Army Commander Sarath Fonseka last week accused the LTTE of provoking the military into committing `involuntary violations` of international humanitarian law and human rights.
He also pointed out that soldiers perform their duties in hostile environments and must, therefore, respond by instinct to any given situation. `In action, they do not need an instruction booklet on the use of their weapons,` he said. `Such reflexes are achieved only through intensive training and the constant repetition of tactical exercises in accordance with the law of armed conflict and the principles of human rights.`
The army commander was inaugurating a seminar on `Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law for Battalion Commanders`, organized by the Institute of Human Rights and ICRC.
`It is clear that the LTTE is implementing their strategy to provoke the military to commit involuntary international humanitarian law and human rights violations, ` Fonseka said, `and thereby tarnish the image of the armed forces in order to obtain international support to promote their case of a separate state.`
Fonseka said it was the duty of the armed forces to `exercise restraint under provocation and successfully foil the trap laid by the LTTE, by respecting and protecting international humanitarian law and human rights principles`.
`We are honour-bound to ensure that whatever action taken in the performance of our duties does not in any manner bring disrepute to the army as well as our country.`
The commander told battalion commanders attending the seminar that men under their control must be trained to adhere strictly to the rules of engagement. The human rights of every law-abiding citizen should be protected while `doing everything possible to eliminate terrorism`.