Sri Lanka’s prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged not to prosecute Sri Lankan soldiers for war crimes and claimed that “Tamil people are now free to live as they wish” as security forces halted commemorations events in the North-East.
“On the 19th of May we mark the 11th anniversary of the victory against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,” said Rajapaksa, who was president at the time of the offensive, eleven years ago. Tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were massacred by state forces, in an anniversary that is now remembered across the world as Tamil Genocide Day.
“That was not a war against the Tamil people,” claimed Rajapaksa. “Due to the defeat of the LTTE, Tamil people are now free to live as they wish.”
“On this 11th Anniversary of the war victory that amazed the whole world, I wish to reiterate that the manner in which the Yahapalana government betrayed our armed forces internationally and the vicious manner in which they persecuted both retired and serving members of the armed forces have not been forgotten,” Rajapaksa declared. “We once again pledge that justice will be done to all those who faced humiliation and persecution under the Yahapalana government.”
“The armed forces and police that amazed the entire world by winning what was widely considered to be an unwinnable war, are now once again engaged in a joint operation with the state health sector in combating Covid-19,” he continued.
Rajapaksa went on to staunchly defend the military in his statement, stating “the Ranaviru constituency is now an integral part of the Sangha, Weda, Guru, Govi, Kamkaru social line up of former times”.
“So, whenever we happen to be in power, there will always be former members of the armed forces and police holding various positions in the government,” he added, as he dismissed the intensifying militarisation on the island.
“If a retired member of the armed forces is appointed to some position in the government, that is being portrayed by the opposition as ‘militarization’,” he claimed. “A person who has retired from the armed forces is a civilian and no longer a member of the military.”