Sri Lanka on Saturday took serious exception to remarks made by the Norwegian Minister of Environment and International Development Erik Solheim seeking investigation on alleged excesses by the Sri Lanka military in the run up to Eelam war IV, after Channel 4 telecast an unauthenticated video on August 25.
The unverified video footage aired by the U.K.-based channel showed alleged summary killing by Sri Lankan troops of Tamil civilians in January this year.
“The Sri Lanka government deeply regrets the baseless comments contained therein and is perturbed by such statements being made by the Norwegian Minister against a friendly government,” said the Foreign Ministry in a press release here.
“It is unbecoming of Minister Solheim to attribute blame on alleged atrocities, contained in an unsubstantiated video footage, without any recourse to an exchange of views and total disregard to the position of the Government of Sri Lanka on the issues in question.”
It said the criticism of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapksa, a democratically elected head of state who is carrying out a vibrant agenda to safeguard the rights of the people, was unacceptable.
In an interview to Aftenposten, Mr. Solheim said the U.N. should investigate charges of war crimes in Sri Lanka. “This is something I will discuss with [U.N. Secretary-General] Ban Ki-moon when he comes,” he told the paper.
In the interview, Mr. Solheim said he would not be surprised if the Channel 4 footage was genuine. “Dozens of people have been killed or have disappeared in Sri Lanka in recent years?U.N. must investigate possible war crimes in Sri Lanka,” he told the paper.
Separately, a U.N. human rights expert called for the immediate establishment of an independent inquiry into the authenticity of the video telecast by Channel 4.
Philip Alston, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that he was aware that Colombo had categorically denied the allegations raised by the video.
“These images are horrendous and, if authentic, would indicate a serious violation of international law,” said Professor Alston in a statement.