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November 17, 2013

Summit Ends Amid Demands for War Crimes Inquiry Against Sri Lanka

by VOA News

The three-day Commonwealth Summit, held in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, came to a close Sunday as human rights groups urged leaders to pressure Sri Lanka's president to investigate war crimes.

The summit was dogged by constant attention to Sri Lanka's refusal to allow international inquiries into alleged atrocities committed during and after its 27-year civil war that ended in 2009.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said his troops committed no abuses during or since the country's civil war against ethnic Tamils fighting for a homeland in the island's north.

Rajapaksa has also said his country's institutions are actively processing mounting complaints. "It will take time," he said during a news conference closing the summit.

The Commonwealth leaders produced a final document committing once more to the group's core values, including democracy and human rights, we well as outlining plans to push for changes to international lending that would help small nations access loans and financing for projects to help cope with the effects of climate change.

The next Commonwealth summit will be in Malta in 2015.