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MR & SF responsible - Butenis

2 December 2010 01:45 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The US ambassador in Colombo, Patricia Butenis had said that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka bore responsibility for alleged war crime last year, according to a leaked US cable.

In a cable sent on 15 January this year ambassador Butenis, said that one of the reasons that there was so little progress towards a genuine Sri Lankan enquiry into how so many people were killed was that the president and the former army commander, Sarath Fonseka, were largely responsible.

The cable, released yesterday by whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks.(http://cablegate.wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10COLOMBO32.html)

"There are no examples we know of a regime undertaking wholesale investigations of its own troops or senior officials for war crimes while that regime or government remained in power," Butenis noted.

"In Sri Lanka this is further complicated by the fact that responsibility for many of the alleged crimes rests with the country's senior civilian and military leadership, including President Rajapaksa and his brothers and opposition candidate General Fonseka."

In her cable to Washington, Butenis seeks to explain where there is so little momentum towards the formation of a "truth and reconciliation" commission, or any other form of accountability.

Butenis wrote: "While they wanted to keep the issue alive for possible future action, Tamil leaders with whom we spoke in Colombo, Jaffna and elsewhere said now was not time and that pushing hard on the issue would make them 'vulnerable'.

"Accountability is clearly an issue of importance for the ultimate political and moral health of Sri Lankan society," the ambassador said.

"Such an approach, however, would seem to play into the super-heated campaign rhetoric of Rajapaksa and his allies that there is an international conspiracy against Sri Lanka and its "war heroes," Butenis argued.

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