President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka has appointed an alarming collection of alleged perpetrators of war crimes and bureaucrats previously accused of corruption to his new government, said the International Truth and Justice Project.
The legal research organisation published a trilingual infographic depicting President Rajapaksa’s inner circle, which now includes six Generals and Brigadiers from the President’s Gajaba Regiment, whom he has put in key positions like Commander of the Army, Chief of Defence Staff, Secretary of Defence and Chief of National Intelligence. Two of the Generals from the Gajaba Regiment served directly under Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 1989 in Matale District, when official records show at least seven hundred Sinhalese disappeared in army and police custody while he was the District Military Coordinator. Fourteen military and police officials now holding crucial official roles served under Gotabaya Rajapaksa during the civil war while he was the powerful and much feared secretary of defence.
“Sri Lanka is now run by a collection of military officers many of whom will have to answer in a court one day for their complicity in the alleged killings of tens of thousands of their citizens in both 1989 and 2009, as well as alleged corruption,” said the Executive Director of the International Truth and Justice Project, Yasmin Sooka.
The international community previously invested in an ambitious transitional justice programme for Sri Lanka based on a series of joint UN Resolutions at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Part of that was a commitment to security sector reform and the vetting and screening.
“With army generals like these in power it is clear the country is not vetting and screening public officials for their human rights records. However it remains incumbent on member states who sponsored the Resolutions in Geneva to uphold these values,” said Sooka.