Ex-president Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother denounced Monday the UN human rights chief’s visit to Sri Lanka as a “big joke”, as the former regime stepped up opposition to a UN-backed war-crimes probe. The former regime are worried about killing of more than 40,000 Tamil Civilians in May 2009 will be exposed if UN backed War Crime probe takes place under International judges.
Former president Rajapakse and his brother, ex-defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, have signed a petition against the probe into allegations of 40,000 thousand Tamil civilian deaths during May 2009 of Sri Lanka’s separatist war.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein arrived on Saturday for a four-day visit to gauge the island’s progress in investigating war-time atrocities, before he delivers an assessment to the UN Human Rights Council in March.
Gotabhaya Rajapakse accused authorities of arranging for Zeid to meet only sympathisers of Tamil family members who’s family members were LTTE Leaders who had surrendered with White Flag (after UN negotiated the surrender) with their family members and killed by the Army. Some Army members accuse the Mahinda regim of ordering them to kill the surrendered members including 13 year old son of Prabaharan.
“He can’t come here for a day and expect to understand the situation. He is only meeting one side,” Gotabhaya, who was defence secretary during the war’s finale, told reporters in Colombo. “It is a big joke.”
Flanked by the ex-president, Gotabhaya repeated the former regime’s long standing position that no war crimes were committed by government troops in the final push.
After defeating Rajapakse at presidential elections a year ago, his successor Maithripala Sirisena agreed to investigate allegations troops killed up to 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final months.
He told local Tamil leaders on the Jaffna peninsula, which saw some of the worst fighting, that there should not be a general amnesty, but a swift legal process to deal with rebel detainees. “As a general principle it is not acceptable to grant amnesties to those convicted of the most serious crimes, war crimes or crimes against humanity (Sinhalese or Tamils).
More than 200 suspected Tamil political prisoners are in prison for more than 15 years, many without charge. Tamil political and civil society groups have long demanded their unconditional release, though the government has refused a blanket amnesty for Tamil political prisoners as Mahinda will use it as his trump ard to gain support among the sinhalese supporters who are turning against Rajapaksha family members due to ex-portion of corruption by them during Mahinda rule.