Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka are responsible for alleged war crimes and killing Tamil civilians during the last phase of the 30-year civil war, claims a secret U.S. cable made public by WikiLeaks.

Seven months after the LTTE rebels were decimated, U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia A. Butenis, in a secret communication to the U.S. government, said the responsibility for the killing of innocent civilians rested with Mr. Rajapaksa, his brothers and Mr. Fonseka.

The secret cable, written by Ms. Butenis on January 15, 2010, was released on Wednesday by WikiLeaks.

“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.

“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,” the cable says. The cable says Mr. Rajapaksa named a committee to make recommendations on the ‘US incidents report' by April 2010 and Mr. Fonseka had discussed privately formation of some form of “truth and reconciliation” commission. “Otherwise, accountability has not been a high-profile issue — including for Tamils in Sri Lanka,” it said.

While Tamils have told the U.S. they would like to see some form of accountability, they have been pragmatic in what they can expect and have focused instead on securing greater rights and freedoms, resolving the IDP question, and improving economic prospects in the war-ravaged areas, the cable said.

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