(December 22, Colombo - Lanka Polity) The interview given by opposition presidential candidate of Sri Lanka Sarath Fonseka to the Sunday Leader newspaper on December 13, 2009 wherein he alleges that three Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) leaders who came to surrender with white flags during the final stages of the battle were shot dead by ground troops that were following the orders of Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has opened an UN probe into possible war crimes charges against the government.
However, the government ahead of an unexpected competition in the presidential on January 26 has decided to manipulate the scenario to rouse patriotism among masses and to bank the floating votes disregarding the risk factor. The government has assigned Sinhala nationalist ex-Marxist Wimal Weerawansa, the leader of the National Freedom Front (JNP), to run a campaign to grow hatred among security forces against Fonseka. He also begs to people to come to streets in defense of the Rajapaksas to show gratitude for the service they rendered in wiping out terrorism.
Weerawansa, who has begun to advise the government in legal affairs since recent times urged issuing a press statement, to bring Sarath Fonseka before the martial court and punish him under martial law.Weerawansa is delivering a series of fiery speeches in this regard and urges the government to forget the presidential and to take action to avoid further betrayals.
However, the more responsible government politicians including arch Sinhala nationalist militant leader of the National Heritage (JHU) Champika Ranawaka have been instructed by the government to be prudential since the government has been advised to face the problem diplomatically.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Philip Alston in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa has demanded an explanation regarding the allegations made by Fonseka that the Defence Secretary has instructed the Commander of the 58th Brigade of the Sri Lanka Army to shoot those surrendering.
The United Nations is inquiring particularly “the circumstances of the death of three representatives of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Balasingham Nadeshan, Seevaratnam Pulidevan and Ramesh, as well as members of their families, in the night of 17 to 18 May, 2009.”
In his letter, Alston says that the information that he has received are based on the allegations made by Sarath Fonseka in the above mentioned interview. He also says “accounts of journalists embedded with the SLA 58th Brigade confirm some of the alleged circumstances of the deaths of Nadeshan, Pulidevan and Ramesh and their families.” Referring to “fundamental legal rules applicable to all armed conflicts under international humanitarian law and human rights law”, particularly Article 5 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the Special Rapporteur has inquired about the accuracy of the allegations and demanded information and documentary proof in the event that the accusations are inaccurate.The letter also seeks information on the family members of Nadeshan , Pulidevan and Ramesh.