- Fonseka responds to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s BBC interview
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Responding to statements made against him by Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to the BBC’s HardTalk programme on Sri Lanka last week, former Army Commander and DNA Parliamentarian Retired General Sarath Fonseka said, “the Rajapaksa regime has found its own hangman from within the family.”
Speaking by telephone to The Sunday Leader, Fonseka referring to Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s statement to the BBC’s HardTalk programme that he would “hang him” if he gave evidence at any international war crimes probe, told The Sunday Leader the statement made by the Defence Secretary had brought public disgrace upon Sri Lanka and its people at an international level.
“I condemn this statement. This person doesn’t conduct himself as a secretary of any ministry. He is an irresponsible person. No Defence Secretary in the world has ever made such comments. The comments indicate sentiments of Idi Amin. He is not the Chief Justice or the Attorney General to pass judgment and convict people,” Fonseka said.
According to General Fonseka, “the Defence Secretary is angry and living in hatred.” Asked what action he would take against the remarks made about him, General Fonseka responded, “I have already taken the issue up in parliament and have expressed my sentiments. Beyond that I will not waste time on foolish and frivolous talk like this.”
Reaffirming his stance on being prepared to respond to any queries on any possible inquiry carried out during the final stages of the war, Fonseka asserted he was not worried about threats made by senior public officials affiliated to the First Family.
He reiterated that he was prepared to go before any international war crimes probe to answer any queries on the final stages of the war, as he was the commanding officer for all operations carried out at the time.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in his interview with the BBC’s Stephen Sackur, responded angrily to the prospect of Fonseka giving evidence at any international war crimes probe.
“He can’t do that. He was the commander,” Rajapaksa said. “That’s treason (sic). We will hang him if he does that. I’m telling you. How can he betray the country? He is a liar.”