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Strong judiciary can help avoid war crimes probe: Colombo

Strong judiciary can help avoid war crimes probe: Colombo

Colombo: A strong judiciary in Sri Lanka will help avoid an international probe into war crimes allegedly committed by the military in the war against the Tamil Tigers, the government said Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the government needed to convince the world that Sri Lanka's judiciary was competent, independent and impartial.

"An international inquiry, initiated last year, is now currently nearing completion," the minister said.

"The results of this inquiry could lead to Sri Lankan armed forces and other civilians appearing before an international tribunal unless tangible steps are swiftly taken to restore judicial credibility," he said.

"It is the previous administration's failure to set up credible domestic mechanisms that has led to our current difficulties," he added.

Rights groups have accused the military of killing thousands of Tamil civilians in the last stages of the war that vanquished the Tamil Tigers in May 2009.

The minister said the challenge was to ensure that Sri Lanka does not face economic sanctions and a tarnished reputation.

The minister defended the removal of controversial Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, saying he acted in violation of the international standards of judicial conduct.

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