Sri Lanka Army to set up directorate to counter war crime charges levied on it during final phase of conflict with LTTE

Colombo: The Sri Lankan Army has set up a special international directorate tasked with countering allegations of war crimes, Army Chief Mahesh Senanayake has said.

Sri Lankan Army

Representational image. Reuters

The directorate which was set up last month would collate relevant information to defend the army in its conduct during the final phase of the military conflict with the LTTE.

Sri Lanka Army and the LTTE were both accused of committing war crimes. Sri Lanka faced severe international condemnation with UN Human Rights Council passing resolutions to hold the country's government accountable for war crimes.

The UN rights body has prescribed an international investigation into the alleged war crimes.

"We (the army) have to have our own unit to counter these charges. We are keen to clear our name," Senanayake said.

"A few may have committed crimes but the whole army cannot be blamed," he said.

He dismissed the claim that 40,000 people had been killed in the final phase which ended nine years ago in 2009.

Senanayake said the new unit would also supervise the vetting of soldiers who serve as UN peacekeepers.

The soldiers serving as UN peacekeepers have faced sexual abuse charges in recent times.

The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission last month in a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena found fault with the army for non-cooperation with them for screening soldiers for human rights conduct before being sent as UN peacekeepers.

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Updated Date: May 11, 2018 17:32:01 IST

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