The UNP yesterday alleged that the appointment of the International Advisory Council (IAC) was an exercise to save President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya from an international war crimes tribunal.
UNP media head, MP Mangala Samaraweera who is also a member of the Leadership Council of the party claimed that the IAC headed by British national Sir Desmond de Silva was spearheading a project to save the Rajapaksas at the expense of couple of senior military officers who led the campaign against the LTTE. Matara District MP was addressing the media at UNP headquarters, Sirikotha.
Citing several examples, including the involvement of IAC member, Sir Geoffrey Nice with one-time Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Samaraweera predicted that the panel would produce a report blaming battlefield atrocities on the military.
The UNPer said that the main opposition party felt the need for a comprehensive domestic inquiry which would also look into the atrocities committed by the LTTE. Samaraweera said that the UNP strongly believed that there should be an acceptable local mechanism in the face of an international probe targeting Sri Lanka.
Samaraweera challenged the government to explain the setting up of an IAC in the wake of the ruling coalition rejecting an international investigation into accountability issues here.
Although the two Britishers and a US national appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa had received international recognition and carried out UN assignments previously, they were picked by the Rajapaksas because they specialised in saving the skins of those like him, Samaraweera said.
Samaraweera recollected how Sir Desmond had cleared the British government of atrocities at the expense of truth. The MP also cited an inquiry undertaken by himinto a killing that took place in Northern Ireland in 1989 to justify accusations that he sided with the British government.
The UNP media guru said that President Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya had hired international experts to save their skins. People should realize their strategy, the UNP MP said, vowing the party would continue its struggle against the authoritarian regime.
Samaraweera also described the US member in the IAC as an expert to save murderous dictators.