Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: President Can Appoint A New Commission To Look At Complaints: Gota Tells US

“In an October 6 meeting with Ambassador, Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the president ‘could’ appoint a new commission to look at complaints or use some existing mechanism, such as an ombudsman. He also noted that, contrary to widely held impressions, the army had investigated and prosecuted individual soldiers for individual crimes (presumably stealing, rape, murder, etc.) committed during the war, and Major General Peiris heading the military legal department could provide more information. (NOTE: Embassy will be following up with the general as soon as possible. END NOTE.)” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Former secretary to the MOD – Gotabaya

The Colombo Telegraph found the leaked US diplomatic cable from WikiLeak database. The Cable is classified as “confidential” and written by the Ambassador Patricia Butenis on October 7, 2009.

Read the cable below for further details;

VZCZCXRO4278
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHLM #0938 2801244
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 071244Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0607
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 1935
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 8971
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7209
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5152
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3349
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 5108
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 1385
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0643
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4218
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9531
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 6832
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 1314
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3764
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 COLOMBO 000938

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/08/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: JUSTICE MINISTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY DISCUSS
ACCOUNTABILITY/RECONCILIATION MECHANISMS

Classified By: AMBASSADOR PATRICIA A. BUTENIS. REASONS: 1.4 (B, D)

¶1. (C) In an October 7 meeting with Ambassador, Justice
Minister Malinda Moragoda said the 1987 Youth Commission,
which looked at the roots of the JVP uprising, might be a
mechanism that Sri Lanka could use to get at the questions of
accountability and reconciliation. In response to
Ambassador’s query about how the Sri Lankan government (GSL)
would respond to international expectations to put in place a
mechanism to address concerns about accountability following
the release soon of the Department’s war crimes report to the
Senate, Moragoda said that President Rajapaksa had been
consulting widely on the question. Moragoda said the GSL
could not address directly the question of war crimes, per
se. But they were looking for some mechanism to allow people
to register and get responses on complaints. The president
and Moragoda discussed whether the Youth Commission model
would work. The focus, Moragoda stressed, would be on
reconciliation. He also noted that the president had the
constitutional power to appoint commissions and could
proceed. In the same breath, however, he reiterated that
getting at war crimes directly was “hard,” a political
reality that was further complicated by the upcoming
presidential elections (expected in mid-January).

¶2. (C) Moragoda went on to discuss his impressions of Tamil
views on accountability. He noted that 25 percent of his
constituents were Tamils, and he was looking for ways to get
moderate Tamils more involved in the rehabilitation of former
LTTE soldiers and others. He believed that the Tamils in Sri
Lanka were interested in “moving on,” whereas those in the
diaspora were less so inclined. Ambassador encouraged the
GSL to make greater efforts to reach out to the Tamil
diaspora community and get them involved again in Sri Lanka’s
reconciliation and re-development. Moragoda in response
touched briefly on the diaspora funding of a rehabilitation
program through IOM. He concluded by reiterating that
pushing hard on the accountability issue could undermine the
reconciliation process and “polarize” Sri Lankan society.

¶3. (C) In an October 6 meeting with Ambassador, Defense
Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the president “could”
appoint a new commission to look at complaints or use some
existing mechanism, such as an ombudsman. He also noted
that, contrary to widely held impressions, the army had
investigated and prosecuted individual soldiers for
individual crimes (presumably stealing, rape, murder, etc.)
committed during the war, and Major General Peiris heading
the military legal department could provide more information.
(NOTE: Embassy will be following up with the general as
soon as possible. END NOTE.)

BUTENIS

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