GR rejects testimony attributed to unnamed Gen.

Reveals US attempt to bribe serving officer


by Shamindra Ferdinando

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that none of the Majors General directly involved in eelam war IV had made a testimony to any US lawyer, in New York in 2010, alleging extrajudicial killings of civilians, surrendering LTTE cadres and dissident journalists during eelam war IV.

"Those directly involved in the campaign are still in service. They’ll never betray the country for personal benefit,"

Defence Secretary Rajapaksa told The Island.

He was responding to a report by Emmanuel Stoakes posted on on Sunday (Jan.29).

The Defence Secretary said that the government expected more anti-Sri Lanka propaganda in the run-up to UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva late Feb-March 2012.

Citing testimony of a former General, recorded in an affidavit, the report captioned ‘Sri Lankan General admits war crimes; US may hold crucial supporting evidence’, claimed that the military officer had backed war crimes allegations made by human rights watchdogs. Claiming that the officer had been extremely well-placed to comment on military activity during the war as he held high-level security clearance and access to the flow of orders during the final days of the conflict, the website declined to name the officer for reasons of safety.

Asked whether any senior officers had been punished since the conclusion of the conflict, Rajapaksa said that several had been removed on disciplinary grounds, though none of them were directly involved in the campaign.

Anyone claiming to have access to secret directives, which led to alleged extrajudicial killings, may have operated outside normal chain of command, thereby being responsible for their actions, the official said.

The Defence Secretary likened the decision to conceal the identity of the person who had made the testimony to a US lawyer to that of the UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts (PoE) recommendation to an unprecedented 20-year embargo on both written and oral material in its hands pertaining to alleged war crimes committed by GoSL troops.

The Defence Secretary said the bottom line was that a section of the international community was making an attempt to build a case against Sri Lanka on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations made by anonymous men. He stressed that no country could be penalised on the basis of accusations made by faceless men.

The Defence Secretary recalled how the US Embassy in Colombo had made an abortive bid to bribe one-time media spokesman Maj. Gen. Prasad Samarasinghe to make allegations against Sri Lanka. The diplomat, who had made the move after the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009 offered to accommodate Maj. Gen. Samarasinghe and his family in the US. Had they possessed indisputable evidence against Sri Lanka, the US Embassy here wouldn’t have tried to use a serving officer to support their sordid operation, the Defence Secretary asserted.  

The Defence Secretary said that the ongoing efforts to bring to the fore a so-called affidavit should be examined in the context of an attempt to employ a serving officer against Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa said that those accusing the Sri Lankan military of executing LTTE cadres during the final phase of the conflict had conveniently forgotten that of nearly 12,000 personnel in custody over 11,000 had been reunited with their families following rehabilitation. As the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) had access to detainees, had there been executions, it would have come out, he said, adding that the ICRC, too, was allowed to evict those wounded on the Vanni east front.

The Defence Secretary said that unlike allegations made against Sri Lanka by anonymous persons, posted an article captioned ‘Afghan judges accuse US of war crimes’ as an article related to the piece on Sri Lanka.

The writer, David Swanson, quoted a judge visiting the US to learn legal and political system as having said, "The United States tells other countries how to be democratic and operate within a rule of law, but the United States as role model breaks every one of those things."

A second judge was quoted as having said, "US Constitution speaks of freedom and a people’s government but the United States is running secret prisons, torturing, disappearing people, and locking people up for years with no due process."  The behaviour of the United States, she said, violates everything that she and her colleagues were being taught that the United States stands for.  "It may seem trivial," she continued, "but it affects our daily lives." If a member of the international occupying forces gets into a hit and run with their car, and you go to the base to complain, you are threatened. They have total immunity from any rule of law, she explained.

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