Sri Lanka’s finance minister Mangala Samaraweera claimed his government was able to halt a United Nations investigation into human rights violations committed by the military and saved former president Mahinda Rajapaksa from facing trial at an international tribunal.
“Our country was marked as a blood stain on the world map,” said Samaraweera. “We were accused of violating human rights in the war. An international investigation was to be held even without our involvement.”
“The UN halted the international investigations on this government’s promise. This government paved the way for the former president to go abroad and boast. If not for this government he would have been punished by an international court… Mahinda Rajapaksa was able to leave the country because of the trust placed in this government by the international community,” he said.
“We stopped him from becoming an international criminal,” he concluded.
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The current government has repeatedly spoken out against prosecuting Sri Lankan troops for war crimes, despite agreeing to a UN resolution which mandates an accountability mechanism with international judges. Samaraweera, who was Sri Lanka’s foreign minister at the time of Colombo agreeing to the resolution, has previously defended Sri Lankan troops stating they were “acting on orders” and spoken out against foreign judges being involved in an accountability mechanism.