THE top Sri Lankan diplomat in Australia has rejected a call by the Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, for the United Nations to re-examine allegations of war crimes during the bloody end to the country's three decades of civil war.
Last month a spokeswoman for Mr Rudd called on the UN Human Rights Council to revisit the claims of war crimes and to ''examine whether their original findings on the civil war can still be regarded as well-founded.'' But the Sri Lankan high commissioner, Thisara Samarasinghe, said yesterday the allegations upon which Mr Rudd based his call - including video footage from a British documentary which showed unarmed Tamils being shot dead - were ''biased and unsubstantiated''.
''That is a statement made by your honourable Foreign Minister,'' Admiral Samarasinghe said. ''He had his reasons to make that request and it will take its natural course, if anybody is interested.''
Despite international criticism and a UN report finding claims of war crimes were ''credible'', the global body has yet to approve an investigation into claims that tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were killed in mid-2009, during the final phase of the conflict.
Admiral Samarasinghe, who was in charge of naval operations against the Tamil Tigers in early 2009, made his comments during an address at Parliament to present a Sri Lankan government report, Humanitarian Operation - Factual Analysis, which challenged the claims of war crimes.
Referring to civilians killed in that period as ''collateral damage'', Admiral Samarasinghe said calls for a formal international probe were inappropriate.
''It was not an international conflict, [it was an] internal conflict and we fought it ourselves and we manage our citizens and I don't see any reason why an international investigation should be carried out,'' he said.
Much of the international concern has arisen since Channel 4 in Britain aired a documentary, Sri Lanka's Killing Fields, in June showing unarmed Tamils being shot dead by men in Sri Lankan army uniforms.
It also showed images it said were evidence that Sri Lankan troops involved in a final push in May 2009 had raped and then shot dead female Tamils.
The footage was rejected as fake by the Sri Lankan government of the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, but UN experts later declared it authentic.