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Russia rejects proposed war crimes probe for Sri Lanka

Published on Feb 15, 2014 1:09 AM

COLOMBO (REUTERS) - Russia on Friday rejected calls by Western nations for an international probe into alleged war crimes in the final phase of the 26-year Sri Lankan civil war that the government won in 2009.

Visiting Colombo amid concern about the country's human rights record in the United States and Britain, a senior Russian diplomat said attempts to impose an international inquiry into wartime atrocities would be counter-productive.

The United States and Britain have said they might ask the United Nations Human Rights Council in March to call for an inquiry. The UN has twice urged Sri Lanka to punish military personnel responsible for atrocities in the civil war.

A UN panel has said around 40,000 mainly Tamil civilians died in the final few months of the war. Both sides committed atrocities but army shelling killed most victims, it concluded.

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