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Australian law official rejects SL war charges

25 October 2011 09:18 am - 9     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Australian Attorney-General has refused to allow a war crimes case against the Sri Lankan president to proceed in Australia.

A Tamil man had filed charges in the magistrates court in the city of Melbourne against Mahinda Rajapakse, claiming civilian targets were bombed during the 2009 civil war.

The president has arrived in Perth, Western Australia, for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting

The consent of Attorney-General Robert McClelland is needed for such cases to proceed.

Breach
His office has issued a statement saying he would be in breach of international laws - which provide immunity to heads of diplomatic missions - if he allowed the case to go ahead.

Thousands of civilians were killed in the three-decades-long civil war which came to an end when Sri Lankan forces defeated Tamil rebels in 2009.

Two years ago, retired engineer Jegan Waran left Sri Lanka for Australia, but he is still haunted by what he saw in the hospitals and displaced persons camps at the end of that country's civil war.

"Everybody who's alive today, it's a miracle that they have escaped death or injury," Mr. Waran said.

Mr. Waran is an ethnic Tamil and sympathised with the Tamil Tigers, or LTTE, which fought for a Tamil nation for decades until their defeat in 2009 by Sri Lanka's military forces.

Hospitals
In 2007, the Australian citizen returned to Sri Lanka to offer what assistance he could, volunteering in Tamil hospitals, schools and displaced persons camps.

It was here he says he witnessed Sri Lankan military forces deliberately attacking clearly-marked civilian infrastructure such as hospitals.

"Patients were killed and patients who were in the hospital were killed, and there were other patients waiting for treatment, they were killed," Mr. Waran said.

"There was a medical store where they kept the medicines; those were destroyed, scattered all over the place, you can see.

"Ambulances were destroyed. So I have seen that personally."

Jegan Waran says that on Christmas Day 2008, drones circled another hospital before Sri Lankan Air Force planes attacked.

"The hospital, clearly a big Red Cross sign was marked on the roof, and drones usually take surveillance, so I'm very positive that they know where the hospital is and they know it will be damaged," he said.

This and other incidents have led him to issue summonses for three war crimes charges against Sri Lanka's president.

He says he wants to bring these charges against the president "because I feel that he's the commander-in-chief and nothing would have happened without his knowledge or his directions, and ultimately, he should be answerable to what was happening".

Sri Lanka's government has repeatedly denied allegations of war crimes.

Last week, Sri Lanka's high commissioner to Australia, Thisara Samarasinghe, who led the navy in the north of the country, was named in a brief by the International Commission of Jurists. It suggested he be investigated for war crimes.

The Australian Federal Police is examining the allegations.

"Such allegations are baseless and unsubstantiated. In the contrary, I have been commended for my role during the period of my career," Mr. Samarasinghe said. (Source: ABC Radio)
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  Comments - 9

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  • Thiru Tuesday, 25 October 2011 09:42 AM

    Mr. Waran, You may want to file another case against the LTTE who also targeted civilians by bombing buses, trains, market places etc. Then only your are a smart person.

    Chandra Tuesday, 25 October 2011 10:47 AM

    Jegan has not seen other side of the story. Before 2009 many innocentcivilians were killed due to bombiong in buses trains and public places.

    Chandra Tuesday, 25 October 2011 10:48 AM

    Jegan has not seen other side of the story. Before 2009 many innocentcivilians were killed due to bombiong in buses trains and public places.

    Namza s Tuesday, 25 October 2011 11:02 AM

    is this Jegan Waran as same as Jegatheeshwaran? If so its funny how he had abbreviated his name...

    buffaloa citizen Tuesday, 25 October 2011 11:13 AM

    That is why LTTE is proscribed in SL as well as the civilised world as a terrorist organisation. Humanitarian crimes committed by the LTTE does not give a valid licence to the GOSL to commit war crimes. At the same time, providing humanitarian support to 300,000 tamil refugees does not subract any crimes that may have been committed by the GOSL on another 40,000 tamils. Crime and criminals need to be accounted and punished, specially if it is State Terrorism.

    Dammika Tuesday, 25 October 2011 11:39 AM

    Attorney-General Robert McClelland you are most welcomed person in Sri Lanka. Keep your head straight MATE ....

    Dammika Tuesday, 25 October 2011 11:45 AM

    Attorney-General Robert McClelland please educate your Government not to accept people like Warren .... genuine people are still struggling to migrate to Australia to fulfill their dreams are still dreaming .... but people like Warren ?????? Please see the loop wholes

    arakshakaya Tuesday, 25 October 2011 11:56 AM

    Thanks aussies. We know you respect rule of law.

    citizen Tuesday, 25 October 2011 12:14 PM

    Even if so how could Australian attorney general take up a case just from one Tamil man against the President of country. What a joke !


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