Rajapaksa urges parliament to grant service extension to war crime accused

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa appealed to parliament to grant service extensions to military top brass accused of committing war crimes during the final phase of the bloody war in Sri Lanka.

In his first speech to parliament since the faliure in his bid to become president for a third consecutive term, Rajapaksa told the legislature on Friday (04), that commanders who 'led the battle against Tamil Tigers will lose their institutional safety and security' once retired from the military.

"I see the retiring of such officers in a time when there is talk about war crimes as a move to isolate them," said the former president who was the commander in chief during Sri Lanka's final military onslaught.

Meeting President Sirisena

Almost all the military commanders who led the Sri Lanka military in 2009, has met the incumbent president recently at a tourist resort on the western coast and requested service extensions, said media reports.

Those who met President Maithripala Sirisena at the Outreach Hotel in Negombo were named by Colombo based Sunday Times Major General Jagath Dias ( Chief of Staff), Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe (Adjutant General as well as Colonel Commandant, Sri Lanka Artillery) Major General Kamal Gunaratne (Master General Ordinance) Major General Shavendra Silva (Defence Services Staff College), Major General Nandana Udawatte (Security Forces Commander, Jaffna) Major General Prasanna de Silva (Military Liaison Officer, Ministry of Defence), Major General Jagath Alwis (awaiting a posting from AHQ) Major General Prasanna Silva (General Officer Commanding 51 Division) and Major General Chagi Gallage.

None of these media exposures have been denied.

Dissent from below

According to military regulations the maximum serving time for a major general is three years.

Junior military officers who will be forced to retire without promotions have expressed their dissent on granting of service extensions to their seniors. 

In a damning report on Sri Lanka in September the United Nations have referred to the command responsibility of these military leaders during the final stages of the war where the majority of war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed.



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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