2ND LEAD (Adds details)

EU demands release of Fonseka, Colombo told

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 May 2010, 12:40 GMT]
Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the opposition and the United National Party (UNP) Thursday informed Sri Lanka' parliament that the European Commission has demanded the release of Sarath Fonseka from detention as a condition for granting GSP+ preferential trade status, parliamentary sources in Colombo said. Meanwhile, Fonseka has told AFP that he would "expose" any war crimes committed during the end of the country's civil war last year and said he would go "out of his way" to assist with a probe, AFP reported.

The continued detention of Fonseka has become an issue in the European Parliament. The European Parliament Wednesday discussed the continuous detention of Fonseka.

"The act of preventing Fonseka attending parliament on Wednesday is clear violation of his parliamentary privileges. A court martial is not a judicial institution that cannot have precedence over Parliament. The Army Act is constituted under the law passed by the parliament. Hence it cannot have precedence over the parliament," Wickremesinghe said.

Meanwhile, in a report that will likely irk Colombo, Fonseka reportedly told AFP: "I will go out of my way to expose anyone who has committed war crimes," Fonseka told reporters. "I will not protect anyone, from the very top to the bottom."

"It is not patriotic to protect anyone who has caused injustices to Tamil youth," AFP quoted Fonseka as saying, adding that he himself was not personally aware of any instances of abuses but wanted all allegations investigated.

Fonseka, the architect of the military offensive against the Tamil Tigers, has accused Sri Lanka president's brother, defence secretary Gotobhaya Rajapakse, of ordering the execution of surrendering rebels in the final stages of fighting, AFP report said.

Spokesperson for US-based activist group, Tamils Aganist Genocide (TAG), reacting to Fonseka statements, said: "TAG believes that besides Sarath Fonseka, other military personnel who held high positions during the period when war-crimes allegedly occurred, and who have been sidelined, treated with disrespect or terminated by the Rajapakas will likely be coming forward in the not too distant future to expose the crimes. In the meantime, expatriate Tamils should patiently collect credible eye-witness evidence to bring the perpetrators of war-crimes to justice."


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