Probe US, UK troops before charging us with warcrimes: Lanka

Probe US, UK troops before charging us with warcrimes: Lanka

The remarks came a day after President Mahinda Rajapaksa accused unnamed foreign elements of trying to stop the military offensive "by threatening to haul us before war crimes tribunals" and declared that he was even ready "to go to the gallows" for defeating the Tamil rebels.

"Sri Lankan forces did much much better than all the forces everywhere in the world when it comes to civilian casualties. We took all precautions to prevent civilian casualties from the beginning to the end (of the war)," Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told Indian channel NDTV on Saturday.

Rajapaksa, who is also the President's brother, said "if one talks of taking our military to a war crimes tribunal, before that you have to take US troops, UK troops, all those troops and all those leaders into war crimes (tribunals)."

The UN or human rights organisations should "first do those investigations and (then) talk about investigation here," he said.

Calls have been growing for probe into possible war crimes by both government troops and Tamil Tigers during the war, with a number of European nations reportedly trying to bring a resolution to this effect at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council next week.

In an interview to NDTV, Sri Lankan army chief General Sarath Fonseka also blasted certain western countries for trying to save the LTTE leaders by calling for a ceasefire.

"They were trying to do it in the pretext of saving civilians but any ceasefire at that time, any fool would realise it was not going to save any civilian but would save the bunch of terrorists who were there," he said.

In the backdrop of allegations that LTTE political wing chief B Nadesan and peace secretariat head S Pulidevan were shot dead in cold blood when they had approached the forces for surrendering, Gen Fonseka said "(in) the last 300-400 metres area we surrounded them, cornered them."

"Nadesan, Pulidevan they got killed there. Ten minutes before we were shooting at them, and I think, some members had spoken to Secretary Defence and said this Nadesan wants to surrender and in 10 minutes we recovered his dead body. The bullets were going over his head, through his ears," he said.

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