The Congress party is debating holding a general election in November, six months ahead of schedule, senior party leaders said, reflecting an internal discussion over whether to pull the plug on the shaky ruling coalition or have it serve a full term. Full Article
- Winning ticket for $590.5 million Powerball lottery sold in Florida
- Weakened Congress wondering if early elections will help
- S.Africa minister accuses Indian High Commission official in Gupta scandal
- Rod Stewart tops UK album chart for first time in 34 years
- Pakistan: senior PTI leader Zara Shahid Hussain killed
Confused while buying stocks? Get buy, sell or hold recommendations from VantageTrade. Full Coverage
Sri Lanka war crime cases may take five years - govt
COLOMBO, July 26 |
COLOMBO, July 26 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka said on Thursday it would take as long as five years to try people accused of carrying out atrocities at the end of its three-decade civil war, as part of a national action plan that was quickly derided by opposition critics.
The government has faced international condemnation over its civil rights record, particularly over its final military campaign against separatist Tamil Tigers that the United Nations said killed tens of thousands of civilians in 2009.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government has rejected U.N. calls for an international investigation into the reported atrocities and appointed a Sri Lankan commission a year after the end of the conflict to run its own probe.
The government had already said it would follow the recommendations by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). On Thursday it released a timetable (link.reuters.com/gem69s) laying out when it would put the recommendations into effect.
First on the list was a plan giving military authorities a year to complete investigations into reports of the killings of civilians. That was followed by another two years to draw up prosecutions and another two years to take them through the court system.
"Complex issues are here. We need to look at those things very carefully and objectively ... We ... are trying to take this forward, taking the LLRC recommendations very seriously," Lalith Weeratunga, the president's secretary who headed the team that drew up the action plan, told journalists.
Opposition politicians said they suspected the new plan was a ploy to reduce international scrutiny.
"The government is violating human rights domestically but just issuing reports to mislead the international community," said Vijitha Herath, a Marxist opposition parliamentarian.
Kusal Perera, a government critic and director of the Centre for Social Democracy, called the action plan a "total bluff" and said the government had already failed to follow through on a number of the commission's recommendations.
"They say they have already implemented independent commissions, but nothing has happened," he told Reuters, referring to the LLRC recommendations on establishing independent police and public service commissions.
Slow progress of rolling out the LLRC's 285 recommendations prompted a U.N. resolution in March which said Sri Lanka should ensure government troops who committed war crimes should be brought to justice.
In May the island nation's government released from prison opposition politician and former army chief Sarath Fonseka, a move welcomed by Washington, which considered him a political prisoner.
Rights groups have long accused the Rajapaksa government of suppressing press freedom and carrying out abductions. Rajapaksa and his government say such reports are politically motivated. (Additional reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this