GOTA PHOBIA – Part V C (Mangala gets infuriated with Gota’s Firm rejection of UNHRC 30/1)
Posted on October 19th, 2019

BY ; A.A.N.NIZAM – MATARA

The foreign servile anti-Sei-Lankan and anti-Buddhist Mangala Samaraweera have found an excellent puppet in the imbecile, ignoramus and visionless Sajith Premadasa who parrots borrowed statements without knowing the meaning and gravity of such statements.  This stupid candidate making his gallery talks has said that he is prepared to go to the electric chair instead of sending war heroes to gallows.  Being a dimwit he does not know that once the horrendous UNHRC resolution is abrogated no one becomes obliged to face trials or take counter actions and the need for anyone to go to the electric chair does not arise.  A matter that is very much dangerous to a country is to have an obtuse and naïve President or Head of State who cannot comprehend the basic international rules.     

Mr Gotabhaya has made a robust and staunch pledge that he would abrogate the disgraceful and loathsome UNHRC resolution No. 30/1of 2015 which was co-sponsored by quisling Mangla Samaraweera as the first act of treachery by the so-called yahapalana government. 

Subsequent events have indicated that this quisling has co-sponsored this abhorrent U.S.resolution with a futuristic personal agenda of becoming the High Commissioner of UNHRC with the blessings of the vicious western powers.  Just recall his pampering of U.S./UNHRC/U.N. since this co-sponsoring? Why he hand-picked the worst enemy of developing and third world countries Samantha Power to be the chief guest of his 30th anniversary in politics?

Becoming furious about Mr. Gotabhaya’s pledge to annul the UNHRC resolution, Mangala has issued a statement to foreign media on 18th October, Friday, saying that Gotabhaya policy will isolate Sri Lanka once again, and it would dismiss Sri Lanka’s commitments to the international community of upholding human rights, rule of law, and processes for truth-seeking, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence of conflicts.  (For western servile fellows like him the International Community means U.S., Canada and around 20 Western countries out of the nearly 200 countries holding membership in theU.N.)

The U.S. Resolution 30/1which this man illegally sponsored even without the consent of the President and without Cabinet approval states that Sri Lanka pledges its strongest commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, in keeping with international human rights standards and Sri Lanka’s international obligations and will take measures to address the prevailing grievances.

His statement explains that President Rajapaksa appointed the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’. Yet, implementation of its recommendations was ignored. Then, yet another Commission titled the ‘Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons’ (Paranagama Commission) was appointed. This included a foreign Advisory Council comprising, among others, Rt. Hon. Sir Desmond de Silva QC (UK) and Professor David Crane (USA). There were also foreign experts supporting the Council including Mr Rodney Dixon, QC. (UK/ South Africa), Professor Michael Newton (USA) Vanderbilt University who formerly served as the Senior Advisor to the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, Commander William Fenrick (Canada), Professor Nina Jorgensen, Major General John Holmes, and Mr Paul Mylvaganam (UK).

He says that non-implementation of recommendations of the Presidential Commissions appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa resulted in the erosion of trust and confidence resulting in a series of resolutions in the Human Rights Council on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Although Sri Lanka refused to participate in a dialogue with the co-sponsors and dissociated itself from these resolutions, they were adopted irrespective of Sri Lanka’s disassociation, and by 2014, the Council had set up an investigation on Sri Lanka called the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL). This was the first-ever international investigation on a human rights situation in our country, he says.

This foreign servile quisling says that by December 2014, Sri Lanka had become isolated on the international stage and our security forces were deprived of peacekeeping opportunities and training opportunities in the developed countries of the world, naval ship visits from the developed countries of the world had ceased and so had joint exercises, EU GSP+ facility had been withdrawn, there was a ban on fish exports from Sri Lanka to the EU, IMF and World Bank had stopped lending to Sri Lanka, the economy was burdened by debt taken at commercial rates for vanity projects, the judiciary was in tatters with a weakened rule of law regime and the impeachment of the Chief Justice, investor confidence was at an all-time low, and Sri Lanka’s stature on the international stage had eroded, and so had confidence, credibility and trust.

The Report of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka was due on March 2015, and further strictures including targeted measures on individuals were expected following the release of the Report.

It was in this backdrop that the Government, following the Presidential Election on 08 January 2015, based on the mandate received from the voters to implement the 100 Day Programme, presented its own proposals and co-sponsored Resolution 30/1 to regain and reassert Sri Lanka’s sovereign right to solve its own problems locally, so that space for any further international action or strictures would not be open. This was the path to establish durable peace and reconciliation in our country, restore Sri Lanka’s dignity on the international stage as a state that takes responsibility to address the problems of all sections of its own citizens, renew Sri Lanka’s engagement with the international community, rebuild eroded trust and confidence, restore the dignity of our security forces, police and judiciary, and usher in the sustained stability required for investor confidence and durable prosperity for all our citizens.

This western stooge further states that it was as a result of this resolution (30/1) that prospects for international action initiated through resolution 25/1 of March 2014 and the OISL (OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka) that was adopted during President Rajapaksa’s regime were effectively halted. It is important to remind everyone that it is only if we as a responsible and sovereign nation fail to act that we place our citizens in grave peril by allowing space for others to step in, and international action as well as universal jurisdiction to apply.

Mangala’s aforementioned cockeyed and ludicrous allegations, calumny and prevarications have been rebuffed on countless occasions by patriots resident locally and in overseas. Mr Asoka Weerasinghe of Canada addressing a Sri Lankan Forum in Ontario on 24th November 2018 said that the Geneva Resolution 30/1 which was co-sponsored by the Yahapalanayo Government in October 2015 was a theatre of  International cunning, Humbug, and Bullyingyears He said that topic discussed at the UNHRC Session on September 2018, has a history that goes back to the former Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon as he had the audacity of Mooning Sri Lanka” and bullying her, with his famous Darusman Report,  with no  formidable challenge by the so-called Yahapalana Government.

Referring to the Eelam IV which began on July 26 2006, when renewed hostilities began when Sri Lankan Air Force fighter jets bombed several Tamil Tiger terrorist camps around Mavil Aru anicut in the East, Mr. Weerasinghe states that the reason for this aggression was because on July 21 the Tamil Tigers cut the water supply closing the sluice gates of the Mavil Aru reservoir for surrounding paddy fields  and starving over 15,000 people of drinking water in Government-controlled areas.  Remember, that water is Life. We cannot allow people not to be given even a drop of water and starve the person to death.

The Eelam IV War was concluded on 19 May 2009. This was after the 58 Division of the Sri Lankan Army led by Brigadier Shavendra Silva, the 59 Division led by Brigadier Prasanna de Silva, and the 53 Division Commanded by General Kamal Gunaratna, linked up  and cornered the last of the Tamil Tiger terrorists into a small sliver of land, near the Nandikadal lagoon and eliminated the last of the Tamil Tiger terrorists.  This final battle claimed the lives of several top Tamil Tigers, including Jeyam, Bhanu, Lawrence, Pappa, Laxmanan, Balasingham Nadesan, Pottu Amman, Soosai and their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran according to reports they all attempted to flee.

On the morning of the 19th of May, soldiers of the 4th Vijayabahu Regiment led by Lt.Colonel Rohitha Aluwihara claimed to have found the body of Velupillai Prabhakaran with a bullet wound on his forehead.  And so was the Sri Lankan Armed Forces ending a Tamil separatist War in Sri Lanka which defined her contemporary history of 30 bloodying years.

Mr. Weerasinghe adds that on 22  May 2009, Sri Lanka’s Secretary of Defence, Gotabaya Rajapaksa confirmed that 6,261 personnel of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces had lost their lives and 29,551 were wounded during the Eelam War IV since July, 26, 2006.  A ratio for each 1 killed there were 5 injured and maimed for life.

Mr. Weerasinghe states that ours is a country, a puny island  jutting out of the Indian Ocean that valiantly got rid of terrorism, a war that was aided and abetted by foreign countries, which included Canada, suddenly was the nucleus of interests for the senior UN officials to victimize this little island who fought an internal war with the democratically unelected Tamil separatists who wanted to carve out one-third of the island’s productive real estate bordered by 60% of the coastline for 12.6% of their people in the North and East of the island.   But mind you, by then 54% of the Tamil population lived in the South among the majority Sinhalese population that amounted to 74% of the entire population of the island.

Let us now look at some excerpts from a lengthy speech made by Rear Admiral (Retd) Sarath Weerasekera at a side event on September 24, 2017 during the UNHRC sessions in Geneva and he starts the speech asking Is the UNHRC resolution 30/1 on Sri Lanka legal?

 It is not.  Let me briefly explain as to why the resolution is illegal. On 26 th March 2014, the UNHRC by resolution A/HRC/25/1 requested the High Commissioner to undertake a comprehensive investigation into serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes” allegedly committed during the period 2002 February to 2011November in Sri Lanka.   

The final report of the investigation, widely known as the OISL report, was released on 16th September 2015. On 29th Sept 2015 the UNHRC by resolution A/HRC/30/1 endorsed without reservation the conclusions and the recommendations of the OISL report. The said resolution was sponsored by USA and co-sponsored by the Government of Sri Lanka and adopted by the council by consensus, without debate.   

We have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the OISL report is seriously flawed and full of contradictions, omissions, lies, obfuscations and half-truths and fails to establish its primary claim, that the state, is responsible for war crimes and other serious crimes allegedly committed during the relevant period. We have handed over the relevant document to the High Commissioner in March this year.   (2017).

First of all let me state that the investigation against Sri Lanka, authorized by UNHRC in March 2014, itself is again illegal. The council’s authorization of the investigation was based purely on a recommendation for such an investigation made by the High Commissioner and we have proof that the High Commissioner had no rational basis to make the said recommendation at the time she did.   

When UNICEF was confirming that LTTE was recruiting child soldiers on a large scale he did sweet nothing

The POE Report charged the Government (GOSL) of war crimes on false facts obtaining evidence and facts

We defeated the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world on 19th May 2009 and the first resolution passed in Geneva was a positive one praising the Sri Lankan Government for bringing peace and condemning the LTTE for using human shields. However, 17 nations led by Germany called for a special session, 8 days after we won the war and charged the Government of committing war crimes and demanded that the perpetrators be punished. But the majority of countries in the council, specially the nations in the South, rejected it and adopted a positive counter resolution as mentioned above.   

That resolution welcomed the conclusion of hostilities, the liberation of tens of thousands of its citizens that were held by the terrorists and bringing permanent peace to the country. It was obviously a set back to the separatist Tamil diaspora and other critics, so they attempted to recover through other means.   

The then Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki Moon arrived in Sri Lanka just four days after the defeat of the LTTE to look into accountability”.

When the LTTE held 3,50,000 civilians as human shields in Jan 2009, Ban Ki Moon never came here to prevail on LTTE to release them.

When UNICEF was confirming that LTTE was recruiting child soldiers on a large scale he did sweet nothing.

But he visited Sri Lanka one week after the war, in May 2009, and wanted us to initiate an accountability process.

It is like, after the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the US Marines, Ban Ki-Moon going to the USA and asking Barak Obama to initiate an accountability process!   

The above-mentioned failure of the then UN Secretary-General was also mentioned in the report titled UNSG POE report on Sri Lanka”, submitted to UN by the Charles Petrie Committee. It concludes that events in Sri Lanka mark a great failure of the UN to adequately respond to early warnings to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of civilians and the UN failed to conceive and execute a coherent strategy in response to early warnings and subsequent international HR and humanitarian violations against civilians. Ban Ki-Moon has subsequently admitted that failure. He said in Sept 2nd that had the UN being more actively engaged more lives could have been saved.   

But as mentioned above, soon after we defeated the LTTE and brought peace to the country, Ban Ki-Moon came and signed a joint statement with the President. The last two sentences of the statement were The Secretary-General underlined the importance of an accountability process for addressing violations of international Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. The Government will take measures to address those grievances”.   

Mr. Ban Ki Moon used the said two sentences as a basis and appointed the Panel of Experts known as Darusman Committee to appraise him whether war crimes had been committed in Sri Lanka. This action of the Sec-Gen was highly illegitimate and in fact illegal under the UN Charter. The Sec-Gen had appointed three outsiders to the POE Committee. But article 100 of the UN Charter categorically states that the Sec-Gen shouldn’t receive instructions from any other authority external to the Organization.  

As per article 97 and 98, the Sec-Gen is the Chief Admin Officer of the UN and should perform tasks entrusted to him by the Security Council, the General Assembly or the Trusteeship Council. None of these organs had given instructions to the Sec-Gen in this regard, but yet he appointed the POE on his own.   

The Sec-Gen also violated Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter which says, Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorise the UN to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter.”   

Hence by appointing the Panel of Experts (POE) the Sec-Gen had violated his own rules!   

The PO then concluded that there were credible allegations that violations of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights law did occur and recommended an international investigation. The POE then became the basis for the demand for an international investigation in subsequent UNHRC resolutions against Sri Lanka.   

The POE Report charged the Government (GOSL) of war crimes on false facts obtaining evidence from biased and separatist elements. Referring to the POE report of the UNSG, the International legal luminaries, Sir Geoffrey Nice ` and Rodney Dixon QC, who have both worked in international tribunals and worked for ICC in Hague, say that the findings in respect of the alleged criminal violations fall well short of the legal standards and all the evidence virtually unsourced. So how can a sovereign country be forced to abide by a resolution drafted based on the basis of such a report

The Darusman or the POE Report failed to make a prima facie case with regards to any of the violations of humanitarian law and the Sec-Gen exceeded his authority in commissioning the report too. It was never placed officially at the HRC and hence the Sri Lankan Government never got an opportunity to officially respond to it. When the Sec-Gen first announced that he would commission the report, senior diplomats from a number of prominent countries expressed grave concerns about the dangerous precedence the Sec-Gen was about to set. Russia, through its UN ambassador, even raised objections in the Security Council.

Russian Ambassador Vladimir Mikhailov, when asked on what grounds the objections were made, said On the grounds that it was not a UN Report. On the grounds that it was not done in accordance with the regulations and procedures of the UN. From the very beginning, it was told that the report was purely for the Sec-Gen. So if it was for the Sec-Gen why did they have to publish it?   

So based on this illegal Darusman Report there were resolutions in 2012 and 2013 and it should be noted that just prior to the March 2013 Resolution, a group of 14 nations including Russia, China, Venezuela and Iran made a joint statement expressing their dismay and frustration at what was being done to this country. Referring to mandating the UNHRC to provide advice and technical assistance to Sri Lanka they said such recommendations are arbitrary, intrusive and of a political nature!

Finally, the resolution 25/1 was passed in 2014, requesting the present High Commissioner to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged war crimes. It was hardly a unanimous decision where 23 countries voted in favour, 12 against while12 abstained. The OISL report of the present High Commissioner is the result of that investigation.

 Meanwhile, the countries that voted against and abstained, including India and Pakistan, made strong statements condemning the investigation. Ambassador Dilip Sinha said, It has been India’s firm belief that adopting an intrusive approach that undermines national sovereignty and institutions is counterproductive. Moreover, any external investigative mechanism to monitor national processes for protection of Human Rights of a country is not reflective of the constructive approach of dialogue and cooperation envisaged by UN charter”.

 Ambassador Zamir Akram of Pakistan said, No self-respecting country would agree to the intrusive measures advocated in this resolution. It is inconsistent with the principles of the UN charter which calls for respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. This resolution is about politics and not human rights. It is also a crass example of hypocrisy and double standards”.   
 Also, it should be mentioned that what we had in our country was a Non-International Armed Conflict as the LTTE was fully qualified to be called a non-state actor of armed conflict. The applicable laws governing Non-International Armed conflict are those that are governed by protocol additional to the Geneva Convention of 12th Aug 1949. That is International Humanitarian Law and not the International Human Rights Law.

Now, what does Article 3 of this protocol say? Article 3.1 states Nothing in this Protocol shall be invoked for the purpose of affecting the sovereignty of a state or the responsibility of the Government by all legitimate means, to maintain or re-establish law and order in the state or to defend the national unity and territorial integrity of the state”.

So we exercised our sovereignty to defend the national unity and territorial integrity of the state, in keeping with the norms of non-International armed conflict.   

Now let me quote article 3.2; Nothing in this protocol can be invoked as a justification for intervening, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever in the armed conflict or in the internal/external affairs of the High Contracting Party in the territory of which that conflict occurs”.   

Therefore the High Commissioner’s entire report recommending the establishment of a special counsel to investigate allegations of HR violations, a judicial system comprising foreign judges, asking to devolve power as per 13th amendment etc are contemptuous intimidation and amounts to intervention in the internal/external affairs of Sri Lanka in violation of the above article.   

So the High Commissioner too in addition to the Secretary-General, had violated his own rules!  

Resolution 30/1 which persuades the Government to establish an office of missing personnel, establish a judicial system with foreign judges etc. is mainly based on the OISL Report making a case of war crimes against the state.   

Now let us go through the charges levelled against us (Sri Lanka) in the OISL Report and see whether they are based on true facts. For, if the OISL Report is false then the resolution per se which is based on the OISL Report should in actual fact, become null and void.   

1. Indiscriminate shelling of civilians:

In the Darusman Report, the number killed during the last days of war has been mentioned as 40,000. If that figure was correct it is safe to presume that war crimes may indeed have been committed and that civilians may have been indiscriminately targeted. To be dead one has to be born. Therefore anyone who claims 40,000 dead must be able to provide details of names, addresses, school records, birth certificates etc. They must produce some evidence that whoever they claim to be dead actually lived! The Presidential Missing Person’s Commission mandated to investigate between 1983 and 2009 had only 16,179 including 5000 names of missing soldiers. What happened to the 40,000 supposed dead? Why aren’t their names logged?   

There is a UN Country Report completed in 2009, during the conflict itself, that gives an estimate of the number killed between 2008 Aug to May 13 th2009 as 7721including LTTE cadres. That number is also very close to the one calculated by the Census Department of Sri Lanka. Hence as the war was over by 19th May, if the 40,000 number killed was correct, then nearly 32,000 have to perish within 6 days. The last battle was in a very small area, so if the Army was supposed to have killed 32,000 people the soldiers would have had to bury them. In the thick of the fighting, the soldiers had no time to carry 40,000 dead bodies. 

Even if you throw them to sea or lagoon they (Bodies) should emerge! Where are the dead bodies or at least the skeletons? How did Sri Lankan military kill 32,000 whilst saving 295,000 innocent Tamils?   

We must also bear in mind the conditions under which the last phase of the war was fought where the LTTE had taken about 300,000 civilians as hostages when the army began to close in on them. The POE Report also states that the ‘tigers’ were killing civilians who were trying to escape. And even when civilian casualties rose significantly, the LTTE refused to let people leave, hoping that the worsening situation would provoke an international intervention and a halt to the fighting.   

The former head of the Women’s Wing of the LTTE’s Political Office Thamilini Jayakumaran, states in her book ‘Under the shade of a sharp-edged sword’ how the tiger girls were ordered to shoot their own people who were fleeing.   

Muralidar Reddy, an Indian journalist, was part of a group of embedded reporters in the battlefield. He has had the opportunity to speak to the civilians emerging from the battlefield. There isn’t the slightest indication in his articles that he heard the civilians say that Government troops were carrying out massacres. Reddy’s impression also appears to have been that the civilians were glad to cross over to Government lines. They were running towards the Sri Lanka Army, presumably expecting to find safety. Would they have been running towards the army if they felt that the army had been massacring civilians over the past days? It doesn’t make sense.   

David Gray, from Reuters, was in the war zone. He has observed the soldiers were feeding the civilians with their rations. If these soldiers, whom Gray saw, were in the habit of attacking civilians indiscriminately, why would these soldiers be feeding the civilians?   

Hence can a reasonable person conclude that the Government is guilty of indiscriminate killing of civilians as charged in the OISL Report?   

2.Denial of humanitarian assistance

The other charge levelled against the Government is deliberately denying humanitarian aid being sent to the north which is a war crime. Here we say that the Panel was deliberately obfuscating the truth by completely ignoring highly reliable sources and witnesses including Neil Buhne, the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka at the relevant period.   

In order to provide food and medicine to the North, the Government had established a mechanism called the Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance. That committee comprised all the Government officials in the relevant ministries and Mr Robert Blake, who was the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the representatives of ICRC, WFP, UNICEF, WHO, ILO, FAO, UNHCR etc.   

To make it very short, with regard to providing essential items to North during the war, Mr.Neil Buhne, the UN resident Coordinator had commented that the Sri Lankan Government should be presented with a Gold medal for her commitment in that regard. Mr Amin Award, the representative of UNHRC, had expressed the view that Sri Lanka was a role model to the rest of the world in the manner in which the Government of Sri Lanka had handled the humanitarian crisis created by the LTTE using civilians as human shields in the theatre of war.   

With all these comments and statistics, the OISL has seen it fit to pronounce unequivocally that the Government of Sri Lanka, during the period in question, followed a deliberate policy of depriving civilians in the conflict zone of humanitarian assistance.

 Likewise, all other charges mentioned in the OISL Report and levelled against Sri Lanka were based on false facts. We have proved this beyond any reasonable doubt in our report titled A factual Appraisal of the OISL Report” which we handed over to the HRC office in March this year.   

The purpose of the OISL Report is to make a case for war crimes against the state. This report was never properly assessed by any professional agency of the UN and it is asserted that the report is deeply flawed, and biased against Sri Lanka. Hence UNHRC, in allowing resolution 30/1 to be adopted without a vote and without debate has been negligent in its duties and obligations under the UN Charter and hence illegal. Therefore we request to impose a moratorium on the UNHRC from pursuing any further measures with respect to Sri Lanka based on resolution 30/1 till the OISL Report is fully investigated.  

It seems that the cronies of Tamil National Alliance which keeps on murmuring war crimes, war crimes even in their sleep has said that after November 17th they would avenge the leaders and commanders of the forces who have committed war crimes. This has been stated by the TNA MP Sridharan addressing a presidential election meeting in Jaffna. He has also stated that an international investigation against the former President and the Defence Secretary will be initiated and they will be punished.

Now let us seriously consider, what Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says about the abhorrent UNHRC resolution?

On 14th October he assured his commitment to work with the UN while rejecting the Geneva Resolution co-sponsored by the yahapalana government in Oct 2015. He made this statement in response to a query at his first media briefing since receiving nominations on August 11, at Shangri-la Hotel in Colombo. The media queried as to how he would proceed as regards the Geneva commitments, in case he was elected at the Nov 16, 2019, presidential poll.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa was flanked by former President and leader of the SLPP Mahinda Rajapaksa, former External Affairs Minister and SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris, CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman, MP, former MP A.L.M. Athaulla, SLFP General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera, MP, MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena, MP, NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP and EPDP leader Douglas Devananda MP.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa pointed out that they had rejected the Geneva Resolution publicly and said that the 2015 Resolution was based on a 2011 Darusman report that blamed the Sri Lankan military for killing 40,000 civilians. The UN also recommended far-reaching security sector reforms in accordance with the unsubstantiated allegations. Recently, the UN announced the termination of Sri Lanka peacekeeping mission under UN command in Southern Lebanon as a punishment for appointing celebrated war hero Lt. Gen Shavendra Silva, opposed by the self-styled international community.

Prof. Peiris pointed out that the incumbent government itself declared that the Geneva Resolution was contrary to the Constitution and said that the government couldn’t implement what was not in line with the Constitution.

Responding to another query, the former frontline combat officer pointed out the recent revelations made by two senior Attorney General’s Department officials pertaining to high profile politically motivated investigations initiated following the last presidential poll. Gotabaya Rajapaksa explained as to how decisions regarding investigations were taken at Temple Trees. According to him, decisions taken at Temple Trees had been harmful to those who risked their lives for the country. Rajapaksa found fault with the procedures adopted by the government in respect of military personnel now in remand custody on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations. He reiterated his commitment to release those in remand custody on bogus charges once he was elected.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa asserted that accountability process could move forward without foreign involvement and responding to another query, he emphasized that those living in the Northern and Eastern provinces had far more important issues than what he called unsubstantiated old allegations.

Mr Rajapaksa explained the measures taken by the former administration to rehabilitate 13,000 surrendered LTTE cadres following the successful conclusion of the war in May 2009 and responded to a spate of questions on accountability issues, including disappearances and those missing after surrendering to the Army on the Vanni east front during the final phase of the offensive.

Recollecting his time with the infantry in the Jaffna peninsula two decades ago, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that there were instances bodies of fallen officers and men couldn’t be recovered.

Asked whether the SLPP had discussed polls arrangement with the four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said that they were yet to hold talks with that party. He said that they are ready to hold discussions with any party. (end)

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