Individuals who provided political and military leadership to the war effort being hauled up before various inquiries

Mahinda Rajapaksa 3Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa claims senior military officers who led the various Divisions during the final phase of the war are to be retired without being given the usual service extensions.

Speaking in Parliament today for the first time since he was elected as an MP at the August Parliament election, Rajapaksa said that when these officers retire, they lose the institutional backing and protection provided by the military.

“Sending these officers on retirement at a time when war crimes investigations are being spoken of is a clear case of deliberately abandoning these officers. It is my view that these officers should be granted service extensions by the government until the danger abates,” Rajapaksa said.

He claims key individuals who provided political and military leadership to the war effort are now being hauled virtually on a daily basis before various police financial investigation units and commissions of inquiry probing allegations corruption and fraud.

“I believe this is being done to tarnish the image that these individuals built up in the country by providing leadership to the war effort. I know that the people are following these developments carefully,” he said.

Rajapaksa also said the Government has also agreed amend the Public Security Ordinance and to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with legislation acceptable to the foreign powers. Rajapaksa says he sees this as a reckless dismantling of the country’s core security legislation.

The former President called upon the Government to not to place the nation’s security in jeopardy over petty political considerations and due to their antipathy towards him and the Government he led.

Mahinda Rajapaksa also noted that in October this year, the present Government “ill-advisedly” accepted and co-sponsored a resolution against Sri Lanka which is based on a report which states that there are ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ that Sri Lanka’s armed forces committed grave crimes during the last phase of the war against the LTTE.

“In terms of this resolution the Government has agreed to establish a war crimes court to try Sri Lankan military personnel with the participation of foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators and to allow this mechanism to obtain funding from foreign countries. They have also agreed to reform the domestic law to bring it into line with the laws implemented by international war crimes tribunals. They have also undertaken to remove through an administrative process members of the military suspected of having committed human rights abuses even if there is insufficient evidence to charge them in a court of law.
When the British prime minister met our President recently, the former made an offer of six million pounds to reform the military,” he said.

Rajapaksa says he does not believe that foreign Governments should be sponsoring the reform of Sri Lanka’s armed forces nor should any such reform be done due to pressure from overseas. (Colombo Gazette)

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