‘War crimes charges made against troops unfairly’

Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Amal Karunasekara yesterday said that attempts were being made to hold officers and men of fighting formations deployed on the Vanni front accountable for alleged war crimes committed during the eelam war IV.

Maj. Gen. Karunasekara said so when he was asked on Sirasa ‘Pathikada’ to explain measures taken by the SLA to address alleged accountability issues.

The previous government brought the war to a successful conclusion in May 2009.

Maj. Gen. Karunasekara said fighting formations had been penalised on the basis of their deployment for the Vanni offensive.

In addition to those who had commanded fighting formations, war winning Army Chief the then Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka was repeatedly denied a US visa. Last month US deprived Field Marshal Fonseka an opportunity to join government delegation to UNGA.

Australia recently denied Maj. Gen. Chagi Gallage a visa for commanding 59 Division towards the end of its mission.

The Chief of Staff explained post-war national reconciliation efforts undertaken by the SLA in the Northern and Eastern areas.

Military sources told The Island that several countries had taken punitive measures against selected officers on the basis of a controversial UN investigation carried out during the tail end of the Rajapaksa administration. Sources said security sector reforms, too, had been recommended also on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations.

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