Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday called upon the Sri Lankan government to reject the U.N. report on war crimes in Sri Lanka which concluded that “horrific” rights abuses were committed in the country in the closing phase of the civil war.
In his six-page-long response, Mr. Rajapaksa dismissed the government position that the report had been watered down because of a change in government in January.
“The most that can be done with a report of this nature is to recommend the setting up of a war crimes tribunal and that has been done,” he said.
As for the report not mentioning any names in relation to alleged incidents, the former president said: “That is obviously due to the fact that the OHCHR (Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) has no way of justifying such a linkage.”
Referring to another criticism that the report may have recommended imposing economic sanctions on Sri Lanka if his government was still in power, Mr. Rajapaksa said neither the UN Human Rights Council nor the OHCHR could impose sanctions on a country. “Only the UN Security Council has that authority and they will not impose economic sanctions except in the most serious situations related to a threat to global security.”
He added: “Unilateral sanctions against Sri Lanka were never on the cards during my tenure.”