Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Accused Sri Lankan war criminal dies in Colombo hospital

A former commander of the Sri Lankan army who stands accused of war crimes and human rights abuses passed away in Colombo on Monday.

General Rohan Daluwatte assumed command of the Sri Lankan army in April 1996 and also led a massive military offensive into Jaffna.

During the offensive, over half a million Tamil men, women and children fled their homes in Jaffna, in what became known as the Jaffna exodus. General Daluwatte claimed "lusty cheers and loud cries of delight by prancing exuberant crowds greeted the troops on the march”, whilst thousands were fleeing the oncoming military.

The former army commander was also in charge at the time of the infamous Chemmani murders and subsequent mass grave in Jaffna. Amnesty International said in 1997 that as many as 600 people who "disappeared" in the Jaffna peninsula after the Sri Lankan Army moved into the area in 1996, "died under torture or been deliberately killed."

In the course of his military career he was awarded several of Sri Lanka's highest medals and decorations. He never faced an investigation into crimes committed.

He is set to have full military honours at his funeral rites at the Borella Public Cemetery on Wednesday.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.