Fonseka to `expose` war crimes during civil war

Last Updated: Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 19:48

Colombo: Detained Sri Lankan former Army
Chief and war hero Sarath Fonseka today declared he would
"expose" any war crimes committed during the final stages of
the battle against the Tamil Tigers, as the government
announced it was setting up a commission to probe alleged
rights abuses.

"I will go out of may way" to assist any international
probe, Fonseka told reporters after attending parliamentary
proceedings. The war hero, who recently won parliamentary
elections, said he would expose anyone who has committed any
war crimes.

"I will not protect anyone, from the very top to the
bottom," the former army chief told reporters.

Fonseka`s comments comes as he has accused the Defence
Secretary Gotobhaya, the younger brother of President Mahinda
Rajapaksa, of ordering the execution of top surrendering Tamil
Tiger rebels.

His threat came as a presidential office announced
that Rajapaksa will soon appoint a seven member "Lessons
Learnt and Reconciliation" Commission, to review the bloody
three decades
ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, including alleged rights abuses.

The Commission, which will have both local and foreign
members, will also work out compensation to the affected
civilians during the civil war that came to an end last May.

The announcement said the reconciliation commission
will review the lessons learnt and ensure that there is no
recurrence of such tragic conflict in future.

The probe "will search for any violations of
internationally accepted norms of conduct in such conflict
situations, and the circumstances that may have led to such
actions, and identify any persons or groups responsible for
such acts".

Sri Lanka`s over three decades civil war ended in May
2009 after the military crushed the LTTE in their stronghold
in the country`s north. According to an UN estimate, more than
7,000 civilians were killed in last five months of the war.V

Referring to his imprisonment, Fonseka described
himself as a "political prisoner" and said he was being
deprived of basic amenities in detention.

"I am not given all the newspapers and there is no
proper ventilation in my place of detention," he said.

The former army chief said the Human Rights Commission
had urged upon the government to allow him access to his close
relations, though it had not been done so far.

Fonseka, who was accompanied by his wife Anoma, also
complained of facing speech problems.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 19:48

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