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09 Aug 2022, 21:42 HRS IST
  • PTI
  • Sri Lanka defends General accused of war crimes against LTTE

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20:11 HRS IST

Colombo, Aug 30 (PTI) The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday came out in defence of a former Army Commander accused of committing war crimes during the brutal civil war against the LTTE, saying every death in the three-decade long conflict cannot be treated as a human rights abuse case

Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the government was prepared to probe any specific charges made against the military and Commander Jagath Jayasuriya

Senaratne, who is also the Health Minister, said the accusations against Jayasuriya were of a general nature

"Every death which occurred during the civil war could not treated as a case of human rights abuse as we were conducting a war against terrorism," he added

The Army spokesman Brigadier Roshan Seneviratne said the allegations were baseless

The International Truth and Justice Project, a human rights group had filed war crimes charges in Brazil and Colombia against Jayasuriya, who was the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Brazil

He was also accredited to four more countries in the Latin American region

The lawsuit filed in Brasilia and Bogota on Monday alleged that General Jayasuriya bore individual criminal responsibility as the Commander of units that committed repeated attacks on hospitals, acts of torture and sexual violence, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings

Jayasuriya was commanding the Sri Lankan Army's Wanni brigade in the north of the country where conflict raged during the last phase of the war with the LTTE

He later succeeded war wining commander Sarath Fonseka as the overall Army chief

As recognition for their services towards ending the 30 years long armed conflict some senior military personnel were given plum diplomatic postings, including Jayasuriya who was appointed as Sri Lanka's ambassador to Brazil

Sri Lanka faced UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolutions for alleged human rights abuses during the last phase of the conflict

Sri Lanka's human rights record, particularly over the impunity enjoyed by law enforcement officers, has been the subject of international condemnation

The UNHRC demanded accountability mechanisms to probe rights abuses blamed on both the LTTE and the government forces that ended in 2009

Sri Lanka is averse to setting up of an international hybrid court with local and foreign judges to investigate the alleged war crimes committed by the government troops and the LTTE in the last phase of the conflict

Relatives of the missing Tamil people allege that the Lankan state - particularly its army, navy and police - were behind most of the disappearances

According to the government figures, around 20,000 people are missing due to various conflicts including the civil war with Lankan Tamils in the north and east which claimed at least 100,000 lives

The LTTE, which led the separatist war for a separate Tamil homeland, was finally crushed by the Lankan military in 2009 with the death its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.

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