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Paranagama report argues potential case for war crimes amnesty

2nd Lead Updated 22.30 BST 22 Oct 2015

The government’s report on the Second Mandate of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry Into Complaints of Abductions and Disappearances, highlighting that “the duty to prosecute in all circumstances has not yet crystalised into an international norm,” said  “it would also be possible to provide for amnesties from prosecution under national law.”

Noting that the US Secretary of State Jon Kerry on his visit to Sri Lanka “made no reference to war crimes prosecutions, the report suggested that a Truth and Reconciliation with amnesties could also be a possibility. The commission added that if there had been a conclusion of genocide “a criminal investigation with a view to prosecution was unavoidable.”

The report on the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into complaints of Abductions and Disappearances, also known as the Paranagama report contains detailed rejection of the allegations against Sri Lanka's military that it deliberately shelled no fire zones and hospitals.

The report conceded that some of the allegations of war crimes committed are credible, as reported by Channel 4 yesterday, however rationalised the killing of civilians as necessary to end the war.

"The resolve of the Government to end the conflict, even when faced with the unpalatable choice of killing or injuring civilians in the vicinity of LTTE artillery batteries, and other legitimate targets is likely to have saved many more civilian lives and those of the armed forces by bringing the war to a close," the report says.

The commission, headed by Justice Maxwell Paranagama, blames the LTTE for the civilian deaths that occurred, including through targeted shelling, claiming that the movement aimed to put the blame for the deaths on the government.

See full report here and annexes here.

Crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed - OISL report (16 Sep 2015)