Sri Lanka denies war-general diplomat fled Brazil

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Wednesday denied its former army chief and ambassador to Brazil, Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya, had fled after war crimes charges were  brought against him in two Latin American states.

The foreign ministry said the retired general completed his two-year term at about the same time an international human rights group filed action against him in the courts of Brazil and Colombia on Monday.

"He has completed his tenure as Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Brazil and has left," a ministry official said. "He is due to arrive in Sri Lanka today. He has not fled."

The South Africa-based International Truth and Justice Project had petitioned against Jayasuriya accusing him of overseeing torture camps and of command responsibility for extra judicial executions and hundreds of disappearances.

The ITJP said in a statement that Jayasuriya was based at a camp in the northern district of Vavuniya during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s Tamil separatist war which ended in May 2009.

"The ITJP has collected testimony from 14 survivors of torture and/or sexual violence in this camp that occurred while general Jayasuriya was in command of the site," the organisation said.

Sri Lanka’s military spokesman Roshan Seneviratne told reporters in Colombo that allegations against Jayasuriya were false.

"These allegations keep coming up from time to time, but there is no truth in them," Seneviratne said.

Sri Lanka opposes any international investigation into its conduct of the war against separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, but the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena has agreed to a domestic inquiry into alleged excesses.

However, no investigations into war crimes have begun.





International rights groups have said that at least 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed by security forces while crushing Tamil Tiger rebels in the final months of the war.

Tiger rebels have also been accused of using human shields and killing civilians. (COLOMBO, August 30, 2017)

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