News / Asia

Sri Lanka's Ex-Army Head Ready to Face Allegations of War Crimes

Sri Lanka's former army chief Sarath Fonseka gestures while speaking during a media briefing in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 14, 2012.Sri Lanka's former army chief Sarath Fonseka gestures while speaking during a media briefing in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 14, 2012.
x
Sri Lanka's former army chief Sarath Fonseka gestures while speaking during a media briefing in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 14, 2012.
Sri Lanka's former army chief Sarath Fonseka gestures while speaking during a media briefing in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 14, 2012.
Reuters
Sri Lanka's former army chief, who led the military to victory at the end of a three-decade conflict against Tamil Tiger rebels, has said he is ready to face questions about allegations of war crimes.

Sri Lanka is under Western and U.N. pressure to conduct an independent investigation into conduct during the war where, rights groups say, the former army chief and others are implicated in shooting fighters as they sought to surrender.

Sarath Fonseka told reporters he was ready to answer questions on his record in a war in whose final months, in 2009, tens of thousands of civilians were killed, according to a U.N. panel.

"If somebody is shy and tries to hide from facing questions, then obviously, people will start suspecting more and more," Fonseka told a Foreign Correspondents' Association forum late on Tuesday.

"In my case I have no problem like that and I am ready to answer anybody and clarify any doubt. If anybody questions me, I am ready to answer," he said.

Fonseka said the military under his command fought the war professionally according to international law and he was confident they had not violated human rights. If there was "specific evidence" which merited an inquiry, he said: "If anybody questions me I will answer. I'm ready to answer."

The U.N. Human Rights Council has called on Sri Lanka to investigate human rights violations during and after the war. The government says it has been implementing the recommendations via a local commission as requested by the United Nations.

Since the war ended, Fonseka has fallen out with the government and served jail time for crimes including corruption and engaging in politics while in uniform.

Fonseka ran for president in 2010 but lost to Mahinda Rajapaksa who has ruled the island state since 2005. Rights groups also say Rajapaksa has not addressed the war crimes allegations, something he denies.

Still popular among many Sri Lankans, Fonseka is seen as a potential political threat to Rajapaksa, despite the fact that his jail record means he cannot run for election for the next seven years.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More