21 October, 2021


Some Sri Lankan Leaders Were “Hiding Their Faces” Over The Conduct Of The War – SF Told BBC

Sri Lanka must co-operate with any international investigation into alleged war crimes, ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka has told the BBC, a day after his release from jail.He said some Sri Lankan leaders were “hiding their faces” over the conduct of the war, as if they were guilty.


But Mr Fonseka, who led the army to its 2009 victory over Tamil rebels, denied thousands of civilians had been killed.

There have have been repeated calls for an international probe into the war.

Sri Lanka’s army put an end to 26 years of brutal civil war when they defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers in May 2009.

Subsequently Mr Fonseka fell out with President Mahinda Rajapaksa over who should get credit for that victory.

He was jailed for corruption in 2010 after challenging him for the presidency.

Nevertheless the final phase of that war has been a source of considerable controversy, with both sides accused of war crimes.

Human rights groups estimate that up to 40,000 civilians were killed in the final months of the war. The government recently released its own estimate, concluding that about 9,000 people perished during that period

‘Not scared’

In a BBC interview, his first on a one-to-one basis since being freed on Monday, Mr Fonseka said that the attitude of some Sri Lankan leaders gave the world the impression that they were guilty of something.

But Mr Fonseka said that he – and not the country’s political leaders – was in charge at the end of the war and that he would not be “scared to come before anybody” asking questions about the end of the war.

He rejected accusations that thousands of civilians were killed in the closing phase of the army’s offensive.

The former army chief said he wanted to be involved in politics to change what he called Sri Lanka’s “corrupt political culture” – even if he didn’t get to serve as president or be re-elected to parliament.

His dramatic fall from grace came after the close of the war when he challenged President Rajapaksa for the presidency.

After the former four-star general lost the presidential election he was arrested and imprisoned on corruption charges. He has been described by the US as a political prisoner.

He served more than two years in prison until the president signed a pardon over the weekend.

Sri Lanka marked the three-year anniversary of the end of the 26-year civil war at the weekend, and held a large military parade in the capital, Colombo.

The war began in the 1980s, with Tamils pressing for self-rule against a backdrop of an increasingly assertive Sinhalese nationalism.

The violence killed up to 100,000 people over several decades, with accusations that both sides in the conflict committed war crimes against civilians.

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Great comment by General Fonseka.

    If we have done nothing wrong why should we be obstructive.

    Sri Lankan state is fully capable of carrying out investigations into allegations.

    Defeating LTTE is no crime. We need to hold our heads high about that.

    Cunning LTTE rump overseas and their backers will try to exploit mattters of justice to their advantage. But, Sri Lanka can take them head on once and for all.

    • 0

      Defeating LTTE was not a topic in UN or elsewhere. The barbarity of the war methods which was applied in SL by GoSL and partly by LTTE is the topic today. Thew list is long.
      Firing the “No Fire Zones”, Murdering the prisoners etc.,

      The Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols

      The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are international treaties that contain the most important rules limiting the barbarity of war. They protect people who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war)


      Even in a war there are ethics and moral commitments

  • 0

    Who first talked about things which amount to war crimes? Who said we had to fight different way and even white flags carriers have to be eliminated at Ambalngoda school?.. Who continued to blame others for war crimes on the flaform of presidential elections and media interviews? Then denied and said it again at Rathnapura election rally … 

    In movie, Doctor Zivago , Komarovski says
    ” There are two kinds of men and only two. And that young man is one kind. He is high-minded. He is pure. He’s the kind of man the world pretends to look up to, and in fact despises. He is the kind of man who breeds unhappiness, particularly in women. Do you understand?”

    There are two kinds of leaders and only two … And this military/political  man is one kind. His character is questionable and tough and   played a very very prominent role to eliminate the most ruthless terror gang from the tiny Sri Lanka against all odds. He knows anger and jealousy first hand. He is the kind of man the world pretends to look up to, and in fact despises. He is the kind of man who breeds disaster, particularly to a nation.

    I thought he had learned from the past… Now, I know he is the same man and he had not gain any wisdom. If he had, he would never have uttered 
    “some Sri Lankan leaders were ‘hiding their faces’ over the conduct of the war, as if they were guilty.”

  • 0

    Dear SF,

    Be allert on your personal security as this releasement would definitely make a real wining for the poor general public who has been suffering from all levels of political curuptions, thugs and killings.Do not be another Madduma Bandara, be safe and bring the country back to the development path as the Asia is emerging and that economic prosperity must not be limited to a one family or for a political party but for the whole nations (Sinhalees and Tamils)

  • 0

    Hi Mr Fonseka,
    If i were you,i would take a quiet break and take stock of everything that happened since entering politics.Mr Fonseka should not confuse politics and military.They are wide apart.At the end of the day it is the voters that decide and not the so called international community.Instead of relying on military experience,he should learn to listen to sane advise.Politics is not straightforward like in the military.

  • 0

    Every leader whether civilian or military will accumulate skeletons in his cupboard and cannot be said to be “clean” especially in this 21st century when moral values, principles and ethics are often considered mere etiquette and not taken seriously. No good will come of accusing each other in front of an “international” community (Western cabal of self-interested opportunists). Rather, all well-meaning public figures should unite to create a more mature democracy in Sri Lanka for the welfare of the public.

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