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Sri Lanka to end accountability for war crimes and disappearances, keep military in North-East

Sri Lanka’s purported new government will end accountability for war crimes and enforced disappearances by the security forces, newly appointed Foreign Minister Sarath Amunugama said.

“Our idea would be to put this all behind us, now 10 years have gone [since the war’s end]. We can’t go on and on and on,” Amunugama said in a wide-ranging interview to The National newspaper, based in the UAE.

“In a war, there are war situations,” he said, regarding massacres of tens of thousands of Tamils by Sri Lanka’s security forces during their offensive against the LTTE.

Amunugama also said most of those believed ‘disappeared’ by the security forces were “LTTE cadres who were killed in battle”.

He blamed the Tamil diaspora for the international pressure on Sri Lanka on justice for wartime atrocities.

Amunugama also dismissed fears about the increasing militarisation of the Tamil-majority North and East.

The presence of the military gives the Tamils better security, he said- which, The National’s report noted, is in stark contrast to expressions of fear coming out of those areas.

“The local population wants peace and quiet,” Amunugama said, “like in the south [of the island].”

“Sri Lanka is one, indivisible. This is not a discriminatory military act,” he further said, referring to the deployment of the majority of the armed forces in the Tamil majority areas.