The chairman of the Missing Persons Commission, Maxwell Parangama says if the army used cluster bombs before 2010 it was not illegal.
He noted that the Cluster Munitions Convention (CMC) banning the use of such weapons was not in force at the time of the conflict and only became operational on 1st August 2010.
“Therefore, if there had been a need for the Sri Lankan Army to use cluster munitions because of military necessity, it was not illegal at the time,” he added.
He noted that there has been a very great deal of publicity preceding the Geneva session touching upon the use of cluster
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had recently called for an independent and impartial investigation to be carried out into claims cluster bombs were used during the war.
The Parangama Commission noted that three years after the end of the conflict, a leaked email from a member of the United Nations Development Programme mine clearance section, alleged that, “some evidence” had been discovered of cluster munitions in the conflict zone.
“The Sri Lankan Army denied use of such munitions and this denial was accepted by the UN at the time. In other words, it would appear there was no evidence that contradicted this denial,” he said.
Paranagama says anyone who reads the Report made to the Human Rights Council could be forgiven for thinking that the use cluster munitions at the time in some way constituted a war crime.