War crimes charges filed against Lankan President
Rajapaksa is arriving today in Australia to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be held at Perth.world Updated: Oct 25, 2011 09:20 IST
Ahead of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, a Sri Lankan man, who migrated to Australia, has filed war crimes charges against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a city court here.
Rajapaksa is arriving today in Australia to participate in the CHOGM to be held at Perth.
Jegan Waran, a retired engineer who migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka, said before the Magistrate that he witnessed and was still haunted by what he saw in the hospitals and displaced persons camp at the end of civil war.
Waran, who returned to Sri Lanka in 2007 to volunteer in Tamil hospitals, schools and displaced persons camps, alleged that Sri Lankan forces had deliberately attacked clearly-marked civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and camps.
"Everybody who's alive today, it's a miracle that they have escaped death or injury," Waran was quoted by ABC today.
Waran is an ethnic Tamil and sympathised with the Tamil Tigers or LTTE, which fought for a Tamil nation for decades until their defeat in 2009 by Sri Lanka's military forces.
"Patients who were in the hospital were killed, and there were other patients waiting for treatment, they were killed.
There was a medical store where they kept the medicines; those were destroyed, scattered all over the place, you can see.
Ambulances were destroyed. So I have seen that personally," Waran said.
Waran, now an Australian citizen, said that on Christmas Day of 2008, drones circled another hospital before Sri Lankan
Air Force planes attacked.
"The hospital, clearly a big Red Cross sign was marked on the roof, and drones usually take surveillance, so I am very
positive that they know where the hospital is and they know it will be damaged," he said.
This and other incidents have led him to issue summons for three war crimes charges against Sri Lankan president.
He said, he wanted to bring these charges against the president "because I feel that he's the commander-in-chief and nothing would have happened without his knowledge or his directions, and ultimately, he should be answerable to what was happening".
However, Sri Lankan government has repeatedly denied allegations of war crimes.
Though accusations against Sri Lankan armed forces deliberately attacked civilians are not new, but its the first time charges have been brought by an Australian citizen in an Australian court.
First Published: Oct 25, 2011 09:18 IST