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Sri Lankan minister says security forces did not commit any war crimes

Sri Lanka's minister of housing and construction and UNP MP, Sajith Premadasa on Sunday rejected reports that the country's security forces committed war crimes or mass atrocities, and assured that the "government would not permit anyone to lay their hands on our war heroes".

"There are various versions of the Geneva Human Rights conference of this year. Some claim our war heroes committed war crimes. None of them committed any such crimes," Mr Premadasa was quoted by The Island as saying at an opening event for a new housing scheme in Polonnaruwa.   

"It was the LTTE that committed war crimes. The security forces ended a three-decade-long war and paved the way for the dawn of peace. It is the LTTE members who should be brought before international courts on war crimes and not the war heroes who fought for the liberation of motherland."

"Some sections of the opposition shout that war heroes were being hauled up before war crime tribunals and they would be sentenced to the electric chair. They are shedding crocodile tears and their objective is not to save the war heroes, but to win some votes to come back to power."

"If they have any love for the war heroes how can they explain why they didn’t confirm in service about 40,000 civil defence force members? Why didn’t they give those personnel pension benefits? It was President Maithripala Sirisena who took action to give the CDF members permanent appointments enabling them to obtain pensions."

"We are not cardboard patriots. We love our motherland and are ready to die for its preservation."

"The yahapalana government is dedicated to safeguarding the interests of war heroes."

His comments this weekend come as the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called for universal jurisdication to be applied in the absence of government action on accountability. 

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