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Sri Lanka’s Northern Council seeks international war crimes probe

Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passed a resolution on Monday calling for an international probe into the war crimes allegedly committed during the country’s ethnic conflict.

The resolution was proposed by NPC member M.K. Shivajilingam of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which formed the NPC administration after winning the 2013 provincial elections.

The resolution comes less than two months before the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay is due to submit a written report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, on the progress made by Sri Lanka in fixing accountability for alleged war crimes.

The Northern Council has sought an international inquiry into the Sri Lankan government’s acts of “ethnic cleansing”, Mr. Shivajilingam told The Hindu . He proposed a second resolution calling for rejecting Sri Lanka’s own inquiry mechanisms set up to probe the allegations.

The 38-member Council, of which 30 belong to the TNA, passed all three resolutions but not before several rounds of debate on whether the term “genocide” should be used.

Sources said Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, widely regarded as a moderate voice within the TNA, insisted that the term “genocide” be avoided.

Another resolution passed at Monday’s Council called for building a monument at Mullivaikkal, in Mullaitivu, in memory of civilians killed in the final military assault on the LTTE in May 2009.

Until late Monday, the Sri Lankan government had not responded to the resolutions.