The Army has categorically refuted the statement made by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga over her allegations that there was widespread sexual exploitation by the army against Tamil women in the former war torn areas.
In a statement, the Army Headquarters said that it noted with ‘dismay’ on the utterance made by Kumaratunga, who is also the head of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation. “The Army categorically denies the same as a baseless allegation,” the statement said. The army has also warned that such ‘baseless’ assertions will only jeopardize the reconciliation process.
Last week, Kumaratunga said that Tamil women who survived the war were facing widespread sexual exploitation by the army, and others. “There is a lot of sexual abuse still going on by officials, even Tamil officials and even at lower levels, the grama sevakas (village officials),” she told Sri Lanka’s Foreign Correspondents’ Association. “Even to sign a document, they abuse the women and of course some people in the (armed) forces” continue to commit sexual abuse, she said.
However, the Army pointed out that in 2010, civil administration was firmly established in the North and the Army withdrew from all forms of civil administration. Since then, the Army has not been involved in administration concerning civilians, and the question of sexual exploitation and abuses during the said process does not hence arise. “Regrettably, the author of this statement has made unsubstantiated and baseless assertions without specifying any incident of sexual exploitation or abuse,” the statement said.
“The Army wishes to place on record that it has a Zero Tolerance Policy on sexual abuses as evidenced in Premawathi Manamperi case in 1971, Krishanthi Kumaraswamy case and Rajini Vellaydunpillai case that took place during the period 1995-2005. In all these instances, the Army fully cooperated with the civil court cases against the accused who were on trial, resulting in death penalty,” the statement said.
The statement also added that the Army always takes stern action on Army personnel against whom ex facie cases have been and discharged summarily from the Army despite acquittal/pending action in civil courts. “It shall continue to pursue this policy,” the statement added.