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Sri Lanka rejects US calls for war crimes investigation

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Saturday warned that US efforts to force an international investigation into alleged war crimes on the island could have an “adverse impact” on all developing nations.
The Colombo government told the ongoing UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva that a draft resolution against Sri Lanka could set a “bad precedent.”
“The obsession shown by some, in their call for action on Sri Lanka, simply brings out their own sinister motives in relentlessly targeting Sri Lanka, mainly to appease pro-LTTE Tamil constituencies, for collateral electoral political gain. It clearly hinders the reconciliation process currently underway,” Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said.
The US has given notice of a resolution backing UN rights chief Navi Pillay’s call for an external probe into charges that Sri Lankan troops killed up to 40,000 civilians while crushing Tamil rebels in 2009.
Dozens of pro-government women staged a demonstration outside the US Embassy in Colombo, denouncing the US-led censure move at the UNHRC.
The US-led resolution asks Pillay to give an oral report on progress to the council at its 27th session in September, and provide a written report by March 2015.
The draft also called on Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of military excesses and expressed “serious concern” over continuing reports of human rights violations five years after the end of the decades-long separatist war.
The council is expected to vote on March 28 on the resolution, the third in as many years against Colombo.
Sri Lanka has already rejected Pillay’s call for an international probe as an “unwarranted interference,” and President Mahinda Rajapakse has accused Washington of treating Colombo like Muhammad Ali’s “punching bag.”
At least 100,000 people were killed in the 37-year battle for a separate homeland for ethnic minority Tamils before Rajapakse’s troops crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels.