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Sri Lanka’s Fonseka drops war crimes bomb shell

ECONOMYNEXT – Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka dropped a bombshell by accusing his successor general Jagath Jayasuriya of committing war crimes as accused by a South Africa-based human rights group.

Fonseka told reporters summoned to his office at Rajagiriya today that he was aware of "crimes committed on suspects" by Jayasuriya when he was placed in charge of logistics and supplies during the final phase of the war.

Fonseka, who is credited with leading the war effort, said he received complaints that Jayasuriya was "committing crimes on suspects arrested and held in detention."

"I know he committed crimes. I have details and I’m ready to come forward and testify before a proper investigation," Fonseka said.

The allegation from Fonseka came as Jayasuriya returned home after the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) petitioned court against him in Brazil and Colombia. Jayasuriya was accredited as ambassador to those two countries, as well as several others in Latin America.

Two days after the court action, Jayasuriya left for Sri Lanka, but the foreign ministry in Colombo said he returned after completing a two-year term. However, his replacement has not been announced yet.

The rights group accused Jayasuriya of overseeing torture and of commanding responsibility for extra judicial executions and hundreds of disappearances. They also wanted both Brazil and Colombia to revoke his diplomatic immunity.

The ITJP said Jayasuriya was based in Vavuniya and committed torture.

Fonseka said he was ready to testify against Jayasuriya who was not immediately available for comment.

"As I started an investigation, the then rulers removed me as army commander. I initiated an inquiry and arrested his (Jayasuriya’s) ADC. But, I was not allowed to complete that investigation," Fonseka said. "I have a lot of information."





Fonseka said he was aware that Jayasuriya was committing "crimes" during and after the end of the war.

However, military spokesman Roshan Seneviratne told reporters on Wednesday that the allegations against retired general Jayasuriya were false.

Mahinda Rajapaksa jailed Fonseka for two and a half years for engaging in politics while in uniform. However, the new government cleared him of all charges. He was also made a field marshall and is currently the minister in charge of regional development.

Fonseka insisted on Friday that he did not allow any violations of international humanitarian law, but he was seeking an independent investigation to clear the name of the military and punish any who violated his orders. (COLOMBO, Sept 1, 2017)

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