26 February, 2024


Say No To Fonseka: HRW

The Sri Lankan government’s appointment to parliament of the former army chief whose forces were implicated in widespread abuses contradicts pledges to investigate alleged war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 9, 2016, the United National Party of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to parliament as a national list member for a seat vacated by the death of an incumbent.



Fonseka was the commander of the Sri Lankan Army from December 2005 until the defeat of the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009. During the final months of the fighting, Sri Lankan forces under Fonseka’s command were implicated in numerous instances of unlawful shelling of civilians and hospitals, rape and other sexual violence, and the summary execution of prisoners. The government’s failure to prosecute those responsible for serious crimes led to an October 2015 United Nations Human Rights Council resolution calling for justice and accountability, which the Sri Lanka government co-sponsored.

“Fonseka’s appointment signals that the government may protect senior military leaders suspected of widespread abuses,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The government should meaningfully demonstrate to the Sri Lankan people and the UN that it’s serious about accountability and not on the road to a whitewash.”

After the end of the war, Fonseka challenged then-President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2010 presidential elections. Following his defeat he was briefly jailed by Rajapaksa on spurious charges. In March 2015 President Maithripala Sirisena gave Fonseka a full pardon for his criminal conviction and then promoted him to the rank of field marshal, making him the first Sri Lankan army officer to hold that title.

The Sirisena government has previously sought to protect and promote military commanders implicated in wartime atrocities. In May 2015 Maj. Gen. Jagath Dias, who led the army’s 57th Division during the last two years of the war, was promoted to chief of army staff, one of the armed services’ highest posts. The 57th Division took part in the abusive fighting against the remaining LTTE forces on a small stretch of beach in Mullaitivu district during the final days of the war. Human Rights Watch documented the indiscriminate shelling of civilians and hospitals by government forces in the region where the 57th Division was deployed.

“Fonseka’s appointment is a breach of trust for victims and families who believed in this government’s commitment to deliver justice for war crimes,” Adams said.

Fonseka’s appointment was announced the day that President Sirisena met with the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and renewed his commitment to justice and accountability for wartime abuses. Under UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1, adopted on October 1, 2015, Sri Lanka agreed to establish various mechanisms with the assistance of the international community to deliver justice, reconciliation, and respect for human rights. Sirisena has recently elicited concerns about his commitment to justice by saying that it would not be possible to include foreign judges and prosecutors in a justice mechanism, a key component of the resolution.

“President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe are sending worrying signals on accountability at a time when they should be presenting themselves as leaders determined to achieve justice for all Sri Lankans,” Adams said. “By giving Fonseka a seat in parliament and the highest military rank, they threaten the goodwill their government has generated since coming to power.”

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Latest comments

  • 9

    What was the voting pattern in the 2010 presidential elections ? I mean among religious majority, religious minorities and racial minorities.

    I sincerely believe these information will enlighten the Srilankan citizens to think wisely and put pressure on the government to take the right steps and go forward. In this respect SF also can play a statesman role . No need to be beholden to any party leaders.

    • 1

      There was uniqueness about the way Tamils voted in 2010. The real villains were sharply identified with great discernment. The time is now for law to take its course.

      Sentiment against SF comes from the guilty. It is similar to King Charles’s dread of Cromwell in far off England centuries back. The very thought of an inquisition is fearful and the country is witness to it now.

  • 7

    This government is under pressure to flout its own promise via the UNHCR resolution formulated and proposed by this government itself, and passed by a majority, to investigate the conduct of the war by its own armed forces, by a ‘hybrid’ court – which, it is feared, will uncover the truth.

    Promotion and appointment as MP of the ex-army chief negates this promise.

    Can the people trust this regime any longer.

    • 11

      Gamarala betrayed his own Boss for power and position. Sirisena is a liar, cheat and fraud. He should never be trusted.

      • 2

        Sirisena is the most normal president who is not greedy at power as had been other presidents sofar. See under his office only, we could get 19AMD that opened all independent commissions to function.

        Just becase god allowe you an orifice, please dont abuse it the way you have been. Not many that made itthe reality driving away Rajapakshes and the criminals home – the social media supporting youth 1 million voters – will never hail to your opinion. Rajapakshe deserve jail sessions BASTA

        Regardless of the status, each and everyone is subjected to face investigations. If it is me or you or others play not a role here, everyone should NOT be go beyond the LAW of the country.

  • 6

    M.S and R.W are much worse than the previous government. The entire emphasis of Yahapalanaya is to show the Western world that they are democratic. They say the right things to the Western govts and try to a good report card.They have no intention of accountability or reconciliation.

    • 3

      Well said, Razeed! Bankrupt Yahapalana stooges have nothing but to scream “racists”! :)

  • 1

    Just because traitor gota told international media that the army bombed a hospital you cannot draw conclusions as the tigers resorted to such tactics
    Similar to how foreign armies have recognized Fonseka and SL for their infantry innovations that actually reduced civilian casualties, HRW need to be recognize that and concentrate on the heinous crimes comited in the middle east
    You must think before you talk, Tamils voted enmass for Fonseka

  • 4

    HRW doesn’t like the Field Marshal! Not surprising since he defeated terrorism. Now there is no carrion for the vultures.

  • 4

    Bloody terrorists in HRW camouflages at it again. Hope he will deal with these vultures too the same way he dealt with Tin God

    • 2


      “Hope he will deal with these vultures too the same way he dealt with Tin God”

      Is that why Sri Lankan Air Force is planning to buy jet fighters from Hindia/Pakistan?

      If true Sri Lankan Air Force also need to purchase aircrafts used for aerial refueling.

      Here is list of tanker aircrafts:

      Airbus A310 MRTT
      KC-135E Stratotanker
      McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extende
      Boeing KC-767

      These flying tankers cost $350 million a piece.

      • 1

        Yanney koheda malley pol!

        • 2


          “Yanney koheda malley pol!”

          I am only trying to help you planning the entire operation to have him “deal with these vultures too the same way he dealt with Tin God”.

          Whats wrong with it?

    • 0

      Just get rid of Tamils.

      that willbe the only solution.

      Just Destroy Tamils slowly.

      • 14

        I strongly oppose such shameful racist talk. It is not constitutional. You are giving Sri Lanka a bad name.

        Besides, that will mean getting rid of the opposition. Do you want that?

      • 12


        Shame on you ugly man with a pea sized brain for your statement “just destroy the tamils slowly”.
        In the end you will be the one to be destroyed slowly.
        Its a pity your beautifull country has ugly people like you.
        Sri lankans are nice, welcoming people with huge amounts of hospitality in them but UGLY persons like with your crude statements wipes away those good features.

        Peace will return to your beautifull land only when pea sized, brain under developed, ugly, crude, unrefined, illiterate, uneducated, half starved, sleepless, morons like you are destroyed slowly. This is the only solution.

        Look at yourself in the mirror if you have one and compare yourself to all the other good mannered Sri lankan people.

        You would have done well, very well in Adolf Hitler’s death squads if you were born at that time and finally ended up with the hangmans noose around your neck with no mercy.

        May Sri Lanka and all Sri lankans be blessed with eternal peace and harmony and you too, you small ugly WANKER.

  • 0

    As the fleet with the AF is due for renewal with the Use Before date is
    up, under the present economic conditions, should not the AF lie low with replacements/ purchases till there is a visible turn around? The
    use of war-fare planes is not a pressing need today, whilst emergency
    support from India will be readily available?

  • 17

    Sarath Fonseka has ruined his self esteem by putting his hand into the stinking cesspit of politics. The man should have accepted his promotion and bowed out out of the army in very graceful manner.
    He would have been on the same level as FM’s like Erwin Rommel, Montgomery, Sam Manekshaw, KM Cariappa, Ayub Khan, Georgy Zhukov, etc.
    These men were a few gentlemen amongst the many who were not.
    Its too late now for him to clean up his identity and if he does its going to be a very hard job.
    It would have been a sense of pride for all Sri Lankans to say “we have career soldier who has brought us honour, pride and peace.”
    Thats all now at the bottom of the sewage pit of politics.

    • 3

      Sad but true

      “He would have been on the same level as FM’s like Erwin Rommel, Montgomery, Sam Manekshaw, KM Cariappa, Ayub Khan, Georgy Zhukov, etc.”

      Are you sure you know about all these Marshall.

      Montgomery considered a petty dictator who never had good word to say about other successful military officers.

      Ayub Khan was the self appointed Field Marshall.

      Erwin Rommel was fighting for Hitlers lost war but Hitler ordered his Gestapo to kill him.

      • 18

        Poor little man you have know idea what you are talking about.
        You are a typical native veddah with the same crude, vulgar, notions of all Sri lankan politicos.
        We thought that native veddahs no longer existed in beautifull sri lanka but alas one stupid, brainless, uneducated, cultureless, one eyed, specimen out of the good lot does still exist.
        The few genuine veddahs that do exist in your beautifull land must be more far sighted than you. If they know that you exist they will be ashamed and distance themselves from you.
        Pity, pity, poor little man brainless man for Sri lankans are hospitable, kind, friendly, bubbly, people and a specimen like you amongst them sours the whole community.
        Your land is a lovely country but a black spot on the wall like you spoils the scenery.

  • 3

    Organizations like The HRW are very good and I suppose serve a purpose. But where they fail is that they go after the “small and helpless” amongst the Community of Nations”. Just look at the mass, indiscriminate killings of innocent civilians by NATO and Russian bombing in Syria and other parts of the Middle East. CNN, BBC are full of these reports but this HRW is mum on those. That is the irony and that is why as long as this distinction is made, the masses in countries like Sri Lanka will not take serious note of these reports. What was it that caused the fabric of the Middle East over the last fifteen years??!! Why is there a mass exodus of desperate refugees out of the M.E into Europe etc? And what is the UN and HRW doing about these events!!!??? That is how lop-sided these employees of organizations like the Red Cross, HRW, U.N sponsored organizations are.

  • 12

    Fonseka is an army man who must not get into politics.

    • 1

      What about Eisenhower, one of the greatest Presidents of the U.S., Churchill, who served in the 11st World War and the Boer War, egt?. The armed forces teach discipline, diligence, and many other practical things which plain politicians just lack. Agree, if there is a specific charge, then investigate that but we must never haphazardly the experience of SF

      • 2


        “Churchill, who served in the 11st World War and the Boer War,”

        Jewish descendant, a racist, a drunkard, who called Gandhi the half naked fakir, refused to consider independence for India on the basis that Indians were uncivilised.

        He advocated Chemical attack on Arabs, particularly in Iraq (Tikrit):

        In 1920 Churchill advocated the use of chemical weapons on the “uncooperative Arabs” involved in the Iraqi revolution against British rule.

        “I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas,” he declared. “I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes. It would spread a lively terror.


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