Australian Federal Attorney-general, Robert Mc Clelland, has halted the criminal proceedings against Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, citing diplomatic immmunity.
Mc Clelland's spokesperson explained that Commonwealth laws extended immunities to heads of state and heads of diplomatic missions.
"The attorney-general has refused to grant this consent as continuation of the proceedings would be in breach of domestic law and Australia's obligations under international law,"
"Those immunities include personal inviolability, including from any form of arrest or detention and immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving state."
An indictment was filed against Rajapaksa for war crimes, by 63-year-old Australian Tamil, Jegatheeswaran, in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.
Rajapaksa is due to arrive imminently for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth this week.
Speaking to Australian news channel, ABC, the prime minister, Julia Gillard, confirmed Rajapaksa's diplomatic immunity, however, reiterated the need for an investigation into the allegations of war crimes.
"On the direct question you raise, no such legal action can be taken on an issue like this without the consent of the Attorney-General, and the Attorney-General hasn’t received any request in relation to this matter, so that’s on the direct question you raise."
"On the broader issue about human rights, Australia and like-minded countries have been urging and will continue to urge Sri Lanka to address the serious allegations that have been made of human rights violations during the end stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka, and we will continue to do that."
Responding to the Attorney-General's move, Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia, Thisara Samarasinghe, who has also been accused of war crimes, said,
"We are very thankful. We continue to reject any allegations whatsoever by any individual or any organisation."
A spokesperson for the Rajapaksa's office added,
"It's hilarious to file charges against a head of state who has defeated terrorism in Sri Lanka."