Colombo: Former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka's appointment to parliament sends "worrying signals" on accountability and contradicts the government's pledges to probe atrocities allegedly committed under his command during the brutal civil war with the LTTE, an international rights group said today.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the appointment of Field Marshal Fonseka to the parliament is a "breach of trust" for victims and families who believed in this government's commitment to deliver justice for war crimes.
"The appointment of former army chief Sarath Fonseka signals that the government may protect senior military leaders suspected of abuses," said Brad Adams, HRW Asia director.
65-year-old Fonseka, who commanded Sri Lanka's army from 2005 until the end of war in 2009, was made an appointed member to the 225-member national parliament by the unity government's dominant United National Party (UNP) this week.
The New York-based rights group said that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe are sending "worrying signals on accountability at a time when they should be presenting themselves as leaders determined to achieve justice for all Sri Lankans."
"By giving Fonseka a seat in parliament and the highest military rank, they threaten the goodwill their government has generated since coming to power," Adam said.
The government should meaningfully demonstrate to the Sri Lankan people and the UN that its serious about accountability and not on the road to a whitewash.