The Sri Lankan President on Sunday vowed that he will not hand over any war hero to a foreign court to face alleged war crimes charges.
The President made this pledge at a mass rally here to celebrate the 66 th. year of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
His pledge was in the context of an attempt made last month in some South American countries to file a case against former Sri Lankan Army Commander Gen.Jagath Jayasuriya for “war crimes” and get him arrested.
Gen. Jayasuriya had been Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Brazil, but had completed his term and was flying back to Sri Lanka when the case was filed. The international media had created a sensation by reporting erroneously that he had “fled”.
President Sirisena told the massive crowd at the Campbell Park grounds that certain people are making false accusations against the armed forces which had rid the country terrorists.
“Jagath Jaysuriya’s issue is a problem on the other side of the sea. It is not a problem in this country. I want to make it clear that I will not allow anyone in the world to lay a hand on General Jagath Jayasuriya or any other military commander of the country or any war hero of the country,” Sirisena assured.
The President emphasized that he is not ready to “dance to the tune” of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which have connections to the LTTE and funded by the terrorist group.
Meanwhile, Gen.Jayasuriya told the media that he did not commit any war crime as he was not in charge of the fighting units during the final decisive phase of the war and was only in charge supplies and logistics.
However, he added that he is ready to face any court proceedings against him. He also said that as per the command responsibility principle, the then Commander of the Army, Gen.Sarath Foneka, should be answerable for any actions of the fighting troops as he had been a micro-manager.
But Field Marshall Fonseka had told the media that Gen.Jayasuriya had committed “war crimes” while handling prisoners. In fact, Jayasuriya had to be relieved from commanding fighting units and made in charge of supplies and defense formations in the rear.
According to former Sri Lankan Ambassador Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka, the Sri Lankan government is defenseless against attempts to get army personnel arrested abroad because the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights had recommended that Sri Lanka be subjected to “universal jurisdiction” on war crimes, and the government had accepted his recommendation, not once by twice.