunals,” Rajapakse said in a speech to hundreds of thousands of supporters outside the national parliament.

“They are still trying to do that, but I am not afraid,” the president said.

“The strength I have is your support. I am even ready to go to the gallows on your behalf.”

Thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed during the offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Rajapakse, who is also the commander in chief of the armed forces, said the Tamil Tigers had been completely crushed with no possibility of them staging another uprising.

“We had to overcome many obstacles in our battle against the Tigers. The international community was against us, but today they have begun supporting us,” the president said in his address, also carried on national television.

His remarks came hours ahead of a visit to the island by UN Secretary

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