Several British Tamil diaspora organisations have called on the UK Foreign Office to declare Sri Lanka’s Defence Attaché Brigadier BDSN Bothota a ‘persona non grata’ and allow him to be arrested and investigated for atrocity crimes and genocide.
“Sri Lanka’s military stands accused of committing grave atrocity crimes and genocide during the decades-long civil war,” wrote the ten organisations.
“During the war, in February 2008, Brigadier Bothota was elevated to a Lieutenant Colonel and appointed as the commander of the senior-most regiment of the Sri Lankan Army, namely 1st Reconnaissance Regiment Sri Lanka Armoured Corps. He served in this position until February 2009, playing a significant role in the Sri Lankan military during the final stages of the war.”
The organisations went on to state that in accrediting Brigadier BDSN Bothota, "the FCO has not done the necessary due diligence to ensure that potential human rights violators are prevented from entering the UK and being allowed to hold office in the UK”.
An attached dossier on Bothota detailed his military history, including his leading the 6th Regiment of the Armoured Corps.
“We call upon your office to set out in clear detailed terms, supported by evidence of the actions taken by Her Majesty’s Government, exactly how it has met and continues to meet all of its obligations imposed by international and domestic law arising from the acceptance of Brigadier Bothota as a Defence Attaché,” the organisations continued.
“Additionally, we seek an immediate declaration from the FCO that in accordance with its international and domestic obligations the UK will declare Brigadier Bothota a ‘persona non grata’, curtail his diplomatic visa in order to allow the Met Police to arrest him and investigate him for the offences he has committed.”
The letter comes just weeks after the Metropolitan Police confirmed that they had opened an investigation into allegations of war crimes committed by British mercenaries against Tamils in Sri Lanka.
See the full text of the letter here.