17 Nov 2013

International inquiry rejected by Sri Lankan president

9:03 am on 17 November 2013

President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka has rejected demands for an international inquiry into accusations of war crimes at the end of the civil war in 2009.

''People living in glass houses should not throw stones,'' Mr Rajapaksa said on the second day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.

He made an oblique reference to Bloody Sunday, when 13 civilians were shot dead in Northern Ireland by the British army in 1972.

Some inquiry reports took 40 years to emerge, he said, referring to an inquiry into the shootings which reported in 2010 and laid responsibility for the events on the army.

He also accused critics of the government of ignoring deaths during the period of the civil war.

"Every day for the last 30 years people were dying ... so we have stopped it," he said. "We will take our time and we will investigate into 30 years of war," he added.

Mr Rajapaksa has said the end of the war has brought peace, stability and the chance of greater prosperity to Sri Lanka.

The BBC reports the government is carrying out its own investigation, but denies civilians were killed in the last stages of the war when government troops routed Tamil Tiger rebels in their last stronghold.

Basil Rajapaksa, President Rajapaksa's brother and a senior minister in his government, has rejected a call by British prime minister David Cameron for an independent inquiry or a UN investigation.

Nimal Siripala de Silva, another senior government minister, said such an investigation will definitely not take place.