SL concerned about ‘Leahy Law’ being used against senior military officers

US-Sri Lanka ties

By Shamindra Ferdinando

An attempt was being made to deprive senior Sri Lankan military officers of an opportunity to follow top level command courses in the US on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations, authoritative government sources alleged.

They said that the government was aware of moves to reject senior military personnel citing the ‘Leahy Law,’ which prohibited US military assistance to foreign military formations that violate human rights.

Known by the name of its principal sponsor, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the provision could be used as a legal tool to bar senior Sri Lankan military personnel, defence sources said.

Asked whether the government was under pressure to name only those acceptable to the US, sources said that respective service commands were responsible for choosing the best possible candidate for the available courses.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Thursday said that he would take up the issue with visiting US delegation over the weekend. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Moore, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Vikram Singh, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jane Zimmerman are scheduled to visit Colombo and Male from today till Feb. 1.

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