Dinesh says Sri Lanka must present its case to war crimes court

Dinesh Gunawardena

Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) leader Dinesh Gunawardena, MP, yesterday, said that the country could bring to the notice of the war crimes court envisaged for Sri Lanka, the circumstances under which the armed forces had brought the LTTE to its knees in May 2009.

Reiterating his strong opposition to external intervention meant to undermine Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, Opposition heavyweight said that the country could make representations to the court. Sri Lanka should be ready to present its case relating to the crushing of the world’s most ruthless terror outfit.

Former UPFA minister asserted that Sri Lanka should fight its case keeping in mind that it was a free country. MP Gunawardena was speaking live on Sirasa yesterday.

MP Gunawardena denied the assertion that those still faithful to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa were against Geneva process.

The MEP leader stressed that the pivotal importance was for all to work together to meet the challenges faced by the country.

Asked whether former President Rajapaksa would give leadership to their efforts in the face of Geneva threat, MP Gunawardena said that they hadn’t so far met Rajapaksa on this particular issue. However, other UPFA constituents and other civil society organizations had reached consensus on a strategy to defend Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.

Referring to President Maithripala Sirisena’s address to the recent UNGA, MP Gunawardena said that he tackled about three important issues. However, the Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government’s decision to co-sponsor an amended Geneva resolution that dealt with Sri Lanka was a big mistake. Geneva adopted the resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ without a vote on Thursday. MP Gunawardena warned the government of severe consequence due to co-sponsoring of the resolution.

When the interviewer Bandula Jayasekera queried whether they would commit political ‘hara-kiri’ by succumbing to international pressure, MP Gunawardena alleged that the government was obviously of the opinion that nothing could go wrong as long as it retained the required numbers in parliament.  Gunawardena asserted that the country was heading for a major crisis.

The MEP leader said the creation of a ministry for Highways and University Education reflected the new government lopsided thinking. The Finance Ministry had been split in such a way the Finance Minister was deprived of playing his entitled role. Pointing out that some sectors, including the Central Bank had been brought under the Prime Minister; MP Gunawardena described some changes effected by the new administration as a tragedy.

Former Minister Gunawardena appreciated UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema receiving Development Strategies and International Trade as a step in the right direction. He described Samarawickrema as an experienced businessman.

Responding to another query, the MP denied accusations that a section of UPFA members, including him exploited former President Rajapaksa’s popularity to gain entry to parliament.

Gunawardena said that Mahinda Rajapaksa was a seasoned politician. The MP insisted that Rajapaksa couldn’t be taken for a ride nor had they deceived him. Even after his defeat, Mahinda Rajapaksa retained popularity among the people, a situation never experienced by any previous leader.

Further commenting on war crimes accusations, MP Gunawardena said that those in the genuine Opposition would act responsibly. The MP said that they would protect the sovereignty and independence regardless of consequences.

Emphasizing that the country could explain accusations directed at the previous government, Gunawardena said that Sri Lanka should be ready to counter false claims. The former Minister said that allegations pertaining to 40,000 killed during the final offensive could be countered by the Paranagama report.

He said the truth was that former President Rajapaksa restored democracy in the country. Acknowledging that conflict always caused damages, MP Gunawardena pointed out that the four-party Tamil National Alliance was freed from the LTTE thanks to the previous government.

(Source: The Island)