Chilcot report: Wartime Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama call for action
Posted on July 7th, 2016

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

Wartime Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday said that the UN, particularly the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) couldn’t turn a blind eye to Iraq Inquiry report.

They pointed out that a major Western power had never been implicated in such horrendous violations since the setting up of UNHRC.

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday told The Island that the Chilcot report on UK culpability in Iraq war couldn’t have come at a worse time for those who had been unfairly pushing for a war crimes court here.


article_imagePointing out that the UK currently functioned as a member of the UNHRC, the war veteran compared the Geneva Resolution adopted on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations and the confirmation that the then Blair government manipulated intelligence reports to justify Iraq invasion.

The former Defence Secretary was among four persons named as war criminals in a leaked US diplomatic cable sent from Colombo in January 2010. The then US Ambassador Patricia Butenis named wartime President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka and Basil Rajapaksa as war criminals.

Alleging that the UK had spearheaded high profile campaign against Sri Lanka at Geneva demanding accountability on the part of Sri Lanka, the former Defence Secretary said that the British reaction as well as that of the UNHRC and various other INGOs would prove their genuineness.

Former Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that Chilcot had declared that at the time of the 2003 invasion Saddam Hussein “posed no imminent threat” to Western interests. Responding to another query, one-time outspoken official pointed out that the British found fault with the previous government for countering a massive conventional military challenge.

Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) accused the LTTE of launching a large scale coordinated offensive during the second week of August 2006, former Defence Secretary Rajapaksa recalled.

The former Defence Secretary said that Chilcot Inquiry confirmed that a 50-page intelligence dossier that had been presented to British parliament in Sept. 2002 was meant to deceive the House regarding alleged WMD programme.

Rajapaksa said that so-called credible allegations on the basis of which the UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts (PoE) had recommended action finally leading to a hybrid war crimes court should be thoroughly investigated. The former Defence Secretary alleged that those who had been propagating lies to justify war crimes inquiry worked in unison with Western powers.

Referring to an attempt made by Scotland Yard’s war crimes investigating unit to question former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in connection with 2008-2009 Gaza war crimes, former Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that the world awaited the British reaction to Iraq Inquiry findings. Would the British police seek statements from those who had been named in the Iraq Inquiry report.

Wartime Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that the Iraq Inquiry had revealed that the then Premier Tony Blair resorted to military action under American pressure. Blair ended up causing irreversible damage with Western powers facing the threat of ISIS on a global scale, Bogollagama said, adding that the US and the British also exploited certain UN resolutions on Iraq to achieve their overall objectives in Iraq.

Those who had caused massive destabilization in West Asia should accept responsibility for the global uncertainty today.

Having plunged the world into unprecedented security crisis, Western powers wanted to humiliate Sri Lanka for waging a successful war against terrorism, he said.

Bogollagama said that the Iraq Inquiry revealed the manipulation of the British parliament.

The former Minister alleged that the UK repeatedly harassed Sri Lanka at various forums, including Geneva on the basis of unproven allegations and once called for regime change during human rights sessions during the previous administration. Now that the then Labour leadership had been found guilty of invading Iraq on false pretext, the UK would have to reveal how it intended to deal with the situation.

Chilcot report not relevant-FM spokesperson

‘UK continuing to learn lessons….”

Asked whether the Foreign Ministry would examine Chilcot report, FM spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said: “We will look at the Chilcot Report, as all reports of this nature have lessons for other countries. Responding to another query as regards the possibility of Sri Lanka benefiting from the Iraq Inquiry report in the run-up to the war crimes inquiry against Sri Lanka in accordance with Geneva resolution 30/1, the spokesperson said: ” We do not see any connection or relevance in the Chilcot Report, however, to our own internal affairs.”

British High Commission responded to several questions pertaining to Iraq Inquiry report.

Asked whether the UK as a member of the UNHRC, would brief the Geneva body regarding the report, a UK government spokesperson said; “This is an independent report and has now been made public.”

Responding to whether the UK would set up special mechanisms to address accountability issues, the spokesperson said: “The UK Government has continued to learn lessons from a range of complex operations but we look forward to studying the specific findings Chilcot identifies and learning from them”   Meanwhile, a London Metropolitan Police Service Spokesperson said: “The Chilcot Inquiry has not referred any matters to police for criminal investigation at any stage in their work” The spokesperson was responding to a query whether Scotland Yard’s war crimes unit has the authority to probe those named in the report.

4 Responses to “Chilcot report: Wartime Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama call for action”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    I wish Sri Lanka had someone like Chilcot and a similar report was done on the war involving the conduct of all parties. It would have saved the good name of Sri Lanka and its extremely disciplined uniformed armed forces.

    This is damning for Blair, Bush and Howard, but excellent for the UK as regards national interest. This is the beauty of not politicising the entire state mechanism. Sadly, in Sri Lanka from the office assistant to minister, all are politicised. They work for political families and not for the nation.

    This will worsen the plight of Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka has been unable to carry out a similar independent and fearlessly objective assessment of war crimes allegations. Our LLRC report, Paranagama report, Udalagama report and Sir Desmond’s report don’t come even close. All these had a very narrow terms of reference.

    Now the world will demand from Sri Lanka to do either its won report like the Chilcot Report or allow Chilcot or others of his calibre do it.

    Hypocrisy of the UNHRC, UK and USA is very well known. But it is no excuse for Sri Lanka not to do a comprehensive war crimes investigation into the conduct of all parties.

  2. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Dilrook, Tony Blair is in jail, but bonded out today. A private citizen has filed a law suite against him. Read the news. Muslim Obama told Blacks to kill Police. So they did today in Dallas. They killed 4 police man.

  3. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Important thing you have to remember is blair was prime minister of uk, not a developing country without
    any oil. So war crimes don’t apply to him. It is only a report. Nothing to worry about it! If blair had been the
    prime minister of Sri Lanka, of course he would’ve been in a lot of trouble.

    Remember guys UNHCR have standards. Double standards!

  4. RohanJay Says:

    Yes the Global Elite protect their favourite puppets like Bush or Blair from prosecution. I would love to see a public televised trial like nuremberg or at the hague for their crimes. But I know it won’t happen because some of the most powerful in the world behind them are protecting them from prosecution. Yes I know a sad world we live in. When we realize the people running this world are truly evil. Who are responsible for the loss life of innocents in Iraq.But there is hope if enough people rise up and pressure them. The Chilcott report is a good start but it doesn’t go far enough. It just proves something we have already known that Bush and Blair and the Global Elite behind them who orchestrated the invasion of Iraq were war criminals.

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