Punish perpetrators of war crimes, atrocities – NGO pack

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Collective of Civil Society Organizations has urged the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration to inquire into war crimes allegations in accordance with Geneva Resolution 30/1 co-sponsored by the government.

Addressing the media at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR), Maradana on Tuesday (April 18), Akalanka Hettiarachchi (Aluth Parapura) emphasized that all those who had perpetrated crimes during the war and post-conflict should be dealt forthwith.

The military brought the war to a successful conclusion in May 2009. Sri Lanka co-sponsored Geneva Resolution in Oct 2015. Last month, Sri Lanka co-sponsored another resolution reiterating her commitment to the 2015 resolution. On the basis of Sri Lanka’s commitment, Geneva granted time till March 2019 to fully implement the 2015 resolution.

Hettiarachchi accused National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa and Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya leader Udaya Gammampila of shielding those in uniform allegedly responsible for atrocities.

The NGO activist warned of dire consequences unless the country addressed accountability issues.

Referring to international media reports pertaining to allegations directed at Sri Lankan troops deployed in the Caribbean island Haiti, Hettiarachchi emphasized that it was the responsibility of the government to protect Sri Lanka’s image by probing those who had been accused of human rights violations here or during overseas deployment under UN command. Hettiarachchi alleged that some members of the Sri Lankan contingent had been also accused of child abuse during Haiti deployment.

Hettiarachchi dismissed nationalist groups’ assertions excesses hadn’t been committed during the conflict therefore there was no basis for both local and international calls for investigations.

The activist pointed out that media personality Prageeth Ekneligoda had been missing since January 2010. Commenting on a spate of high profile investigations undertaken by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) since the change of government in January 2015, Hettiarachchi underscored that scores of Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) personnel had been arrested, remanded and released on bail.

The Aluth Parapura spokesperson said that the civil society had been demanding proper investigation into war crimes accusations. Hettiarachchi expressed concern over the failure on the part of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government to address accountability issues, swiftly and decisively.

The NGO insisted that those who had been accused of excesses couldn’t be given impunity on the basis of military victory over the LTTE.

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