Justice Deputy Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe last week categorically stated that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has full protection against being taken to a war crimes tribunal of another country as long as he is on Sri Lankan soil.
The government of Sri Lanka’s Justice Deputy Minister has responded to an Op-Ed that US lawyer Ryan Goodman published in the New York Times titled “Helping Sri Lanka’s New Democracy” in which he described the reasons that the United States can and should pursue a criminal investigation of U.S. citizen and ex-Defense Secretary of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
“Put another way, the United States has a perfect justification to go after Mr. Rajapaksa individually,” Goodman had pointed out in his post.
Senasinghe said: “It is true according to the said U.S. war crimes statute enacted in 1996, that nationality requirement is easily satisfied in terms of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s U.S.citizenship for them to prosecute him.”
“But not within Sri Lanka’s jurisdiction,” he explained.
“No other country can do what it likes in our jurisdiction. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is safe as long as he stays within the jurisdiction of Sri Lanka,” explained Deputy Minister Senasinghe Asked what the government’s position was in regard to probing allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka in view of the UN inquiry which is already underway in this respect, Senasinghe said:” our position is very clear. We will conduct a domestic probe with the assistance of the UN. ”
“There is no need to get excited .Let the process takes place on the availability of evidence, if there are any such violations,” he added.
Ryan Goodman said he will soon post his reaction here on Just Security website.
Ryan Goodman is co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. Ryan is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law.