Investigation demanded against Australian over war Sri Lankan war crimes

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

AMSTERDAM - Two international Tamil organisations have lodged a complaint in the International Criminal Court against Palitha Kohona, an Australian citizen and senior Sri Lankan diplomat, accusing him of being involved in the murder of three surrendering Tamil Tigers.

Dr Kohona had played an important role in the surrender of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) members following their defeat in May 2009. A series of complaints about mass killings have surfaced since then, though Kohona and the Sri Lankan government has vehemently denied all such allegations, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Dr Kohona became an Australian citizen in the 1980s while working in Canberra with the Foreign Affairs Department, and is now the Sri Lankan government’s representative at the United Nations. During the 2008-09 civil war, which led to the defeat of the LTTE, he was the secretary of the Sri Lankan foreign affairs ministry and had reportedly played a role in negotiating the surrender of Tamil Tigers.

The surrendered militants include three senior Tiger members, Mahindran Balasingham, Seeveratnam Pulidevan and a man known only as Ramesh.

The trio had surrendered on May 18, 2009, the day after the Tigers admitted defeat. They had reportedly entered a negotiation deal along with a dozen of other members with the Sri Lankan army.

According to witnesses, they had waved a white flag when surrendering to show their intent, but as they walked into the army-controlled area, several people heard sounds of shots and explosions. Balasingham and Pulidevan have not been seen since and Ramesh was seen at a hospital months later but subsequently disappeared, the paper said.

The request, filed by the Swiss Council of Eelam Tamils and the US group Tamils Against Genocide, alleges that Dr Kohona was involved in the trio’s surrender in the days before their death.

“On about May 17, 2009, in the evening or night, Palitha Kohona communicated … that the surrendering Tamil Tigers members would be safe if they surrendered with a white flag raised,” the request claimed.

“Some time after 8.15am [the trio] walked towards SLA lines with a white flag, along with 12-40 combatants and non-combatants … the SLA attacked by gunfire,” it added. (ANI)

Filed under: Court, World

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