The military today said that the government remains committed to conduct impartial and comprehensive criminal investigations and domestic inquiries into any complaints and information received, relating to alleged perpetration of crimes by members of the armed forces and the police.
In response to a statement issued by the ACF containing allegations implicating the security forces Military Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said, “If the ACF (or any other organization for that matter) had in its possession evidence which could bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice, the first thing they should have done was to produce that evidence and support and strengthen the local investigations and not withhold such evidence for almost 7 years.”
The statement issued by the Military Spokesman:
The content of the Press Release reportedly issued by ACF on 3 December 2013 contains allegations of a very serious nature implicating the security forces of the country. Whilst it claims that it is not seeking to be or replacing a judge it continues nonetheless to deliver a judgement based on evidence which it claims is in its possession.
If the ACF (or any other organization for that matter) had in its possession evidence which could bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice, the first thing they should have done was to produce that evidence and support and strengthen the local investigations and not withhold such evidence for almost 7 years.
The fact that they did not come up with so called evidence and chose instead to release a public report on the matter, calls to question the motives of the organization in withholding such evidence in the first instance.
This is another instance of a pattern which has emerged since the end of the conflict where certain organizations level allegations against the GoSL without providing sufficient details to enable an investigation. These accusations are then repeated in several other documents, by different agencies, thereby contributing to forming an opinion which is then propagated, without substantiation. The GoSL has also not been provided the evidence which is claimed to be in the possession of the authors of these reports in order to investigate and respond. They conclude these allegations with a call for an independent international investigation,
The claims made by ACF in its media report are no different.
The GoSL remains committed to conduct impartial and comprehensive criminal investigations and domestic inquiries into any complaints and information received, relating to alleged perpetration of crimes by members of the armed forces and the police.
Meanwhile, France's Action Against Hunger (ACF) on Tuesday accused Sri Lankan security forces of killing 17 aid workers in cold blood and then organising a cover-up of what it termed a "heinous" war crime.
In a report the charity said it has proof that Sri Lankan army, navy and police personnel were implicated in the August 4, 2006 massacre in the city of Muttur, in the mainly Tamil north of the island, the AFP reported
"In one of the most heinous crimes ever committed against humanitarian workers, the 17 aid workers were lined up, forced to their knees and each shot in the head," ACF said in a statement.
The aid workers, 16 ethnic Tamils and one Muslim, were killed as Sri Lankan government forces, then engaged in a civil war against Tamil Tiger separatists, took over Muttur.
ACF's report into what happened is entitled "The Truth Revealed about the Assassination of 17 Humanitarian Aid Workers in Sri Lanka."
It alleges that the killers were protected by the Sri Lankan authorities at the highest levels and describes an official investigation into the killing as a "farce" characterised by the systematic destruction of evidence and multiple irregularities.
"Every day we and other humanitarian organisations work in war zones," said Mike Penrose, Executive Director of ACF-France. "It is paramount that those who do not respect humanitarian aid workers are brought to justice and that these crimes do not go unpunished."
ACF said it had been prepared to wait for the outcome of the official investigation but had finally lost hope of Sri Lanka acting to bring those responsible to justice.
"Now that relevant domestic mechanisms have been exhausted, witnesses have been silenced and the internal Sri Lankan investigation has become a farce, ACF considers it to be its moral duty to publicly denounce the perpetrators of this crime."
The organisation said only an independent international investigation could now lead to prosecution of the killers.