Lanka blasts Norway on war crimes charges

A call by Norway's International Development Minister Erik Solheim for the United Nations to investigate war crimes in Sri Lanka has drawn an angry response from the Government.

"The Sri Lanka government deeply regrets the baseless comments" made to the Aftenposten newspaper's website of August 28, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

Mr. Solheim was quoted by the website as saying he would discuss with UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon, due to visit Norway, about the allegations of war crimes. The website quoted him as saying: "There are dozens of people who have been killed or have disappeared in Sri Lanka in recent years.

This is without some form of judicial process or verdict. And there is overwhelming evidence of structures within the state apparatus that are behind many of these killings. It’s something I want to do, even if the purpose of his trip (Ban ki Moon's) is about climate and environment."

The Foreign Ministry said, "The utterances of Minister Solheim have led the Government of Sri Lanka to reflect on his possible partisanship in the facilitatory role." The Foreign Ministry said the Government of Sri Lanka hopes that a formal response would be received from the Norwegian Government.

UN Sp. Rap. calls for video probe

A UN human rights expert today called for the immediate establishment of an independent inquiry into the authenticity of a video which purportedly depicts the extrajudicial execution of two men allegedly by the Sri Lankan military.

Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, however, said he was aware that the Sri Lankan Government had categorically denied the allegations raised by the video, which has been aired this week.

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