Minister Rajitha Senaratne

The Sri Lankan Government does not consider any deaths that had occurred in combat during the country’s civil war as constituting ‘War Crimes,’ but is open to investigating excesses that may have been committed by people using the war as cover, it was stated today.

Explaining the Government’s position at the weekly Cabinet press briefing, Cabinet Spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne stated that no Government could fight a war if it started investigating deaths that occurred during fighting.

“However, if there are cases where people waving white flags had been shot, or if abductions, murders and rapes had been committed using the war as cover, then those incidents should definitely be investigated and they will be probed under a domestic investigative mechanism,” the minister stated.

The minister made the comment when queried about claims from the opposition that moves were afoot to bring senior military officers to court on ‘War Crimes’ charges.

Minister Senaratne said he personally believed ‘war is a crime’ in its entirety, but said it would be wrong to probe the conduct of military personnel over deaths that occurred as a result of combat.

“However, if there were military personnel who used the war as cover to commit such crimes disobeying orders, then I don’t believe the military would object to them being punished as such persons are a disgrace to the military”.