UK accused of permitting alleged war-criminal to escape prosecution

[TamilNet, Friday, 06 April 2012, 03:02 GMT]
Questions have been raised over the failure of the British Foreign Office to investigate Prasanna de Silva, ex-Sri Lanka army general alleged to be complicit in war-crimes, as reports emerged that the Mr Silva's return to Sri Lanka is imminent, sources in London said. European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) assisted by Society for Threatened Peoples Switzerland, and TRIAL, submitted to the British Foreign Office in January 2012, a 28-page dossier on the alleged involvement of De Silva in war crimes committed during the last months of the Sri Lankan civil war. The dossier is widely believed to be the reason for De Silva's war crimes predicament, according to political observers in UK.

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), an active diaspora group, last week sought to bring a judicial review against UK's foreign secretary over refusal to declare military attache persona non grata alleging that Silva was involved in systematic attacks on Tamil civilians between January and May 2009 when he was a senior commander in the Sri Lankan army.

Prasanna de Silva, Ex-Commander of 55th Division
Prasanna de Silva, Ex-Commander of 55th Division
Fred Carver, the campaign director of the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, said he could not believe that the British government had accepted Silva's diplomatic accreditation in the first place, the Guardian said.

The paper, quoting Carver, added, "Any intern equipped with Google and a working mouse could have determined that there were credible allegations against Silva. Now they know what they should have previously suspected and investigated, they should not hesitate to revoke it before it is too late. If they do nothing then Silva's unhindered return will be rightly interpreted as signifying that Britain is soft on war crimes suspects," the paper said.

Siobhain McDonagh, the Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden and vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group for Tamils, described the FCO's failure to act sooner on the dossier as "unfathomable, the paper said.

"It does seem extraordinary [for the FCO] to take no action and just rely upon the Sri Lankan government to withdraw him," she said. "Given the evidence and that the government saw the dossier from the NGOs, why on earth did they take no action?" the Guardian said quoting McDonagh.

In a Factual Supplement to the Report to Congress on Sri Lanka's war on violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, the US Department of State today accused the 55th Division which was commanded by Prasanna de Silva as responsible for shelling hospitals.

US report said: "UN Panel of Expert [PoE] report concludes that “Virtually every hospital in the Vanni, whether permanent or makeshift, was hit by artillery.” The Panel found that the PTK [Puthukkudiyiruppu] Hospital was shelled every day from January 29 to February 4 most likely by the 55th Division of the SLA. The GSL claimed that no hospitals remained in the Vanni, but the POE report found that the UN and ICRC continuously updated the government on the whereabouts of medical facilities and make-shift hospitals in the region. The POE report also mentions that testimony by government doctors from these hospitals may not be accurate because they initially claimed that government forces repeatedly fired on their facilities but later changed their stories to reflect the GSL’s position." US report said.

Prasanna de Silva is the second high level diplomat, after Jegath Dias, who will be leaving the post on the grounds of imminent prosecution based on alleged war-crimes and crimes against humanity.

In September 2011, Maj. Gen. (retd.) Jegath Dias, deputy Counsel in Sri Lanka’s embassy in Germany, and commander of Sri Lanka Army's (SLA's) 57th division during the last phase of the Sri Lanka war, was recalled by Colombo "in response to accusations he was involved in war crimes," according to Swiss media.

Shavendra Silva, another UN diplomat, was saved by "diplomatic immunity" from prosecution in a New York court over alleged war-crimes. Sri Lanka's President Rajapakse is also being sued in the Federal Court in the District of Columbia, despite the intervention of the US State Department which "suggested" immunity to Rajapakse.


Chronology:


Related Articles:
03.04.12   Plaintiffs file appeal on war-crimes case against Rajapakse ..
08.02.12   Boyle: Appointing alleged war-criminals to UN posts, a viola..
02.11.11   Shavendra raises immunity defense to escape torture charges
14.09.11   Colombo recalls Dias over war crimes prosecution fear
04.08.11   Rights groups urge Swiss Attorney General to prosecute Dias ..
04.05.11   German Rights Group accuses Dias of war-crimes
01.08.10   Dias case filed in European Court, German Ambassador meets S..


External Links:
ECCHR: The Prasanna De Silva Case
Guardian: Sri Lankan diplomat may avoid questioning on war crimes claims
Guardian: William Hague faces legal action over Sri Lankan diplomat war crimes claim
USGov: Factual Supplement to the Report to Congress ...

 

Latest 15 Reports
21.10.19 23:24  
SL Navy silently extends occupation of coastal lands at Kirimichchai in Batticaloa
20.10.19 23:58   Photo
Sinhala supporters of Gotabhaya encroach into pasturelands in Batticaloa
19.10.19 23:31  
Pentagon steps up maritime defence trade with India, UK seeks IOR opportunities
18.10.19 23:43   Photo
Monk backing Gotabhaya wants Tamil owners to stay away from their lands in interior Batticaloa
17.10.19 19:14   Photo
SL Police resorts to violence in grabbing lands of Tamil fishers in Batticaloa North
16.10.19 23:19   Photo
Chennai Connect and Eezham Tamils reminding Tamil Nadu to assert Tamil geopolitics
15.10.19 23:50  
Colombo destroys dairy-farming economy of Eezham Tamils in Batticaloa
14.10.19 23:48   Photo
Tamil parties in North-East stipulate ‘acid test’ terms to SL presidential candidates
13.10.19 22:15   Photo
SL Governor's latest land grab poses danger to archaeological traces of Eezham Tamils
12.10.19 22:23   Photo
Monks step up campaign against Muslims, want to carve out Sinhala colony in Ampaa'rai
11.10.19 22:07   Photo
Vote for Self-Determination, reject major candidates for more effective boycott
10.10.19 23:31   Photo
SL Police intensifies restrictions on Saiva devotees at disputed ‘chaitya’ hilltop in East
09.10.19 20:17  
Indian Coast Guard trespassed into waters off Jaffna, 18 fishers detained since 03 October
08.10.19 18:43  
Divisional Secretary, TNA MPs must act to release Chegnchoalai lands: civil activist
07.10.19 23:12   Photo
Heinous act by HRCSL: former orphans of Chegnchoalai on the brink of losing lands
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=35070