Sri Lanka president honours pledge to military by promoting alleged war criminal

A senior army commander alleged to have committed war crimes have been promoted as the  chief administrative officer of the Sri Lankan military a day after the country's president vowed to safeguard the military from prosecution.

Major General Shavendra Silva who led a division implicated in war abuse by eye witness and human rights organisations including the UN has been appointed as the Adjutant General of the Sri Lanka army.

His appointment comes in the wake of President Maithripala Sirisena guaranteeing the safety of security forces personnel for their actions in the bloody war that claimed at least 70,000 civilian lives.

The UN has called for investigations with the participation of international judges into allegations against the Sri Lanka armed forces based on credible evidence.

'War heroes'

A day before the appointment of Major General Silva President Sirisena announced in public that he would not tolerate the military being investigated.

"I will not leave room for true War Heroes to face any accusations and will do everything possible to safeguard the dignity and respect of the armed forces,” said Sirisena.

The appointment of Silva was condemned by an international rights organisation as a slap in the face to tens of thousands of victims still waiting for justice eight years after the war ended.

Flouting UN commitments

The international truth and justice project slammed Sri Lanka for flouting UN commitments by appointing an alleged war criminal as the chief administrative officer of the Sri Lankan Army.

“This appointment coming just days after the Human Rights Council session ended in Geneva is an outrage and shows the Government is not serious about accountability or security sector reform,” said the ITJP’s Executive Director, Yasmin Sooka. “This is a man whom the former High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillai, said had, at the very, least a case to answer regarding international crimes”, she added.

In a statement from Johannesburg ITJP has detailed a few of the allegations levelled against Major General Shavendra Silva when he led the 58th Division during the final phase of the war.



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.