A ranking member of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee has expressed concern over the appointment of a Sri Lankan commander who led a military offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils, to chief of staff of the Sri Lankan army, stating that it could impact on the United States’ defence relationship with Colombo.
“I’m concerned over the appointment of Shavendra Silva, named by the UN as playing a major role in orchestrating war crimes, as #SriLanka’s Army Chief of Staff,” said ranking member of the US House Foreign Committee member, Elliot Engel.
“This could have ramifications for U.S.-Sri Lanka defense cooperation,” he tweeted.
“Appointing someone the UN believes is a war criminal to serve as Chief of Army staff is how not to demonstrate your sincerity in holding war criminals accountable. “
His comments come following international outrage at the appointment of Silva, with criticism from several Tamil diaspora groups and human rights organisations.
Silva has been dubbed the “most wanted man in Sri Lanka” by the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) with calls for him to face prosecution for his involvement in the massacres that saw hospitals shelled and surrendering Tamils executed.