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War crimes: A comment on what experts say

The comments presented below are in response to an edited and abbreviated version of a legal opinion by Sir Desmond de Silva on “Permissible parameters of collateral damage” carried by The Island of April 10, 2015. The article states: “Currently whether or not an attack that results in civilian deaths is legal under international humanitarian law depends on whether the attack meets the requirements of three principles: (1) Distinction; (2) Military Necessity and (3) Proportionality. A violation of international humanitarian law only occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians, or if an attack is launched on a military objective with knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage”.


MR challenges govt. to reveal ‘secret bank accounts’

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has challenged the government to substantiate its claim that he, his wife, Shiranthi or sons, Namal, Yoshitha or Rohitha maintained ‘illegal or secret offshore accounts in any foreign bank’


The following is the full text of statement issued by the former President: “Prominent members of the government have been spreading rumours about billions of Dollars stashed abroad in secret offshore accounts by me, my wife and sons. The allegation is refreshed from time to time through strategically placed media reports about American and Indian financial intelligence bodies joining in the search and special teams being sent to the Seychelles to look for the hidden money. Some weeks ago, the cabinet spokesman had told Reuters that a member of a ‘leading family’ had $1064 million in a secret account in Dubai.


19 සම්මත වුණොත් ජනාධිපති පාලනය කරන්නෙත් අගමැති

ජනාධිපතිවරයා සතු විධායක බලතල සංවරණය කිරීමට යෝජිත 19 වැනි ව්‍යවස්‌ථා සංශෝධනය මේ දිනවල පුළුල් කතාබහකට ලක්‌ව ඇති මාතෘකාවකි. 19 වැනි ව්‍යවස්‌ථා සංශෝධනය යනු කුමක්‌ද? එයින් ජනාධිපතිවරයා සතු බලතල අඩු කරන්නේ කෙසේද? ජනාධිපති තනතුරට වැඩි බලතල ලබාදීම ජේ. ආර්. ජයවර්ධන ජනාධිපතිවරයා සකස්‌ කළ ආණ්‌ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්‌ථාවේ පදනම වූ බැවින් එම තනතුරේ බලතල අඩුකිරීම සමස්‌ත ආණ්‌ඩු ක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්‌ථාවට බලපාන්නේ කෙසේද? ජ්‍යෙෂ්ඨ අධිනීතිඥ ගෝමින් දයාසිරි කරන විග්‍රහයකි මේ.


Regime Change in Sri Lanka

The defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Sri Lankan Presidential elections on January 8 is hailed internationally as a victory for the rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression and good governance. The Rajapkasa government (2005-2015) defeated the terrorist LTTE in 2009 ending the longest running conflict in Asia. It also contributed to substantial economic growth turning Sri Lanka into a middle-income country in a region with the greatest concentration of poor. Despite these political and economic achievements, Rajapaksa narrowly lost the elections due to charges of corruption and authoritarianism of his government.

Rajapaksa was defeated by Maithripala Sirisena, the so-called ‘Common Candidate’ of a new political alliance which claimed that the extent of corruption in the last few years of the Rajapaksa government was “unprecedented and unheard of before” in Sri Lanka. The current government, however, is not entirely a new regime; only Rajapaksa and his core circle were replaced. Sirisena, like a number of others in his administration served as senior Ministers of the Rajapaksa administration until the election campaign. As such, they too bear responsibility for alleged excesses of the Rajapaksa regime.