European Lawmakers Press Sri Lanka to Probe War Crimes

European Lawmakers Press Sri Lanka to Probe War Crimes

European parliamentarians Friday asked Sri Lanka to deliver on promises to investigate allegations of war crimes and ensure ethnic reconciliation more than four years after crushing Tamil separatists.

A delegation of EU lawmakers requested Colombo ensure accountability in the face of what the UN calls “credible allegations” of up to 40,000 civilians killed in the final battles in 2009.

She said they wanted Sri Lanka to implement recommendations of its own domestic war probe which called for independent investigations into alleged rights abuses.

She added however that the six-member team noticed that Sri Lankan security forces had been deployed for road construction and other work that would normally be carried out by civilians.

Sri Lankan troops declared an end to 37 years of ethnic war after wiping out the leadership of separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009, but defence spending has been maintained with the same level of troops and funding.

Security forces have ventured into the lucrative tourism sector and also deployed in key construction projects of the government.

Lambert said they also raised concerns about “disappearances” and the fate of thousands of people missing following the end of the conflict.

Sri Lanka has resisted pressure for an international probe into war crimes and maintained its forces did not kill civilians while battling Tigers who were known for suicide bombings.