Spot gold falls to lowest since July 28 on concerns US Fed will again hike rates
Many Kikuyu voted overwhelmingly for him in a welcome sign that policy trumped tribal loyalty
Deputy president says local govenrment must collect from consumers or face consequences
The party’s internal leadership contest in December is expected to gain momentum once the the nomination process kicks off
Toyota and Panasonic suspend operations in China amid heatwave and drought, which is drying up reservoirs behind hydro dams
Spending allocations to increase to R812bn for the next three years, says finance minister
Food Safety Agency tells retailers and food producers it will seize vegan products with names that it says are for meat
European intelligence officials say the tactic undermines security of Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex in Ukraine
England captain leads fight back but Jansen and Maharaj put on 72 for seventh wicket to put SA in control
William Ruto wins Kenya’s election, the Marikana massacre commemorated, India celebrates 75 years of independence, protests in Cape Town, and more
A rights group documenting alleged abuses in Sri Lanka has filed a criminal complaint with Singapore’s attorney-general, seeking the arrest of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa for his role in the South Asian nation’s decades-long civil war.
The International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) said Rajapaksa committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions during the civil war in 2009 when he was the country’s defence chief, according to a copy of the complaint seen by Reuters.
The ITJP argued that, based on universal jurisdiction, the alleged abuses were subject to prosecution in Singapore, where he fled after months of unrest over his country’s economic crisis.
Rajapaksa submitted his resignation in Singapore, a day after fleeing on July 13. Antigovernment protesters had stormed the offices and official residences of the president and the prime minister.
“The criminal complaint that has been filed is [based on] verifiable information on both the crimes that have been committed, but also on evidence really linking the individual in question, who is now in Singapore,” Alexandra Lily Kather, one of the lawyers that drafted the complaint, told Reuters by telephone from Berlin.
“Singapore really has a unique opportunity with this complaint, with its own law and with its own policy, to speak truth to power.”
Rajapaksa could not be reached for comment through Sri Lanka’s high commission in Singapore. He has previously strenuously denied allegations he was responsible for rights abuses during the war.
In response to questions from Reuters, a spokesperson for the attorney-general’s chambers said it had received a letter from the ITJP on July 23.
“We are not able to comment further on this matter,” the spokesperson said.
The country’s foreign ministry has said Rajapaksa entered the Southeast Asian city-state on a private visit and had not sought or been granted asylum.
Shubhankar Dam, a professor at the University of Portsmouth School of Law in Britain, who has taught in Singapore, said while its courts were able to try alleged war crimes, genocide and torture, it has repeatedly stated that such jurisdiction should only be invoked as a last resort.
“While neutrality is not officially enshrined in Singapore’s foreign policy, it has long cultivated a form of even-handedness,” Dam said.
“Any decision to prosecute a former foreign head of state has to be balanced against its foreign policy objectives.”
Sri Lanka ended a 25-year civil war between separatist insurgents from the ethnic Tamil minority and government forces in 2009. Rights groups accused both sides of abuses during the war.
The ITJP assisted in two civil lawsuits against Rajapaksa, proceedings for one of which were served in a California parking lot in 2019. Rajapaksa was a US citizen at the time.
Both cases were withdrawn after Rajapaksa was granted diplomatic immunity upon becoming president later that year.
Would you like to comment on this article? Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.
Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.