Fifty names to be included as ‘war heroes’; Moves afoot to create public sympathy.
The government has received information that plans were afoot to release a “fake” UNHRC war crimes report to benefit the election campaign of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a top government spokesman told the Daily News.
The fake war crimes report is likely to be released locally within the first week of August, nearly two weeks before the Parliamentary election. In the report, nearly 50 names will be included as “war heroes” against whom war crimes charges have been leveled, the spokesman added.
“Among them will be former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, former commanders of the three forces and top army officers who played active roles during the final phase of war,” he said.
“The ‘fake report’ is being prepared to create public sympathy for the former President and his sibling,” he said.
“They will claim the ‘war crimes report’ will send war heroes to the electric chairs and ask people to vote for Rajapaksa to protect Sri Lanka’s armed sources,” the spokesman said.
Rajapaksa is contesting the election from the Kurunegala district where there is a sizable proportion of voters coming from families of soldiers.
At the inaugural rally of the UPFA held in Anuradhapura last Friday, ultra-nationalist sentiments were expressed by some key speakers who addressed the meeting, demonstrating that the Rajapaksa campaign would heavily gravitate towards Sinhala-Buddhist sections of the country.
The report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka will be presented at UNHRC’s 30th sessions in Geneva from September 14 to October 2.
President Maithripala Sirisena is set to receive an advance copy of the report on August 21. Although the report was scheduled to be presented at the last session in March, the Sri Lankan government managed to delay it by six months through diplomatic manoeuvres.
Christi Mahesh de Silva