Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: Gota Softens Tone On War Crimes

By Colombo Telegraph – 

“Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa seemed to soften his tone on calls for accountability over possible violations of international human rights. In an earlier interview with the BBC, the Defense Secretary had vigorously opposed any international investigation into possible violations. In a February 8 interview with the local Island newspaper, however, Rajapaksa said “no one would oppose a genuine investigation initiated by the international community” and that the Defense Ministry would take punitive action against any military personnel guilty of war crimes or criminal activity.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked “CONFIDENTIAL” cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable was written on February 10 , 2010 by the Charge D’Affaires Valerie Fowler.

Placing a comment Fowler wrote “The Foreign Secretary’s clarification that Fonseka was under detention to further the investigation appears to reflect the government’s consolidation of its position on his case, making sure they do not box themselves in with any procedural complexities. His arguments about the government’s handling of the case with “complete transparency” resembled the government’s response to the EU’s report on the removal of GSP-plus preferential tariffs. In both instances, a strong statement was made that Sri Lankan laws did not allow for any misdeeds, and therefore nothing questionable could have happened.”

Below we give the relevant part of the confidential cable;

VZCZCXRO0502
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHLM #0108/01 0411231
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 101231Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1294
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 2414
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 9436
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7691
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5442
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3852
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 0028
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0228
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 0179
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4491
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9996
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 7231
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0223
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0134
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 000108 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/09/2020
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA HOT TOPICS: FONSEKA, BUDDHIST CRITICISM
OF GSL, ACCOUNTABILITY, PARLIAMENT DISSOLUTION 

COLOMBO 00000108  001.2 OF 003 

Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES VALERIE C. FOWLER.  REASONS: 1.4 (B, D
)
DEFENSE SECRETARY SOFTENS
TONE ON ACCOUNTABILITY
------------------------- 

9. (C) Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa seemed to soften
his tone on calls for accountability over possible violations
of international human rights.  In an earlier interview with
the BBC, the Defense Secretary had vigorously opposed any
international investigation into possible violations.  In a
February 8 interview with the local Island newspaper,
however, Rajapaksa said "no one would oppose a genuine
investigation initiated by the international community" and
that the Defense Ministry would take punitive action against
any military personnel guilty of war crimes or criminal
activity. 

COMMENT
------- 

10. (C) The Foreign Secretary's clarification that Fonseka
was under detention to further the investigation appears to
reflect the government's consolidation of its position on his
case, making sure they do not box themselves in with any
procedural complexities.  His arguments about the
government's handling of the case with "complete
transparency" resembled the government's response to the EU's
report on the removal of GSP-plus preferential tariffs.  In
both instances, a strong statement was made that Sri Lankan
laws did not allow for any misdeeds, and therefore nothing
questionable could have happened.
FOWLER



CORRECTION

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Earlier version of this article said that the cable date was  June 14, 2007 

Correction: It was February 10 , 2010


Back to Home page