White House applauds UN war crimes vote

The White House applauded the United Nations Human Rights Council for voting Thursday to open a war crimes investigation into actions taken by the Sri Lanken government and the Tamil Tiger rebel group during that nation's civil war.

"We agree with the resolution’s request for the Office of the High Commissioner to investigate alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties to the conflict and to monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, which has continued to deteriorate," said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

"Today’s resolution sends a message of concern about the present human rights situation in Sri Lanka and the denial of universal rights, and it underscores the importance of fundamental freedoms that must be respected in order to build a future in which all of Sri Lanka’s people can achieve their aspirations."

The vote came despite strenuous opposition from the Sri Lanken government.

Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, said the probe "reflects the preconceived, politicized and prejudicial agenda which has been relentlessly pursued with regard to Sri Lanka," according to Reuters.

The United States pushed for the resolution amid concern of continued rights violations stemming from the conflict, which ended in 2009. Journalists, as well as minority Muslim and Christian populations, have complained of intimidation and threats.

The U.N. council voted 23 to 12 in favor of the review, with a dozen countries abstaining.