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Last updated: 04 March, 2012 - Published 15:10 GMT
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Catholics divided on war crimes
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith (c) with Bishop Rayappu Joseph (L) in Madhu church
Bishop Joseph (L) has contradicted earlier statement by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith
Tamil Catholic priests from the north have called for an international investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, contradicting an earlier statement by the head of Sri Lanka's Catholic Church.

In a letter sent to UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the group urges the UN body to urge Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the government appointed war panel.

It also calls on the UN to urge Sri Lanka to accept an international probe into accountability issues that has not been dealt by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

"At least now, we urge the Council to act decisively in relation to Sri Lanka, to enable Sri Lankan to move towards genuine reconciliation," said the letter singed by 31 clergymen including Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph.

 At least now, we urge the Council to act decisively in relation to Sri Lanka, to enable Sri Lankan to move towards genuine reconciliation
A letter sent to UNHRC by a group of 31 clergymen

Although the LLRC has identified abuses by both the government forces as well as the LTTE, said the letter, "it has failed to address critical issues of truth seeking and accountability."

In a statement issued earlier, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka opposes the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHCR.

"Such efforts by western powers is an insult on the intelligence of the people of Sri Lanka", says the Cardinal.

But Fr Gerard Rosairo, one of the signatories, told BBC Sandeshaya that the Catholic Church has so far failed to discuss alleged human rights violations during the last phase of war against the LTTE.

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