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Rajapaksa, Fonseka guilty of war crimes in Sri Lanka: WikiLeaks

Source: PTI
December 02, 2010 23:07 IST
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Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his former army chief Sarath Fonseka were responsible for alleged war crimes and killing of Tamil civilians during the last phase of the 30-year-old civil war, according to a secret United States cable made public by WikiLeaks.

Seven months after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels were decimated, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia A Butenis, in a secret communication to the US government, said that the responsibility for the killing of innocent civilians rests with Rajapaksa, his brothers and Fonseka.

The secret cable, written by Butenis on January 15, 2010, was released on Wednesday by WikiLeaks, a whistle blower website.

The US, which has called the release of all such cable as illegal and an act of crime, has neither confirmed or denied the authenticity of these cables, which number more than 250,000.

"There are no examples we know of a regime undertaking wholesale investigations of its own troops or senior officials for war crimes while that regime or government remained in power. In Sri Lanka this is further complicated by the fact that responsibility for many of the alleged crimes rests with the country's senior civilian and military leadership, including President Rajapaksa and his brothers and opposition candidate General Fonseka," the cable says.

The cable was written 11 days before the presidential elections in Sri Lanka in which Rajapaksa was challenged by his former army chief.

Rajapaksa, his brothers, two of whom are part of the government, and Fonseka are alleged to have committed war crimes during the last phase of the 30-year-old civil war.

Many human rights organisations have demanded action against them. The cable says Rajapaksa named a committee to make recommendations to him on the 'US incidents report' by April 2010 and candidate Fonseka has discussed privately the formation of some form of "truth and reconciliation" commission. "Otherwise, accountability has not been a high-profile issue -- including for Tamils in Sri Lanka," it said.

While Tamils have told the US that they would like to see some form of accountability, they have been pragmatic in what they can expect and have focused instead on securing greater rights and freedoms, resolving the IDP question, and improving economic prospects in the war-ravaged and former LTTE-occupied areas, the cable said.


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