Sri Lanka army chief says no mercy for murderers in military

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s new army chief Mahesh Senanayake Friday vowed he will not protect any "murderers" in the military trying to take the cover of war heroes to avoid prosecution.

In the clearest distinction between war heroes and murderes, the army chief said he will not allow criminal elements taking the cover of war heroes to tanish the image of the security forces.

"During the war, or thereafter, if anyone has used the military uniform and committed any offence, he is not a war hero. It is such people who claim that war heroes are being hounded.

"Those who fought the war will not be punished. Not a single soldier who fought bravely has been punished, nor will they be allowed to be penalised because we have not committed any offences," he said.

The army chief was speaking to reporters after worshipping at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy and calling on the chief priests of the two main chapters there.

"Even if I have done something wrong, I must be punished. I want to say, there is a difference between ‘mini maruwa’ (murderer)  and ‘rana viruwa’ (war hero). The people should know the difference, especially the military.

"If a rana viruwa has become a mini maruwa, he must be punished," he stressed.

His comments were at odds with members of the former Mahinda Rajapaksa administration which is accusing the current government of trying to prosecute those accused of committing atrocities while crushing the Tamil Tigers.

Several courts have been told that military intelligence personnel and senior army and navy officers had carried out politically-motivated assassinations and abductions during Rajapaksa’s regime.

Former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has been implicated in the killing of Sunday Leader chief editor Lasantha Wickramatunga and attack on journalist Keith Noyahr. Rajapaksa has denied involvement.





Army Chief Senanayake made it clear that security personnel had no special immunity.

"We are subject to both the penal code and the military law," he said. "Therefore we have to be a highly disciplined force." (COLOMBO, Aug 4, 2017)


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