OCTOBER 24, 2011:Just days after Sri Lanka’s chief diplomatic envoy to Australia former Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe was named in an extensive war crimes dossier now being deliberated upon by the
Australian Federal Police, its President Mahinda Rajapakse has been slammed with another war crimes suit – this time in Victoria, Australia.
Already grappling with war crimes cases in the US, Sri Lanka’s President has had to delicately dance around the globe evading the service of summons and an increasing litany of litigation against him and his agents in the war.
Last Thursday (October 20, 2011) Victoria’s chief magistrate authorised the charges brought by an Australian to proceed, noting that they satisfied Victoria’s Criminal Procedure Act.
An Australian Jegan Waran who says he saw hospitals deliberately attacked by Sri Lankan forces has filed the war crimes charges against Sri Lanka’s president in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
Two years ago in 2007, Waran – a retired engineer left Sri Lanka for Australia, but he told ABC he is still haunted by what he saw in the hospitals and displaced persons camps at the end of the civil war. Waran had returned to Sri Lanka to offer what assistance he could, volunteering in Tamil hospitals, schools and displaced persons camps. It was here he told ABC that he witnessed Sri Lankan military forces deliberately attacking clearly-marked civilian infrastructure such as hospitals.
Patients were killed and patients who were in the hospital were killed, and there were other patients waiting for treatment, they were killed,” Mr Waran said.
The Lanka Standard learns that Rajapakse who is due to arrive in Perth, Australia for CHOGM today may consider scurrying back to Sri Lanka due to this new front of attack down under. Already last month, Rajapakse was seen cowering in his official car outside a Buddhist Vihare evading summons being served on him by agents of Bruce Fein, Attorney for Manoharan and others who have filed similar cases in Washington DC.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Australia Thisara Samarasinghe himself accused of war crimes vehemently denied the charges. He told Australian media “It is not the learning of Sri Lanka’s military to fire at a hospital. That has never happened in our military.”
Gotabaya says okay to shell hospitals in war time
Perhaps Mr Samarasinghe despite his high office is unaware that his Defence Secretary and presidential sibling Gotabaya Rajapakse is already on record telling the World’s media in video interviews during the last leg of the war, that hospitals and schools outside the no fire zone were legitimate targets in a time of war.
Mr. Samarasinghe, was a commander in the Sri Lankan navy in the closing stages of the war.
Be that as it may, the federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland will need to give final approval for the Australian indictments to proceed.
Mr Waran’s lawyer Rob Stary reportedly told Australian media they’d written to the commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and to the Commonwealth Attorney calling for action as President Rajapakse would be in Australia for CHOGM and it would be appropriate to conduct those investigations.
“These are not frivolous or vexatious complaints; they are bona fide credible complaints,” Mr Stary reportedly said.
However the Sri Lankan regime through Jackson MacDonald lawyers based in Perth rejected the allegations stating in part to ABC,
“The issue of the proceedings which are apparently to be the subject of your story are plainly a violation of Australia’s obligations under public international law. Furthermore, the purported proceedings are incompetent under Australian law.”
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