Lanka president vows new war crimes inquiry

Tuesday 30th December 2014 12:11 EST

Colombo: Under pressure from his main rival in the upcoming polls, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa promised a fresh “transparent” judicial probe into allegations that the army killed thousands of Tamil civilians towards the end of the nearly three decades-long civil war. “If any rights have been violated (during the war), justice will be ensured through a transparent domestic judicial mechanism,” Rajapaksa said in his election manifesto.

He, however, reiterated that he would not cooperate with a UN-mandated investigation into the government's 2009 defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebellion. The promise of a probe by 69-year-old Rajapaksa is being seen as a response to similar pledges made by his main challenger Maithripala Sirisena, 63.

He did not make it clear how such a probe before the snap election would be different from an inquiry he ordered in July amid intense international pressure to account for the 2009 killing of Tamil civilians.

President Rajapaksa has called a snap election on January 8, two years ahead of the schedule. The Tamil Tigers were defeated after their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed by the Sri Lankan forces in 2009.

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