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PM should raise war crimes tribunal with Sri Lankan President today

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 26 Oct 2011

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon today called on Prime Minister Gillard to raise in her meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is visiting Australia for CHOGM, the need for an international investigation into war crimes committed during the civil war.

"The Australian government has been tiptoeing around while international calls grow for the Sri Lankan government to agree to an independent investigation into war crimes," Senator Rhiannon said.

 "Attorney General Robert McClelland cannot hide behind the excuse of 'diplomatic immunity' as a way of refusing permission for a criminal investigation of Mr Rajapaksa under Commonwealth laws.

"The Prime Minister could ask the Sri Lankan government to waive diplomatic immunity if any Sri Lankan official in Australia is suspected of being responsible for committing war crimes or crimes against humanity.

"The failure of the Australian government to take strong action to see investigation of war crimes committed in the Sri Lankan civil war undermines the government's push for human rights to be elevated through the CHOGM process," Senator Rhiannon said.

Leader of the Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown and Senator Rhiannon today joined a broad group of prominent Australians from across the political spectrum to call for Sri Lanka's suspension from the Councils of the Commonwealth until the government agrees to an independent investigation into war crimes.

Statement and endorsements here.

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