UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan contingent commander of UN peacekeeping forces in Mali, an accused war criminal, has been ordered back home, a UN spokesman said on Friday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asked the government of Sri Lanka to repatriate Lt. Col. Kalana Priyankara Lankamithra Amunupure after it discovered he was accused of war crimes during the Sri Lanka civil war, said the spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.
"This decision to repatriate the commander was made by the United Nations following a review based on recently received information" in his human rights record, the spokesman said.
Asked if there had not been screening by the world organization before Amunupure's deployment, the spokesman said, "The individual was screened by the UN prior to deployment to MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali). New information recently came to light which resulted in the UN's decision."
Dujarric said that if the commander hasn't already been sent back home he would be very shortly. The United Nations has asked Sri Lanka to replace Amunupure as soon as possible.
The mission was established by a UN Security Council resolution in 2013 to support the political process and help to maintain security in the West Africa country.
Asked if Amunupure had also been screened by Sri Lanka's Human Rights Commission, the spokesman said only the commission "had no role in the decision" to seek repatriation.
Dujarric said the UN Secretariat "is working with the government and Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to facilitate the establishment of an effective domestic screening process that complies with international standards and the requirements of the Policy on Human Rights Screening of UN Personnel."
Sri Lanka was wracked by 26 years of civil war led by the Tamil Tigers. War crimes have been alleged against several members of government forces, some of whom have been in UN peacekeeping missions despite screening. Defeat of the tigers in 309 ended the civil war.