The Sri Lankan Media Network in USA

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Prosecuting and persecuting the war hero – General Fonseka

By Somar Wijayadasa

I am neither a friend nor foe of President Rajapaksa or General Fonseka, and I have no axe to grind against any of them but what is done to General Fonseka is a travesty of justice.

As I am not privy to Fonseka’s court martial proceedings or judgment, I am unable to comment on its legality. But what hurts me – as an average citizen - is the unjust and odious manner in which the General was arrested, detained, and Court martialed on alleged trumped up charges and now convicted have violated all norms of justice and fair-play.

The first Court Martial was for meddling in politics while in uniform, and the second on charges of corruption in defense deals. The Govt first planned to charge General Fonseka with trying to have a military a coup to take over the government. Then, it was dropped.

The guilty verdicts of Courts Martial were a foregone conclusion but no decent human being ever expected such a vindictive sentence. The first Court Martial stripped the former army commander of his ranks and medals, and his rightly earned pension rights. The second guilty verdict not only puts him in jail but also strips him of his rightly earned Parliamentary seat.

I am not a military lawyer but it surprises me that contrary to military law and practice, these Courts Martial consisted of military officials of lower rank than that of four star General Fonseka; evidence given by politicians who crossed over to the Government for sheer political gain; and the verdict was handed down by lower ranking military officials. All point to a travesty of justice.

The procedural flaws, the conviction and punishments are disgraceful and outrageous only because of the double standards in how the law is applied differently to different persons.

It took three decades and over 70,000 deaths to defeat the Tamil Tigers. President Rajapaksa deserves credit for resolutely providing the political backing and necessary military resources to fight the war. All commanders of all forces and all soldiers deserve credit but it is army commander General Fonseka’s perseverance, his military strategy and his genuine interest that finally ended the war. Hence the General has been described as Sri Lanka's most successful army commander and perhaps the best army commander in the world.

During the last thirty years, there were Presidents, Prime Ministers, and military commanders who half-heartedly fought this dreaded war. In the past, almost all top military brass overtly or covertly dabbled in politics, and they have been rewarded with diplomatic assignments and what not.

It is suspected that most of them, while in military engaged in the purchase of military equipment – the indisputable and thriving business during wars. The ultra luxurious lives they live today speak volumes as to how they may have amassed their ill-gotten wealth. So, they dabbled in dirty politics, and they engaged in all kinds of secret military contracts. Why weren’t they court martialled? Where is justice?

In Sri Lanka, there have been instances in the past when civil courts have overturned decisions of military courts. General Fonseka may go to Court of Appeals but he may not expect any justice from today’s corrupt judicial system in the country.

General Sarath Fonseka will remain in the hearts and minds of every Sri Lankan as the Great Army Commander who defeated terrorism and united Sri Lanka.

(Writer, Mr. Somar Wijayadasa, was a former UNAIDS rep to the United Nations from Sri Lanka)


  1. Mr.Wijedasa,
    Any small boy can understand what is happening in Sri Lanka.No any justice prevails in the land. In fact as a Buddhist I believe that ,if some one commit an offence he is punished in the birth,which is called in Buddhism as "DITTADAMMA VEDANEEYA KAMMA" I have decided to give up worshiping the Buddhist temple and priests it it does not happened to the offenders who are insulting the great war hero.

  2. Looking at the actual facts without the emotional breakdown, the intentions SF and his cohorts had is unbelievable. You must accept the decent this general has brought to the ranks of the army. It may look acceptable to the opposition who is hell bent to bring down the government, but that is only in the short run. Most of the bloated Sri Lanka Army has very young men mostly not more than 2 years in the service. With such a back ground SF behaving like this should be death with harshly in Army terms. Moreover he was ruthless in application of Army powers against the officers whom dislike. It is coming to light that during the tenure of his office as Army Commander he cleared his own personal files of any adverse comments, court marshals he faced. This is something only a low grade person will attempt to clear his name. Then all this money connections does not show that he has been a Mr. Clean. If he moved to Cinnamon Grand in the wee hours of Election Day for innocent intentions as his claim, why did he dismantle the security system in the hotel during this occupation? He cannot be clean has he claim. In my humble opinion Fonseka must be punished.

    ~ Dr. J.T Silva (Sydney)

  3. You contradict yourself in the first sentence itself. No axe to grind with anyone but say it was a travesty of justice. If the courts found him guilty can you dispute. How close were you to the trial and the evidence given. Also Mr Fonseka can appeal to the normal courts. Courts also endorsed the judges who adjudicated this case. It would help to know the facts before writing.

  4. It is surprising to note that the Chief of Malwatta temple is silent on this national tragedy of convicting General Fonseka by Kangaroo courts.The Asgiriya chief is known to be vulnerable to expensive gifts.A Mercedes Benz E class can do wonders.What will a S class do?.
    These yellow robed busniess people should not be fed by the public.They can lift their robes and come in support of the thug Mervin Silva. One such person call himself Chancllor of the Sabaragamuwa campus wanted him to be give a doctorate for introducing the punishment without trial of a civil servent . tree punishment!.there is another one in california when approched to discuss about the general, said his busness with M brothers is more importent and he just purchesed a building for 6.5 million.Do you still want to feed these people?

  5. Dr. J. T Silva,
    As a intellectual, I am sad to have a such an oppinion from you. You are led by the emotions. You are correct by saying , if he has committed anything wrong, he should be punished. But what is important is to have a clear procedure. Other wise, you will agree with Dr. Mervin Silva, by tying people into trees. Are these so called DR (not earned but received as gratis) have no idead of what is civilized and what is uncivilized?

  6. Mr Fonseka is a luckey genaral happen to be in right time. There were good officers died trying.Every political leader looked after their pocket by letting this war going on.President Rajapaksha made the desition to end this war.Now he is building the country.Hope he will do the right thing.Only President Rajapaksha should know what goes arround and comes arround.So he must do good to Sri Lanka, and fade in to sunset in a very good way.