Gotabhaya denies war crimes, criticises calls for accountability

Ex-defense minister and brother of the former President, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, denied allegations of war crimes against him and hinted a possible entry into Sri Lanka politics. The Criminal Investigations Department told Sri Lankan courts last week that the former defense minister ran ‘top secret death squads,’ which was responsible for the assassination of political opponents and journalists. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa denied such claims stating that, “a lot of things happened without my knowledge,” and that he was working on a “policy and strategy level and not on things at the tactical level”. In...

Mullikulam villagers protest for sixth day amidst heavy surveillance

Residents of a Mannar village have been protesting for six days demanding the return of their navy-occupied land.

Kilinochchi march against military occupation of public lands

Kilinochchi locals marched calling for the withdrawal of the Sri Lankan army from public lands, in particular from the Vaddakkachchi Agricultural Farm, which is currently being used as a military camp.

Sri Lanka's president found to be paying for promotion on social media

Sri Lanka’s president Maithripala Sirisena has been using public funds to boost his image via social media, reports Colombo Telegraph. A right to information request has been field by members of civil society to ascertain the total amount of expenditure. The issue was raised after Sirisena’s Facebook page was found to be using Facebook’s paid promotion service.

UN Human Rights Chief orders probe into intimidation of Tamil activists at UNHRC

UN Human Rights Commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, expressed his concern regarding the reports of intimidation against Tamil activists in Geneva. “Assistant Secretary-General Andrew Gilmour, the system-wide coordinator for action on reprisals, will be looking into this, and I trust, Mr President, you will also give these cases close attention,” he said. International rights activists have given information to UN authorities regarding the harassment of Tamils who have been involved in the process in Geneva.

TNA welcomes UNHRC resolution, calls on international community to ensure implementation of 30/1

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) welcomed the adoption of UN Human Rights Council resolution 34/L 1, which grants Sri Lanka two more years to implement the unmet actions outlined in resolution 30/1 from October 2015. “We urge the Government of Sri Lanka to honor its commitment with regard to these resolutions and implement the same in letter and spirit. In keeping with its commitments, we also urge the government to sincerely address the issues of land release, the detention of Tamil political prisoners, grievances of the families of missing persons, and the enactment of constitutional...

Sri Lanka's justice minister says war crimes inquiry will harm reconciliation

Sri Lanka's justice minister, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe criticised the international community for making what he described as 'unrealistic demands' of Sri Lanka, the Daily Mirror reported. Speaking at a debate in parliament on Thursday, Mr Rajapakshe said investigating war crimes whilst promoting reconciliation was "not realistic at all." "Reconciliation and probing crimes which took place during the war is like railway tracks which never get together. Probing war time crimes will actually create tension among ethnic groups," he added.

Indian government feels anguish over Sri Lanka's war crimes says minister

The Indian government feels anguish and pain over the war crimes committed by Sri Lanka's military against Tamil civilians, the External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj was quoted by The Hindu as saying on Friday. “The anguish with which the members have raised the issue [of crimes committed during the war of 2009], the government associates itself with the same pain,” Ms Swaraj was quoted by the paper as saying. “Our aim is to protect the interests of Tamils in Sri Lanka. You can achieve this through two means: by either doing it forcefully or through persuasion with the friendly country."...

Zeid: Sri Lanka's unwillingness to investigate reinforces need for hybrid court

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday criticised what he described as Sri Lanka's "consistent failure to effectively investigate, prosecute and punish serious crimes" arguing that such failure "appears to reflect a broader reluctance or fear to take action against members of the security forces". Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein highlighted a number of areas on which Sri Lanka had failed to take any or adequate action on. "In the face of rising frustration among victims, a number of confidence building measures must be accelerated. These include...

Gotabhaya blames Fonseka for Sri Lanka death squads

The former Sri Lankan defence minister, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who was named by the country's Criminal Investigation Department as running death squads in a report submitted to a Magistrate's Court this week, sought to deflect responsibility to the former army commander, Sarath Fonseka. “He [Fonseka] was the army commander at that time," Mr Rajapaksa told The Hindu on Tuesday. "If he knew of such a death squad, why did he not take any action on them. He was completely wrong in not taking action."