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Rights group seeks arrest of ex-Sri Lanka president in Singapore | Human Rights Information

The Worldwide Fact and Justice Venture says Gotabaya Rajapaksa dedicated grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions in the course of the civil warfare.

A rights group documenting alleged abuses in Sri Lanka has filed a felony criticism with Singapore’s lawyer common, in search of the arrest of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for his function within the island nation’s decades-long civil warfare.

In its 63-page criticism filed on Saturday, the Worldwide Fact and Justice Venture (ITJP) mentioned Rajapaksa dedicated grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions over the last days of a 25-year-long civil warfare when he was the nation’s chief defence official.

Sri Lanka ended the civil warfare between separatist rebels from the ethnic Tamil minority and authorities forces in 2009. Rights teams accused each side of abuses in the course of the warfare.

The South Africa-based ITJP argued that primarily based on common jurisdiction, the alleged abuses have been topic to prosecution in Singapore the place the 73-year-old former chief fled after months of unrest over his nation’s worst financial disaster in a long time.

Rajapaksa submitted his resignation from Singapore, a day after fleeing on July 13, when anti-government protesters stormed the workplaces and official residences of the president and the prime minister.

ITJP government director Yasmin Sooka confirmed submitting the criticism in a phone interview with Al Jazeera on Sunday.

“We imagine he has a case to reply. The authorized criticism argues that Gotabaya Rajapaksa dedicated grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and violations of worldwide humanitarian legislation and worldwide felony legislation in the course of the civil warfare in Sri Lanka which embody homicide, execution, torture and inhuman remedy, rape, and different types of sexual violence, deprivation of liberty, extreme bodily and psychological hurt, and hunger,” she mentioned.

“Gotabaya in September 2008 ordered the quick withdrawal of the United Nations and reduction businesses from the warfare zone to be able to be certain that there can be no witnesses to the carnage that was unleashed on [Tamil] civilians by the Sri Lankan military. Our submission to the lawyer common requires the arrest, investigation and indictment of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. That’s the foundation of our case.”

The ITJP assisted in two civil lawsuits in opposition to Rajapaksa, proceedings for considered one of which have been served in a California car parking zone in 2019. Rajapaksa was a US citizen on the time.

Each instances have been withdrawn after Rajapaksa was granted diplomatic immunity upon turning into president later that yr.

Rajapaksa couldn’t be reached for remark via Sri Lanka’s Excessive Fee in Singapore. He has beforehand strenuously denied allegations he was accountable for rights abuses in the course of the warfare.

A spokesperson for Singapore’s lawyer common didn’t reply to a request for remark. The nation’s overseas ministry has mentioned Rajapaksa entered the Southeast Asian city-state on a personal go to and had not sought or been granted asylum.

Shubhankar Dam, a professor on the College of Portsmouth College of Regulation in Britain who has taught in Singapore, mentioned whereas its courts have been capable of attempt alleged warfare crimes, genocide, and torture, it has repeatedly said that such jurisdiction ought to solely be invoked because the final resort.

“Whereas neutrality is just not formally enshrined in Singapore’s overseas coverage, it has lengthy cultivated a type of even-handedness,” Dam mentioned.

“Any choice to prosecute a former overseas head of state needs to be balanced in opposition to its overseas coverage targets.”

Saroj Pathirana contributed to this report from Colombo, Sri Lanka



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