Sivajilingam asks UNHCR for International Probe Into Lanka Warcrimes

sivajilingamA Tamil politician contesting against ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa in the upcoming parliamentary polls has asked the UNHCR for an international probe into the alleged warcrimes during the conflict with the LTTE.

In a letter to UNHCR chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, slain LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran’s relative M K Shivajilingam said UN’s failure to protect Tamils in 2009 was dubbed a “systematic failure” in its own report in November 2012.

Hussein is scheduled to release a report investigating the warcrimes, at the UNHRC in Geneva next month.

“As you prepare the report on Sri Lanka, I would like to request you to consider the pattern of historic failures of Sri Lanka against Tamil people,” Shivajilingam wrote.

Shivajilingam, who was a parliamentarian between 2001 and 2004 from the north, last month entered the fray to contest against Rajapaksa in the August 17 parliamentary election. He is running a team of independents from the north western district of Kurunegala. Rajapaksa, too, has move to Kurunegala from his native south to cash in on the Sinhala- Buddhist votes in the district.

Shivajilingam said the Tamil people do not believe that anything short of an international judicial process will be seen as justice.

The UNHRC adopted a resolution in 2014 advocating an international investigation into the possible warcrimes by Sri Lankan forces and the Tamil Tiger rebels in the final stages of the 26-year civil war that ended in 2009.

However, with Rajapaksa’s defeat in January, the new government of Maithripala Sirisena opted for a local mechanism meeting international standards. Tamils remain sceptical about the domestic investigation. The UN has delayed its report until September from March, which, it said, was to allow more time to Sirisena government.

According to a 2011 report by the UN, about 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final weeks of the civil war. The previous Rajapaksa government did not collaborate with the international investigation, calling it an attack on Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.(Outlook)

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