By JS Tissainayagam –
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will attend the Commonwealth Summit in Colombo to engage with host nation Sri Lanka. However, while loudly encouraging Commonwealth leaders to engage by attending the Summit, Sri Lanka has in the recent past brushed aside international engagement it perceives as threatening and accommodated only that which boosts its legitimacy at home and image abroad.
Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the civil war that ended in May 2009 with the defeat of the rebel LTTE. The rebels too are accused of similar crimes. Sri Lanka denies the accusation and says even if they were true, a domestic inquiry would suffice. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillai, among others, believes Sri Lanka cannot be trusted with a domestic inquiry.
Using engagement as a shield against his critics who urge him to boycott this week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Cameron told the BBC: “I will tell [Rajapakse] that if Sri Lanka doesn’t deliver on an independent investigation, the world will need to ensure an international investigation is carried out instead.”