The International Committee of Jurists (ICJ) has called on the new President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government to uphold human rights and rule of law and ensure that Sri Lanka sustains its international obligations and commitments to justice and accountability.
“Gotabaya Rajapaksa faces credible allegations of involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity that took place during the country’s armed conflict,” ICJ has noted in a statement.
“The election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, after a highly polarizing campaign, has alarmed human rights defenders in Sri Lanka and abroad, who have little reason to believe that someone facing such serious allegations of perpetrating human rights violations can be relied upon to meet the country’s obligations under international law,” Frederick Rawski, ICJ Asia Pacific Director has said.
“Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who won the presidency with 52.25% of votes, served as Sri Lanka’s Secretary of the Ministry of Defence from 2005 to 2015 during the tenure of his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, at the height of the armed conflict against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE),” ICJ has noted.
“Both the military and LTTE perpetrated war crimes and gross human rights violations during the conflict, and particularly during its bloody final stages. As Defence Secretary, Gotabaya was accused of ordering the killing of surrendering LTTE fighters, ordering strikes on civilians and hospitals, and authorizing attacks on human rights defenders,” ICJ has added.