Sri Lanka ex-army head says can answer war crimes allegations
(Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s former army chief, who led the military to victory at the end of a three-decade conflict against Tamil Tiger rebels, has said he is ready to face questions about allegations of war crimes.
Sri Lanka is under Western and U.N. pressure to conduct an independent investigation into conduct during the war where, rights groups say, the former army chief and others are implicated in shooting fighters as they sought to surrender.
Sarath Fonseka told reporters he was ready to answer questions on his record in a war in whose final months, in 2009, tens of thousands of civilians were killed, according to a U.N. panel.
“If somebody is shy and tries to hide from facing questions, then obviously, people will start suspecting more and more,” Fonseka told a Foreign Correspondents’ Association forum late on Tuesday.
“In my case I have no problem like that and I am ready to answer anybody and clarify any doubt. If anybody questions me, I am ready to answer,” he said.
Fonseka said the military under his command fought the war professionally according to international law and he was confident they had not violated human rights. If there was “specific evidence” which merited an inquiry, he said: “If anybody questions me I will answer. I’m ready to answer.”
The U.N. Human Rights Council has called on Sri Lanka to investigate human rights violations during and after the war. The government says it has been implementing the recommendations via a local commission as requested by the United Nations.
Since the war ended, Fonseka has fallen out with the government and served jail time for crimes including corruption and engaging in politics while in uniform.
Fonseka ran for president in 2010 but lost to Mahinda Rajapaksa who has ruled the island state since 2005. Rights groups also say Rajapaksa has not addressed the war crimes allegations, something he denies.
Still popular among many Sri Lankans, Fonseka is seen as a potential political threat to Rajapaksa, despite the fact that his jail record means he cannot run for election for the next seven years. (Reuters)
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Well done General, your courage in fessing up to war crimes allegations is absolutely brilliant and greatly appreciated. The gaols in the Hague are a luxury compared to Welikada where you were incarcerated by your bossess so unjustly, for over 2 years. The cockroaches in Welikada are missing you, my dear General, they enjoyed your companionship.
looks like OSCAR was sleeping while LTTE killed so many innocent people in SL. why the f you could not speak loud when your brother prabha has taken your own tamilians as as shield??.
you could not speak at that time becasue you were afraid that prabha’s buchers gang definitly come behind you to give you and your familly a nice time before the deth
Well done General, Oscar Ratnam is soooo hurt that your brilliant and valiant army wiped out the Tamil Tiger terrorists from Sri Lanka. You saved the innocent Tamil civilians who were forcibly kept as a human sheild by the coward leader VP at the final stage of the war.
Yey, the Hon. General wants an opprtunity to go there and take the opportunity to say that yes, it exactly happened as the ‘diaspora’ and their nannies like HRW and the rest says, but he had nothing to do with all that since it was Gotha asked him to do that. That way he can finish off all three brothers and be the next king to lead us to prosperity!
As one nation we will face for this without fear, and all the people are under one flag to go ahead. So GOSL should approach anyone who can help with regards to this.
Gen has taken a front step so lets dialog begins.