Sri Lanka refutes Nordic monitors over massacre charge

Chandi Dharmaratne

Sept 3, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka on Sunday stepped up its campaign against Nordic truce monitors who accused government forces of involvement in the killing of 17 employees of a French aid charity last month. After accusing the Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) of being “biased” and “unprofessional,” the office coordinating the peace process in Sri Lanka said Sunday the allegation had undermined an ongoing inquiry.

“It is extremely irresponsible that a pre-emptive ruling of this nature was issued while a judicial inquiry with international assistance was in progress,” the government’s Peace Secretariat said in a statement posted Sunday.

“This action has significantly undermined the proper judicial process.”

Last week, then SLMM chief Ulf Henricsson said he had concluded that the military was involved in the August 4 killing of 17 local employees of the French charity Action Against Hunger in the northern town of Muttur during fighting between troops and Tamil rebels.

Henricsson, who quit Thursday in line with a Tiger demand for nationals from European Union member states to leave the SLMM, ruled that the massacre of the aid workers was a “gross violation” of the truce by governm