SRI LANKA: A certain rights group documenting alleged reports of human rights abuse in Sri Lanka has recently filed a criminal complaint with the office of Singapore’s Attorney General, seeking the detention of former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa for his criminal behaviour in his country’s civil war.
The International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) drafted a 63-page complaint on Saturday, highlighting how Rajapaksa’s political and military actions deliberately breached the Geneva Conventions during the final days of Sri Lanka’s perpetual 25-year-long civil war when he was the country’s supreme military and defence leader.
The South Africa-based ITJP argued that based on universal jurisdiction, the alleged abuses highlighted in the complaint calls for prosecution in Singapore, where the former leader fled after months of military and political rebellion in the country due to the breakdown of infrastructure, politics and economy.
ITJP executive director Yasmin Sooka confirmed that the complaint was registered through a telephonic conversation with Al Jazeera on Sunday.
“We believe he has a case to answer. The legal complaint argues that Gotabaya Rajapaksa committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and violations of international humanitarian law and international criminal law during the civil war in Sri Lanka which include murder, execution, torture and inhuman treatment, rape, and other forms of sexual violence, deprivation of liberty, severe bodily and mental harm and starvation,” she said.
Sri Lanka concluded its civil war between the separatist rebels from the ethnic Tamil minority and the government forces in 2009. Human rights organisations condemned and accused both sides of abuse and terror.
Sooka also added, “Gotabaya in September 2008 ordered the immediate withdrawal of the United Nations and relief agencies from the war zone to ensure that there would be no witnesses to the carnage that was unleashed on [Tamil] civilians by the Sri Lankan army. Our submission to the attorney general calls for the arrest, investigation and indictment of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. That is the basis of our case.”
While Rajapaksa could not be reached for comment through Sri Lanka’s High Commission in Singapore, he has repeatedly and vehemently denied all allegations of his criminal activities in the civil war.
Even the office of Singapore’s Attorney General would not comment on the complaint. The country’s foreign ministry has said that Rajapaksa entered Singapore on a private visit and has neither sought nor been granted asylum.