The Sri Lanka military last week strongly rejected allegations made by two Catholic bishops in the north of the island that the military used cluster munitions during the final stages of the May 2009 assault that ended the terrorist insurgency of the Tamil Tigers.
During a meeting with Stephen Rapp,
the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, on 8 January, the
Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, and the Bishop of Jaffna Thomas
Savundranayagam asked the US official to initiate an investigation into
whether the government forces used cluster munitions and chemical
weapons in densely populated areas in the final stages of the attack on
Tamil Tiger strongholds.
The Tamil Tigers used civilians as
human shields, shooting those who fled.
The bishops also asked the
diplomat to conduct investigations into allegations that the Government
deliberately attacked hospitals, places of worship and blocked food and
medicine intended for civilians.
After the meeting Buddhist monks
protested before the US embassy in Colombo against what they said was
meddling in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.
Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan
Wanigasooriya said the Sri Lanka Army at no point in its history of
counter terrorist operations had used unconventional weapons.