Fonseka’s shocking disclosure

September 11, 2018, 9:45 pm
people
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka’s recent admission that the cabinet had never discussed Sri Lanka’s response to alleged war crimes allegations highlighted the culpability on the part of the National Unity Government for depriving the country of a proper defence.

Cabinet regularly meets on Tuesday morning with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

The Sinha Regiment veteran and war-winning Army Chief said so at a media briefing at his ministry at Rajagiriya in response to a query posed by the writer. Fonseka’s disclosure was quite a shock. Fonseka claimed that since he joined the cabinet the issue had never been discussed with him. Fonseka explained that security matters had been discussed with him before the change of government in January 2015. Referring to Sri Lanka’s response to war crimes accusations, Fonseka said not a word had been spoken with him about it.

Obviously, Fonseka, too, hadn’t taken up the issue for obvious reasons. Fonseka’s Army brought the war to a successful conclusion in May 2009.

The UNP accommodated Fonseka in the cabinet in late February 2016 following the demise of National List MP M.K.D.S Gunawardena. The UNP rescued Fonseka after his Democratic Party failed to secure a single seat at the August 2015 parliamentary poll. Fonseka received the regional development portfolio.

Can the government justify its failure to explore ways and means of countering war crimes allegations especially against the backdrop of evidence contrary to the Geneva Resolution unanimously adopted in early October 2015?

Before discussing Fonseka’s revelation further, it would be pertinent to examine two other statements made by Fonseka’s colleagues in Nov 2017 (Dayasiri Jayasekera in his capacity as the Cabinet spokesperson) and Aug 2018 (Mahinda Samarasinghe in his capacity as the SLFP spokesperson).

Both Jayasekera and Samarasinghe acknowledged that cabinet of ministers had not discussed Sri Lanka’s defence nor examined the Geneva Resolution, respectively. The revelations made by Lord Naseby’s on the basis of wartime British High Commission dispatches (January-May 2009) exposed the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government deliberately depriving Sri Lanka a proper defence. Instead of utilizing Naseby disclosure in the House of Lords in mid Oct 2017, the government struggled to suppress UK dispatches. The following story was carried on Nov 16, 2017: War crimes: Cabinet spokesman provoked by query on govt. response to Naseby move

Cabinet spokesman and Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera yesterday (Nov 15, 2017) said that a statement made by Lord Naseby in the House of Lords would be used by the government appropriately at the right time, though the Cabinet was yet to discuss it.

Jayasekera said that they wouldn’t take up issues pursued by The Island the way the newspaper wanted. It had not been taken up by the Cabinet on the basis it wasn’t considered so grave a matter, the minister said. The minister initially asserted that Lord Naseby’s statement wasn’t directly relevant to the Geneva issue.

The SLFPer said so when The Island asked him whether the Cabinet of Ministers had discussed Lord Naseby’s defence of the previous administration as well as the armed forces on Oct 12 pertaining to war crimes allegations before it was taken up in parliament on Nov 14.

The Island also sought their stand on President Maithripala Sirisena’s admission on Nov 9 that some retired and serving army officers had been refused visas by certain countries.

Having faulted The Island for raising a question on the same lines, the Minister alleged that his comments in respect of the Geneva issue two weeks back at the post-Cabinet media briefing hadn’t been properly reported by The Island. Jayasekera also said that The Island was there only to raise the Geneva issue.

The Island rejected the Minister’s accusations and pointed out that the government’s opinion on Naseby’s statement was sought as the British Lord had said that a maximum of 7,000-8,000 died on the Vanni front not 40,000 as alleged by a UN panel and Sri Lanka never purposely targeted the civilian population. Lord Naseby also pointed out that of them, one fourth were LTTE cadres.

Minister Gayantha Karunatilleke and Military Spokesman Maj. Gen. Roshan Seneviratne refrained from commenting on the issue.

Minister Jayasekera said they really appreciated Naseby’s defence and it was a victory for Sri Lanka.”

The relevant section of the story carried on Aug 18, 2018: Cabinet never discussed 2009, 2015 Geneva Resolutions – MS

One-time presidential human rights envoy and the incumbent Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe on Thursday (Aug 16) acknowledged that Sri Lanka’s decision to co-sponsor the Geneva Resolution 30/1 in Oct 2015 hadn’t been discussed by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Vice President of the SLFP and party spokesman Samarasinghe said that the Foreign Ministry had handled the post-war process that led to the agreement on the Geneva Resolution. Samarasinghe asserted that there was no requirement to take it up at the Cabinet.

Samarasinghe said so when The Island asked him whether the Cabinet of Ministers had discussed the issue in the run up to the controversial decision to co-sponsor Geneva Resolution in Oct 2015 and acted on revelations that came from wartime British High Commission dispatches from Colombo that cleared Sri Lanka of killing 40,000 civilians on the Vanni east front in the final phase of the war.

Samarasinghe acknowledged that Lord Naseby’s revelations made to the British House of Lords, too, hadn’t been discussed at the Cabinet.

Samarasinghe explained that the previous Rajapaksa government adopted a similar strategy in respect of the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution passed in May 2009 celebrating the battlefield defeat of the LTTE.

Sri Lanka brought the war to a successful conclusion on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon in May 2009.

The then minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights Samarasinghe emphasized that the procedure leading to the resolution had been handled by the mission there in consultation with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Defence Ministry.

Sri Lanka itself submitted the resolution stressing its sovereign right to act without outside interference, which received the approval of the Human Rights Council.

Samarasinghe said that neither the 2009 nor 2015 Resolutions had been discussed at the cabinet but following the second declaration President Maithripala Sirisena on several occasions categorically rejected foreign judges in a domestic judicial process.
marapana
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka’s recent admission that the cabinet had never discussed Sri Lanka’s response to alleged war crimes allegations highlighted the culpability on the part of the National Unity Government for depriving the country of a proper defence.

Cabinet regularly meets on Tuesday morning with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

The Sinha Regiment veteran and war-winning Army Chief said so at a media briefing at his ministry at Rajagiriya in response to a query posed by the writer. Fonseka’s disclosure was quite a shock. Fonseka claimed that since he joined the cabinet the issue had never been discussed with him. Fonseka explained that security matters had been discussed with him before the change of government in January 2015. Referring to Sri Lanka’s response to war crimes accusations, Fonseka said not a word had been spoken with him about it.

Obviously, Fonseka, too, hadn’t taken up the issue for obvious reasons. Fonseka’s Army brought the war to a successful conclusion in May 2009.

The UNP accommodated Fonseka in the cabinet in late February 2016 following the demise of National List MP M.K.D.S Gunawardena. The UNP rescued Fonseka after his Democratic Party failed to secure a single seat at the August 2015 parliamentary poll. Fonseka received the regional development portfolio.

Can the government justify its failure to explore ways and means of countering war crimes allegations especially against the backdrop of evidence contrary to the Geneva Resolution unanimously adopted in early October 2015?

Before discussing Fonseka’s revelation further, it would be pertinent to examine two other statements made by Fonseka’s colleagues in Nov 2017 (Dayasiri Jayasekera in his capacity as the Cabinet spokesperson) and Aug 2018 (Mahinda Samarasinghe in his capacity as the SLFP spokesperson).

Both Jayasekera and Samarasinghe acknowledged that cabinet of ministers had not discussed Sri Lanka’s defence nor examined the Geneva Resolution, respectively. The revelations made by Lord Naseby’s on the basis of wartime British High Commission dispatches (January-May 2009) exposed the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government deliberately depriving Sri Lanka a proper defence. Instead of utilizing Naseby disclosure in the House of Lords in mid Oct 2017, the government struggled to suppress UK dispatches. The following story was carried on Nov 16, 2017: War crimes: Cabinet spokesman provoked by query on govt. response to Naseby move

Cabinet spokesman and Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera yesterday (Nov 15, 2017) said that a statement made by Lord Naseby in the House of Lords would be used by the government appropriately at the right time, though the Cabinet was yet to discuss it.

Jayasekera said that they wouldn’t take up issues pursued by The Island the way the newspaper wanted. It had not been taken up by the Cabinet on the basis it wasn’t considered so grave a matter, the minister said. The minister initially asserted that Lord Naseby’s statement wasn’t directly relevant to the Geneva issue.

The SLFPer said so when The Island asked him whether the Cabinet of Ministers had discussed Lord Naseby’s defence of the previous administration as well as the armed forces on Oct 12 pertaining to war crimes allegations before it was taken up in parliament on Nov 14.

The Island also sought their stand on President Maithripala Sirisena’s admission on Nov 9 that some retired and serving army officers had been refused visas by certain countries.

Having faulted The Island for raising a question on the same lines, the Minister alleged that his comments in respect of the Geneva issue two weeks back at the post-Cabinet media briefing hadn’t been properly reported by The Island. Jayasekera also said that The Island was there only to raise the Geneva issue.

The Island rejected the Minister’s accusations and pointed out that the government’s opinion on Naseby’s statement was sought as the British Lord had said that a maximum of 7,000-8,000 died on the Vanni front not 40,000 as alleged by a UN panel and Sri Lanka never purposely targeted the civilian population. Lord Naseby also pointed out that of them, one fourth were LTTE cadres.

Minister Gayantha Karunatilleke and Military Spokesman Maj. Gen. Roshan Seneviratne refrained from commenting on the issue.

Minister Jayasekera said they really appreciated Naseby’s defence and it was a victory for Sri Lanka.”

The relevant section of the story carried on Aug 18, 2018: Cabinet never discussed 2009, 2015 Geneva Resolutions – MS

One-time presidential human rights envoy and the incumbent Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe on Thursday (Aug 16) acknowledged that Sri Lanka’s decision to co-sponsor the Geneva Resolution 30/1 in Oct 2015 hadn’t been discussed by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Vice President of the SLFP and party spokesman Samarasinghe said that the Foreign Ministry had handled the post-war process that led to the agreement on the Geneva Resolution. Samarasinghe asserted that there was no requirement to take it up at the Cabinet.

Samarasinghe said so when The Island asked him whether the Cabinet of Ministers had discussed the issue in the run up to the controversial decision to co-sponsor Geneva Resolution in Oct 2015 and acted on revelations that came from wartime British High Commission dispatches from Colombo that cleared Sri Lanka of killing 40,000 civilians on the Vanni east front in the final phase of the war.

Samarasinghe acknowledged that Lord Naseby’s revelations made to the British House of Lords, too, hadn’t been discussed at the Cabinet.

Samarasinghe explained that the previous Rajapaksa government adopted a similar strategy in respect of the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution passed in May 2009 celebrating the battlefield defeat of the LTTE.

Sri Lanka brought the war to a successful conclusion on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon in May 2009.

The then minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights Samarasinghe emphasized that the procedure leading to the resolution had been handled by the mission there in consultation with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Defence Ministry.

Sri Lanka itself submitted the resolution stressing its sovereign right to act without outside interference, which received the approval of the Human Rights Council.

Samarasinghe said that neither the 2009 nor 2015 Resolutions had been discussed at the cabinet but following the second declaration President Maithripala Sirisena on several occasions categorically rejected foreign judges in a domestic judicial process.

By Shamindra Ferdinando



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