|Common opposition Presidential candidate, Sirisena, at rally today. Photograph BBC Sinhala|
A former cabinet minister, Rajitha Senaratne, who crossed over to join the common opposition platform led by Maithiripala Sirisena, reiterated their rejection of an international inquiry into mass atrocities against the Tamil people, in an interview with The Hindu on Thursday.
Stating that the opposition would strengthen domestic mechanisms, Senaratne stressed that they would "settle our matters in our country".
Last month, Sirisena said that if he came to power he would protect Mahinda Rajapaksa from any war crimes charges.
“I will not allow President Rajapaksa, his family or any member of our armed forces to be taken before any international war crimes tribunal,” Sirisena said to reporters.
His comments were reiterated earlier this month, in a joint declaration by Sirisena and the General Secretary of the JHU, Patali Champika Ranawaka, who said that the opposition coalition had "agreed to oppose efforts to prosecute our military authorities, including the President as Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Defence Secretary, Service Commander and other senior military officials in international war crime tribunals.”
“We will not give room for that. Whether it is the President, the Defence Secretary (Gotabaya Rajapaksa), the then Service Commanders – Sarath Fonseka and Karannagoda or the likes of Shavindra Silva and Presanna Silva, we will not allow any of these people to be tried before the International Criminal Court (ICC),” Ranawaka said.
“There can be allegations but if the country concern refuses to allow such international probes, they cannot do anything about it,” he added.