The Sri Lanka Army’s Adjutant General Major General Jagath Dias who is strongly implicated in the war crimes allegations against Government forces during the final phase of the war in 2009, was ordered to return to Ground Zero last week.
A spate of high profile military transfers that came into effect last week also saw Major General Dias’ transfer to the former LTTE stronghold of Mullaitivu as Security Forces Commander of the District. Mullaitivu was also the final theatre of battle where the UN estimates some 40,000 civilians perished and some of the worst allegations of war crimes against the military have surfaced.
Dias has been transferred to the Wanni amidst continued claims of heavy militarisation in the North and oppressive surveillance of residents in the area by military personnel. Jaffna Security forces Commander Mahinda Hathurusinghe who has been on a collision course with the recently elected Chief Minister of the Northern Province on several occasions was transferred out of the district.
Dias was also controversially put in charge of the army inquiry into a violent military crackdown against civilian demonstrators in Weliweriya on August 1. Late last year Dias was rejected for military training programmes on account of his role in alleged violations of humanitarian law as Commanding Officer of the 57 division that was instrumental in eliminating the LTTE in the last months of the war.
Dias who was rejected by the United States for training programme on account of his implication in alleged war crimes in August last year was also denied a visa by the Government of Australia – firm friend of the Rajapaksa Administration – to attend a ICRC workshop due to the allegations against him. Dias was initially asked to withdraw his application for the programme by the Australian High Commission in Colombo, the Island newspaper quoted a senior official as saying.