June 03, Colombo: Sri Lanka Army Commander has said that the Army is not evading the issue of accountability during the war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists and it will investigate if specific allegations of crimes were brought to its notice.
Delivering the closing remarks on Thursday at the three-day seminar on “Defeating terrorism -the Sri Lankan experience” Army Chief Lieutenant-General Jagath Jayasuriya said the Army was not shying away from accountability and he is open to investigating alleged rights abuses during the final stages of fighting.
“Specific instances of human rights excesses would be investigated if brought to its notice,” he said.
Lieutenant-General Jayasuriya said he cannot give an accurate figure of civilian deaths took place during the battle as the country is yet to figure out how many are missing or dead.
Thousands have fled the areas and after a careful enumeration only the government can give a figure on the actual number of deaths, he said.
The United Nations Secretary-General appointed Panel of Experts put the total civilian death toll in tens of thousands while human rights groups say it is around 40,000.
Sri Lankan authorities standing by their troops insist that there was no deliberate killing of any civilian during the intense military operation.