'Don't promote Sri Lanka's ex army chief, but try him' - HRW

An international human rights organization has severely criticized Sri Lanka government for ‘sending worrying signals’ by appointing former military commander to parliament.

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka took oaths as a ruling coalition legislator on February 9 2016.

Appointing the ex army chief whose forces were implicated in widespread abuses during the civil war ‘contradicts pledges to investigate alleged war crimes,’ Human Rights Watch said releasing a statement on Thursday calling to investigate Fonseka.

Breach of Trust

“Fonseka’s appointment signals that the government may protect senior military leaders suspected of widespread abuses,” said Brad Adams, HRW Asia director. “The government should meaningfully demonstrate to the Sri Lankan people and the UN that it’s serious about accountability and not on the road to a whitewash.”

“Fonseka’s appointment is a breach of trust for victims and families who believed in this government’s commitment to deliver justice for war crimes,” he further said.

HRW has recalled that the Sri Lankan government has ‘previously sought to protect and promote military commanders implicated in wartime atrocities’ by promoting Major General Jagath Dias, to the post of Chief of Staff in May 2015.

Several military commanders who led battalions in Tamil areas where many of the war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed have sought service extensions in a bid to be saved from prosecution.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.