Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa has asserted that he did not give orders on any occasion to kill Tiger leaders who approached with while flags to surrender, during the final stages of the humanitarian operations.
He was giving evidence at the Colombo High Court in the white flag case. Mr. Rajapaksa said the statement given by the accused Sarath Fonseka to the Sunday Leader newspaper that he had given such an order is totally incorrect and baseless. He further said that he had always instructed the Security forces to accept surrendering Tiger cadres and treat them well. Pointing out that 11 thousand 968 LTTE suspects including Daya Master and George Master had surrendered after the war, the Defence Secretary noted that of this, about 5600 had already undergone rehabilitation.
Emphasising that even relatives of top LTTE leaders such as Thamilselvam, Soosei and Prabhakaran surrendered to the Government, Mr. Rajapaksa clarified how the Government provided them proper refuge. The Government had to confront many difficulties due to the white flag statement made by Sarath Fonseka as a former Army Commander. As a result, the Government encountered pressure from international agencies. Certain countries even halted the granting of Military training to Sri Lanka.
Although the accused Sarath Fonseka held various designations in the Army for 30 years, the Defence Secretary said he was unable to end the war. It was possible only after the Government including himself, gave leadership to this effort.
Underlining that an Army Commander should compulsorily be a talented person, the witness responding to cross-examination by the Defence Counsel responded that he had the capability to win the war, even though he did or not, served as the Army Chief. During cross-examination, the Defence Secretary further said that it had so far not been reported that Tiger leaders who approached to surrender with while flags had been gunned down. Recording the evidence of the Defence Secretary was concluded today. Further hearing was adjourned until the 7th of next month.