2ND LEAD (Adds details)
White House protest calls for arrest of visiting Sri Lanka President
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 25 January 2011, 04:49 GMT]
Nearly one hundred Tamils in unfriendly weather conditions called upon the US President to investigate and arrest the visiting Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse widely accused of committing war-crimes against Tamils during the end of Sri Lanka's war in May 2009. Protesters pointed out that US Ambassador in Colombo, Ambassador Butenis, has herself acknowledged possible complicity by the Rajapakse brothers of the said crimes. The protest took place at the Washington D.C. Lafayette park in front of the White House along the closed Pennsylvania avenue between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday. Another group of protesters assembled in front of the US State Department located at the C Street NW in Washington D.C.
Mr Rajapakse was reported to be staying with his brother living in Houston, and Sri Lanka news media speculated that the Rajapakse's unpublicized visit was to attend to a medical condition.
Protest at the US State Department
Dr. Thayaparan, leading the rally, said: "Establishing accountability for the atrocious crimes committed by Sri Lanka military and political leaders is a necessary first step for any reconciliation effort to succeed. We demand the US administration to take steps to identify and prosecute the war-criminals."
Amnesty International first alerted Mr Rajapakse visit to the US. "The United States has an obligation under international law to investigate and prosecute people who perpetrated war crimes and grave human rights violations such as extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific director calling the Obama administration to investigate,
Professor Boyle of University of Illinois has called "liberal" Obama administration's conduct in allowing Rajapakase into the US as "Machiavellian Realpolitik at its worst."
Meanwhile, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a US-based activist group said in a press release that TAG's attorney is filing civil action against visiting Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse for damages under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA/TVPA) on behalf of three plaintiffs, two US-resident and one domiciled in Britain.
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