Maithripala Sirisena, the opposition challenger to the incumbent Rajapaksa in the January 8 election told reporters that he would not allow any Sri Lankan to be hauled before a war crime investigation.
Sirisena said he would rely on the findings of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) which has called for a reliable domestic investigation into alleged war crimes during the last phase of the military conflict.
"I will not allow President Rajapakse, his family or any member of our armed forces to be taken before any international war crimes tribunal," Sirisena said. The LLRC appointed by Rajapaksa has been seen by the UN Human Rights Council as inadequate mechanism. Sirisena, Rajapaksa's Health Minister until last week is the opposition's main challenger against Rajapaksa's bid to seek a third term.
The government in order to discourage the majority of Buddhists from voting for Sirisena has accused the opposition coalition of trying to defeat Rajapaksa in order to haul him before a war crimes investigation.
Rajapaksa resisted the UNHRC investigation claiming it was an attack against Sri Lanka's sovereignty. The UNHRC resolution had alleged war crimes blamed on both government troops and LTTE rebels during the final phase of the three-decade civil war.
The UN says 30,000 people were killed towards the end of the ethnic conflict in 2009 when the LTTE was finally crushed.