Defence Ministry Secretary Hemasiri Fernando said 11 soldiers would be prosecuted in the next two weeks over what he termed the most heinous murders in recent history.
Addressing an event at Nalanda College, Colombo, Fernando asked the members of the Tamil diaspora to present evidence, if available, against any Sri Lankan soldier involved in potential war crimes.
“Everyone who joins the Army does not become a war hero. To become a war hero, a soldier has to earn a medal and their accomplishments should be announced by way of a gazette. As of now, there are only 39,000 war heroes in Sri Lanka. Of them, 34,000 belong to the Army. Nearly 4400 represent the Navy and 868 belong to the Air Force. A soldier who joined the Army just three months ago is not a war hero,” Fernando explained.
“Especially a murderer cannot become a war hero. He is only a murderer,” he said.
He also said most of the licensed pistols are not with the rightful owners. “The majority are with underworld gangs and they pay a commission to the ones who own the license,” he added.
“Therefore, we have begun a regulation process for licensed pistols. We have, for the moment, cancelled all licenses for pistols. The Defence Ministry will examine these pistols one by one and issue licenses,” Fernando said.