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SF released me from military ops: Jayasuriya

2 September 2017 06:10 am - 25     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Brazil, General (Retd.) Jagath Jayasuriya yesterday rejected the war crimes allegations levelled against him and said the then Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka in a written document had exempted him from responsibilities of all military operations.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Mirror he said: “After all, General Fonseka was known to declare that it was he who did ‘everything’ to bring the war to an end.”

“I have the official document sent by Army Commander Fonseka during the latter part of the war, saying I have no responsibility for military operations,” he said.

Q: Why did you seek a change of career from military to diplomacy and did you actually ‘flee’ Brazil as reported by the foreign media amid war crime law suits?

A: I was selected as the Ambassador to Brazil at the end of my tenure as the Chief of Defence Staff. I took up the post and assumed duties in August 2015 for a term of two years. You don’t find many Sri Lankans in Brazil but the embassy with its staff did several projects to promote Sri Lanka in South America. We were able to hold the first ever Vesak Festival in Brazil with the support of other Asian countries. In June, this year I wrote to the then Foreign Secretary Esala Weerakoon saying that my tenure has been completed and if I’m being re-appointed as an Ambassador, I requested for that appointment be made to an Asian Country. On July 10, I received a reply saying the completion of the tenure has been approved and asked me to return before August 31. On August 7, I shipped my luggage and departed on the 27 from Brasilia. I Arrived in Sri Lanka on August 29 via São Paulo and Dubai.

Q: Were you aware of the ‘lawsuit’ filed against you before you left Brazil and why you think they had waited till the end of your tenure to make allegations?

A: I was not aware of the lawsuit. It only upon my arrival in Sri Lanka that I got to know about the news when chargé d'affaires of our embassy contacted me in the morning of August 29. He said media personnel are contacting the embassy to get a comment on this matter. Also, no one has filed a lawsuit in a court as reported by the media. The lawyer who had prepared the document had simply handed it over to the Federal Police of Brazil. In the document, they have requested the police to launch an investigation against the Sri Lankan Ambassador, to deprive diplomatic immunity of the Ambassador and to declare him a 'persona non grata' in the event the Sri Lankan government refused to cooperate with a probe.

The timing of the allegations is also questionable. Why wait till my tenure ended? They could have easily prepared this when I was still the Ambassador. I have questions as this could be an attempt to sling mud at me personally, to deprive me of a further appointment as an ambassador or based on some other hidden agenda.

Q: What do you have to say about the allegations levelled by the International Project of Truth and Justice (IPTJ) headed by Yasmin Sooka against you in connection with the torture that taken place at the Joseph Camp in Vavuniya?

A: Neither Sooka nor anyone else came there. All these allegations are those they bring up time to time changing the name of a person. This time they have levelled the same set of charges against me. Earlier, Kamal Gunaratne and Shanvendra Silva were targeted. There is no authenticity or any basis for these charges which are being made for the survival of some elements.

Q: Earlier this week, Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorale said she would take measures at a government level to remove any international or foreign barriers against you. Has she approached you?

A: If she has said so, it should be appreciated. Foreign travelling is something which would be affected by these allegations. Once, I had to move my transit point from Miami, US to Canada as I was not given clearance even for transit via the US when returning from Brazil. My wife was cleared for transit but not me. My daughter is in Australia and my son is in Hong Kong. The way some media reported the incident had affected them as well. I have to visit them from time to time. Embassies are reluctant to issue a visa even when there are mere allegations even without any basis. This is something I’m really concerned about.

Q: Would you be taking up the issue with the Government especially the Foreign Affairs Ministry?

A: Yes. I already have an appointment with Foreign Ministry Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam on Monday to handover official documents of ending my tenure as the Ambassador. I will raise this issue as well. I also spoke to the President’s Secretary and sought a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena.

Q: Are you satisfied with the measures being taken by the government to address war crimes allegations being levelled against the military occasionally?

A: No. I’m not satisfied with the action taken by the government so far. It should settle this issue before any other matter and settle this once and for all. It has been eight years since the end of the war but still baseless allegations, the same set of allegations, keep surfacing from time to time. (Lahiru Pothmulla)

  Comments - 25

  • sathees Saturday, 02 September 2017 06:36 AM

    so what really happened?

    ANTON Saturday, 02 September 2017 07:09 AM

    SRILANKAN "STAR WARS"

    Snowy Saturday, 02 September 2017 07:28 AM

    Nice! So you do not qualify for the "Ranaviruwa" tag. You are no "Baba". This is a good reminder for the government to stop appointing there fancy dress jokers as diplomats.

    Lanka Saturday, 02 September 2017 03:38 PM

    Snowy the puppet would wet his pants facing real life warriors.

    Emil van der Poorten Saturday, 02 September 2017 07:28 AM

    Typically, this government, like its predecessor, continues to obfuscate in the matter of war crimes.In a conflict as long as the anti-LTTE war, with armed forces equivalent to the Russian army, it is inevitable that both sides would have committed war crimes.The fact that successive governments have done nothing to address this issue will only leave a huge blot on Sri Lanka's history.Apart from what Sarath Fonseka's motivation might be, he should be afforded the opportunity of substantiating his allegations.

    Lanka Saturday, 02 September 2017 03:44 PM

    Van der Poorten, no government has the right to accept allegations of war crimes for the armed forces of a country who fought a depraved terrorist war against the people of the country. Sarath fonseka is a disgraceful general

    Tharuka Saturday, 02 September 2017 07:34 AM

    What a sad day for Sri Lanka with Generals washing their dirty linen in the open. Will the rulers reign in these officers?

    Bandara Saturday, 02 September 2017 07:37 AM

    This might tempt hostile diplomatic missions to entice other officers to come out against each other

    sarath Saturday, 02 September 2017 07:46 AM

    those who are willing to testify against JJ must be blessing in disguise to find an opportunity to take revenge. or else they may partners of the conspiracy

    Aussie Saturday, 02 September 2017 08:16 AM

    This is what you call " Ditta dhamma vedaneeya kamma".Thank you,Mr. Jagath jayasooriya.

    dave Saturday, 02 September 2017 08:23 AM

    GEN. Jayasooriya.. i don't thing you need to respond to SF's accusations in anyway. all what he says is hearsay.have you ever heard an army commander betraying his own comrades?..SF needs psychiatric help.

    Sri Lankans Saturday, 02 September 2017 08:31 AM

    Ha, ha, haaa!!!!

    Leo Saturday, 02 September 2017 08:34 AM

    MR did many bad things. Choosing Fonseka as the army commander by giving him an extension will prove to be most deadliest decision he made.

    BUSHEL Saturday, 02 September 2017 08:49 AM

    SF BLASTS AT ANY PERSON WHO IS IN DISAGREEMENT WITH HIM AS IF HE WAS ELECTED BY PEOPLE. PRESIDENT SHOULD DECIDE AND FINISH IT OFF SO THIS WILL NOT BE A TOPIC TIME TO TIME. EVEN CERTAIN MEDIA CHANNELS MAY USE THIS IN THERE PROGRAMES TO FOR THERE POPULARITY.

    Lord Wolfstein Saturday, 02 September 2017 09:14 AM

    Mr. Jayasuriya, you claim the accusations are baseless and you are innocent. Then you should take part in a court case against you, whether in Brazil or elsewhere to proof your innocent. If you not take part it would be a clear evidence of your guilt.

    gamni Saturday, 02 September 2017 09:18 AM

    so holding vesak celebrations in Brazil (probably inside the embassy) is the sole achievement of the SL High Commissioner???Do we really need to spend so much and have an embassy in Brazil?? where there are no SriLankans

    Ponsiva Saturday, 02 September 2017 10:15 PM

    Hai Gamini, I think you forgot that we are living in a banana republic. Nobody knows whats going on.

    ARTHUR Saturday, 02 September 2017 10:33 AM

    COST WAS NO FACTOR FOR MR AND THAT WAS WHY HE EVEN OPENED AN EMBASSY IN SEYCHELLES AND A BRANCH OF THE BOC TO LAUNDER MONEY.HE PAID A ROYAL VISIT TO ANOTHER DICTATOR UHURU KENYATA AND THE SC HAS DISMISSED HIM TODAY AS HE TRIED TO CONTINUE LIKE WHAT MR ATTEMPTED WITH HIS INFAMOUS 18TH AMENDMENT.

    Roy Saturday, 02 September 2017 11:01 AM

    Covering criminals in guise of patriotism is a safe way to escape here

    MSD Saturday, 02 September 2017 11:58 AM

    The truth that is more visible from all this is that large scale war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed by both side combatants.

    Anto Saturday, 02 September 2017 12:03 PM

    So all the retd. generals were afforded the opportunity to celebrate Wesak in foreign countries at state expense is a clear indication that they were complicit in war crimes, and ruse to white wash by sending them as ambassadors. . You can fool the locals masses but not foreign intelligence.

    Sivaponn Saturday, 02 September 2017 10:17 PM

    Well said Anto. Bravo Amigo.

    Abynayake Saturday, 02 September 2017 06:49 PM

    U all are war heros loved by peace loving Sri lankans foe ever. Dont quarell each other for other's political agenda or short term benefis pleeease we love U as Lankans

    nanda Saturday, 02 September 2017 06:59 PM

    THOSE WHO ACCORDED Field Marshal POST TO SF ALSO SHOULD BE condemned. SF is either mad or is burning within his mind with hate.

    surasena Saturday, 02 September 2017 09:11 PM

    Now I wonder how these guys won the war. Just stop behaving like kids and act like men.


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