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Sri Lanka army court clears troops of allegations


Colombo : A Sri Lankan army court of inquiry has, in a new report, cleared the military over allegations of targeting civilians in the final stages of the country’s civil war, the army said Wednesday.

Human rights groups had raised doubts over investigations carried out by the army as the allegations are against the military in relation to some incidents reported during the war, reports Xinhua.

A war commission known as the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa soon after the 30-year war ended in May 2009, has made some observations pertaining to the army and allegations made by Britain’s Channel 4 television.

The commander of the army convened a Court of Inquiry to investigate and submitted a report on the observations made by the LLRC.

The court examined senior field commanders and infantry, armoury, artillery, intelligence, civil affairs and medical officers who took part in the operation.

From the evidence presented, the Court of Inquiry concluded that the Tamil Tigers had violated international laws with impunity by committing various unlawful acts, using civilians as human shields, placing artillery and other heavy weapons amidst civilian concentrations and illegal conscription of civilians, including children and old people, for combat purposes thus exposing them to danger, the army said.

The army media unit also said and the court noted that the international community had failed in their duty to stop war crimes committed by the Tamil Tigers.

In his concluding remarks, the army commander stated that in any war, even those fought by Western powers using state-of-the-art hi-tech equipment, civilian casualties were inevitable due to the vagaries of war.