Dec 05, Colombo: The Sri Lanka Army said the recent allegation by a French charity that Sri Lankan security forces killed 17 of its aid workers in 2006, without providing the evidence they claimed to have, is a move to bring an independent international investigation against Sri Lanka.
The Army said if the NGO had evidence in its possession it should have provided that to the Sri Lankan government to aid in the domestic investigation without waiting for seven years to level allegations in a press release.
Paris-based Action Contre la Faim (ACF) Tuesday in a press release accused the Sri Lankan troops of killing the 17 aid workers in "cold blood" and then organizing a cover-up of the "heinous" war crime.
The Army Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya in a statement said the content of the ACF release contains allegations of a very serious nature implicating the Security Forces of the country.
"Whilst it claims that it is not seeking to be or replacing a judge it continues nonetheless to deliver a judgment, based on evidence which it claims is in its possession," the spokesman said questioning why the ACF withheld the evidence and waited so long to make the claim.
Questioning the motive for the ACF claim now, the spokesman said that if the ACF (or any other organization for that matter) had in its possession evidence which could bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice, the first thing they should have done was to produce that evidence and support and strengthen the local investigations and not withhold such evidence for almost 7 years.
"The fact that they did not come up with so called evidence and chose, instead to release a public report on the matter, calls to question the motives of the organization in withholding such evidence in the first instance," Brigadier Wanigasooriya said.
The 17 aid workers, all Tamils but one Muslim, were found shot to death in execution style in their office in Muttur in the Eastern Province in 2006 when the terrorist group was fleeing from the East as the security forces took control of the region in a fierce battle.
The Military Spokesman said the ACF coming forward with the allegations but not providing evidence which they claimed to have is a pattern that is emerging after the war to form an opinion against Sri Lanka in order to bring an international investigation.
"This is another instance of a pattern which has emerged since the end of the conflict where certain organizations level allegations against the GoSL (Government of Sri Lanka) without providing sufficient details to enable an investigation. These accusations are then repeated in several other documents, by different agencies, thereby contributing to forming an opinion which is then propagated, without substantiation," the Spokesman said.
He noted that the government has also not been provided the evidence which is claimed to be in the possession of the authors of these reports in order to investigate and respond and they conclude these allegations with a call for an independent international investigation.
"The claims made by ACF in its media report are no different," Brigadier Wanigasooriya said.
He said the Sri Lankan government remains committed to conduct impartial and comprehensive criminal investigations and domestic inquiries into any complaints and information received, relating to alleged perpetration of crimes by members of the armed forces and the Police.