- Iditarod becomes mad dash for Nome
- ‘Burger King baby’ now seeks birth mom on Facebook
- Study: 2 percent of Americans have new hips, knees
- Friend: Pistorius shot gun out car without warning
- States wrestle with developing, restricting drones
- Japan marks 3rd anniversary of tsunami disasters
- Ukraine’s Crimea seeks to become independent state
- Ex-Gov. Christie aides to judge: Quash subpoenas
- Rich Peverley collapses on Dallas Stars bench; game postponed
- Al Sharpton, Trayvon Martin’s parents rally against Fla. ‘stand your ground’ law
Sri Lankan war crimes suspect gets post as representative to U.N.
Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva’s presence in New York coincides with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon setting up a panel of experts to advise him on accountability for human rights violations during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka.
In an interview with theSunday Leader newspaperlate last year, Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the Sri Lankan army chief who led a campaign that ended more than two decades of conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009, said Defense Secretary Gothbaya Rajapaksa gave Gen. Silva orders “not to accommodate any LTTE leaders attempting surrender and that ‘they must all be killed.’”
Gen. Silva denies the allegations.
In a phone interview from London, Mr. Keenan said it appeared to be more than a coincidence that Gen. Silva would be appointed to the mission in New York at the same time as Mr. Ban set up the panel of experts.
“So it seems fair to assume that he is trying to influence it, which is the right of the Sri Lankan government. But I think that is disturbing that someone who himself was involved in the very incidents that the U.N. has begun looking into should have any chance to influence the panel’s operations,” Mr. Keenan said.
Reports, including some received by the U.S. Embassy in Colombo and confirmed by Gen. Fonseka, document an incident on May 18, 2009, in which three LTTE leaders tried to surrender with their families while holding white flags. According to a Tamil eyewitness, Sri Lankan troops opened fire on the group. Everyone was killed.
“Because of the [Sri Lankan] government’s failure to seriously investigate laws of war violations during the fighting, this alleged incident should be part of an international investigation,” said James Ross, legal and policy director at Human Rights Watch.
Jan Jananayagam, a U.K.-based member of TAG, while declining to identify the officer over concern for his safety, said the officer told her group the army’s field commanders received oral orders from the defense secretary in the last months of the battle.
“I, being a disciplined and professionally trained military officer, who respects and believes in human rights and has a thorough knowledge on humanitarian law, have never given any instructions under my command relating to the execution of LTTE leaders, or anyone else,” Gen. Silva said in a written response to questions from The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Minister sees breakthrough 'in months' for long-split Cyprus
- Russia's neighbors shiver amid Putin's Cold War moves in Ukraine
- Israelis had U.S. help in intercepting Iranian missile shipment to Palestine
- Obama warns U.S. may retaliate against Russia with economic sanctions
- Spread of brutal Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram alarms U.S.
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- FCC targets black conservative in TV station fight
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Redskins free agency: 5 positions to watch
- EDITORIAL: Senate Democrats pointless all-night global warming talkathon
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- CPAC 2014: Despite Ben Carson's speech, gay marriage mostly took a back seat at CPAC
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again