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GTF takes action against British Foreign Secretary over SL diplomat

An international Tamil diaspora organisation has launched legal action against the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, over the failure to declare a senior Sri Lankan diplomat accused of war crimes a ‘persona non grata’.

The Global Tamil Forum has instructed lawyers to launch a judicial review against Hague, citing the Foreign Office’s refusal to take action against Major General Prasanna Silva. The former senior Army commander is now Sri Lanka’s military attache to the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, and is accused of involvement on systematic attacks on Tamil civilians from January to May 2009.

The move follows European INGOs submitting a dossier of evidence of Silva's involvement in war crimes as a Sri Lankan Army commander, to both the British Foreign Office and the Metropolitan Police earlier this month.

The organisation has hired law firm Birnberg, Peirce and Partners to carry out the review, who noted that the Foreign Office has the power to waive diplomatic immunity in order to arrest and investigate an individual for alleged war crimes. They also noted that the Metropolitan Police Service arrest 20-30 diplomats a year.

Speaking to the Guardian, a spokesperson for the Global Tamil Forum said,

"Every alleged war criminal of Sri Lanka must know that the Tamils will not rest until justice is served for the terrible crimes they are alleged to have committed.”

"This along with other legal proceedings must send a message to the regime that they are not welcome on the international scene. There remain other alleged war criminals in Australia and in New York where we will start proceedings soon."

See the full report from the Guardian here.

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