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* Sri Lanka questions legality of the UN probe, says will not cooperate
Tue, Apr 8, 2014, 01:50 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 08, Colombo: Sri Lanka, questioning the legality and fairness of an international probe to be conducted by the office of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navanetham Pillay as mandated by a UN resolution, has refused to cooperate with the inquiry.

Sri Lanka's external Affairs Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris addressing the Foreign Correspondents' Association on Monday has said that the government had not accepted the UN investigations due to concerns over its legality, fairness, and some conflict of interest issues, a Reuters report said.

"Where the government is required to do anything to support the investigation or to participate in it, the government will not do that," Peiris was quoted as saying at the Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA) forum on Monday.

The Sri Lankan Minister has said that no one will be allowed to come to the country without the cooperation of the government.

Sri Lanka maintains that the probe mandated by the resolution adopted by the UNHRC last month requesting the UN High Commissioner's office to undertake a comprehensive independent investigation into alleged serious human rights violations and crimes by both the government and the Tamil Tiger terrorist group LTTE during the seven years from 2002 to 2009 is an unnecessary and unethical intrusion into the island nations' sovereignty.

The Minister has however not ruled out the possibility of the government allowing anyone to give evidence to such an investigation since according to the Minister, there could be various views from different people.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Spokesperson and the Minister of Mass Media Keheliya Rambukwella has warned that the government would take legal action against anyone giving evidence before such an inquiry if their testimony infringes the country's Constitution.

"We will take legal action against anyone who testifies before this commission, if the evidence submitted by them is in violation of the country's Constitution" Rambukwella was quoted in local media as saying.

"If we permit an international investigation it will heavily infringe upon the sovereignty of the country," the Cabinet Spokesman has said.

He has reminded that a member of the parliament cannot testify before such an inquiry since they have sworn allegiance to the Constitution and taken an oath to protect the country's sovereignty when they assume the membership of parliament.

The Minister has noted that Sri Lanka reiterated its commitment to solve any issues through home grown internal mechanisms.

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