6 July, 2020

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Justice Undone For Massacre Victims – Presidential Pardon Shows Rajapaksa’s Indifference To Army Atrocities: HRW

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s pardon of a soldier convicted of massacring eight civilians, including children, shows the administration’s disregard for justice for the worst abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. The conviction of former Sgt. Sunil Ratnayake had been one of the very few cases of security force personnel being criminally punished for civil war-era atrocities, despite the huge number of credible and extremely serious allegations.

Ratnayake, who was pardoned on March 26, 2020, was found guilty in 2015 of killing eight civilians, including a 5-year-old, at Mirusuvil, in northern Sri Lanka, in 2000. The bodies of the victims showed signs of torture. The conviction had been upheld by Sri Lanka’s court of appeal.

“The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government couldn’t make it any plainer to victims and their families that it opposes any form of justice for even the worst atrocities,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director. “Concerned governments need to take the government’s own message on board and respond appropriately to uphold basic human rights protections and prohibitions on war crimes.”

Both government forces and the successionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were implicated in numerous abuses during the conflict, which ended with the LTTE’s defeat in 2009. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was defence secretary during the final stages of the civil war, when the United Nations has found that tens of thousands of civilians were killed, hospitals were shelled, and prisoners were summarily executed. He came to office as president in 2019, promising to release “war heroes” who had been imprisoned on “false” charges.

“The Presidential pardon is an affront to victims and yet another example of the failure of Sri Lanka to fulfil its international human rights obligations to provide meaningful accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other gross violations of human rights,” noted a statement from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Pardoning one of the sole convicted perpetrators of atrocities committed during the Sri Lankan conflict further undermines the limited progress the country has made towards ending impunity for mass human rights abuse.”

Since taking office, President Rajapaksa appointed army chief Shavendra Silva, who faces credible allegations of war crimes, as his chief of defence staff. In February, Silva was banned from entering the United States due to the allegations against him. Rajapaksa has also appointed retired general Kamal Gunaratne, who is implicated in alleged war crimes committed by the army’s 53 Division, which he commanded, as defence secretary. Gunaratne is currently leading the government’s task force to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February, the Sri Lankan government withdrew from its commitments under a UN Human Rights Council resolution that included provisions for justice for abuses committed by both sides during the civil war. That resolution, which was passed by consensus in 2015 and reaffirmed as recently as 2019, represented the commitment of UN member states and their strategy for upholding international human rights and humanitarian law for civil war-era violations.

“The Rajapaksa government has appointed alleged perpetrators of war crimes to high office while pardoning one of the few soldiers convicted for a terrible offense,” Ganguly said. “It should be clear that to deliver justice for victims and to deter future atrocities, an international justice mechanism is needed in Sri Lanka.” (HRW)

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Latest comments

  • 8
    1

    Majority of Buddhist Sinhala elected a cold hearted murderer as their president. So, it is a disgrace to Civilisation and Buddhism in this island.

    • 9
      0

      There is a saying in sinhala vernacular – if you ONCE fell in a pit on daylight, you would not let you fall again at night. Rajapakshes and their abusive political intoxications have raped the average mentality of this nation. We are sorry to see that people are misled by even tiny tricks being played on this for the power gains of the vicious and mlechcha politicians such as Mahinda Jarapakashe.

  • 7
    2

    these are criminally insane Sinhala war criminals mentally retarded murdered many an innocent psychopath who is only intent on trying to provoke the decent folks and the similar world to challenge and bring ridicule to the peace-loving folks.
    =
    as I have clearly stated before the Sinhalese are the only buggers who have been born with the thought they are the Lord Buddha’s gift to humanity.
    what a joke.?
    =
    as for me they most of them are mentally deranged petty racist psychologically inferior human devil beasts whose only purpose in life is to maim, kill and skin the innocents including the children.
    =
    now that 6.9 million yaks have stupidly voted a kallathoni murderer into becoming the no.1 sadistic parasite better to be destroyed mad rabid pariah legitimate father not known cheap swollen-headed bastard who is not without any knowledge of any civic governmental issues will now make this beleaguered bankrupt begging bowl carrying isle the most bankrupt state on this wonderful planet.?
    =
    the rajapuka clan is Lord Buddha’s cursed gift to sad sorry Lanka and the whole wide world.
    =
    may they the pariah crims who belong to the rajapuka clan become an undesirable mad dog species as quickly as possible. R. J.

  • 8
    1

    It is a waste of time barking at trees. World community: please do come to your proper senses and do something practical like banning those who do not understand what rule of law means from the world forum.

  • 8
    0

    We perfectly know their nature … We know how cruel they had been prior to 2015. We know how our basic human rights were jeopardised. How the average people were treated in the aftermath of post civil war. How some journos and prisoners were attacked even aducted and guned down. The numbers are much less than that of Dutertes drug addicts, but the style is not known to srilanken politics in the past. Paradoxially, Rajakshes and their henchmen seem to be tolerating drug trafficking kin pins, in Negambo and colombo. Nimal Lansa a main key person to have spread drugs within Negambo are placed above the law. Kudu Duminda who is now a convicted multi murderer – as a prisoner… spend his punishments as others would do. But this man, though a multi criminal, was a dieheard man of Rajaksahe criminal family. That is the reason, for kudu dhumida s brother and their media institution to spread anything even high crimes milder if it comes from Rajakshes.
    The country and people should go on marches day long if Kudu dhuminda would be released from the prison next days. His brother is a kin pin of media mafia net works within local main stream media handlings. Ground level people are not known the gravity of problems since the two ABUSIVE TV senders that work diehard for Rajakshes popularity, have their back thoughts to get things done by Rajaskehs as a repay.
    People in this country – innocient masses are fed with UNTRUTHs for the political survival of Rajakshes BPs. In the days to come, this country would turn out to be a RAJAPAKSHE mafia country similar to that of LATE Mugabe style autohritarian govt – again going back to the days as it was prior to 2015.
    Today american citizen BASIL rajakshe rules here. There is no resistance against them, because the MEDIA MEN and key people are bribed by the BILLIONS of black money robbed by Rajakshe siblings.

  • 0
    5

    What is good for the Goose why not for the Gander.
    Simon De Silva, our basic Human Rights are tramples by those very Nations who portray themselves as promoters of Human Rights.
    So, what is your problem? What is Human Rights?
    You fund me, I too will promote Human Rights to your satisfaction.
    Do you have a personal problem with the Rajafuckshes?? You settle it outside elsewhere and not at the expense of HUMAN RIGHTS.
    ALL HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, BRIBINGS ALL DONE BY THE RAJAPAKSHES AND NO ONE ELSE.
    As long as America blocks the Intl. Criminal calling it a political biased group and prevent them intestigation of a 180 page report on American atrocities in Afganistan & protecting their Allies,
    Human Rights is a sham word, how could be Justice undone SILVA ??
    To JOHNPILLAI… othern than U, I do not see any decent folks in this World out there.
    COVID 19 has SURFACED to CONQUEROR THE CONQUERORS & BULLIES AND FAKE HUMAN RIGHTS AVOCATES IN THE WORLD.

  • 5
    1

    Only a COLD BLOODED MASS MURDERER CAN PARDON ANOTHER COLD BLOODED MASS MURDERER!

  • 4
    1

    These Rajapaksa lowlifes have overseen and ensured the tarnishing of the Buddhist clergy and the Sri Lankan military, by protecting bad eggs and criminals within the ranks of the above mentioned, and also directly through their use of these elements to carry out their crimes

    The Rajapakse clan is an utterly disgusting mafia family that has singlehandedly corrputed the psyche of Sri Lanka.

    Ugly racist Rajapakse apologists on this forum like Eagle Eye and S.C. Pasqual, take note…

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