Gotabaya Rajapaksa Age, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More » StarsUnfolded

Controversies • Accusing the UN and the west: In 2007, Gotabaya Rajapksa claimed that the United Nations (UN) functioned on the wrong and fake information which was being fed to it by the “terrorists,” who had infiltrated the organisation for the last thirty years. In his statement, he also accused the United Kingdom of bullying Sri Lanka so that it could dominate Sri Lanka’s foreign policy and diplomacy. He further claimed that the aid which was being given to Sri Lanka by the western nations was very less and the country did not require any sort of assistance from any foreign country to cater for its own need. Talking about it, he said,
“This is international bullying. We won’t be isolated. We have all the Saarc [South Asia Association of Regional Co-operation] countries, the Asian countries. Britain, or the Western countries, the EU countries, they can do whatever they want to. We do not depend on them. They think that they we get aid. No, they are not giving us anything.”

Accused of killing a journalist who exposed corruption in the fighter aircraft deal: Lasantha Wickrematunge, a popular journalist in Sri Lanka, wrote an article titled The anatomy of the MiG deal in August 2007, through which he exposed the malicious role played Gotabaya and his cousin Udayanga Weeratunga, an industrialist, while procuring the Ukrainian-made Mikoyan MiG-27 fighter aircraft for the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). In 2008, Gotabaya Rajapaksa responded to the accusations by filing a defamation case against Lasantha for Rs 2 billion. In his defence, during an interview, Gotabaya said that “such allegations had created adverse consequences to the war against the LTTE rebels on the battlefield.” In 2009, when Lasantha was on his way to submit the evidences regarding the corruption in the MiG-27 deal with Ukraine, he was killed by gunmen. Gotabaya was accused by the journalists in Sri Lanka to have masterminded the murder of Lasantha. A decade later, in 2019, Ahimsa Wickrematunge, daughter of Lasantha, filed litigation against Gotabaya in the United States, and accused him of plotting her father’s murder. In his defence, Gotabaya said that the cases lodged against him were a conspiracy, which was being orchestrated by the United National Party (UNP). During an interview, while talking about it, Gotabaya said.
“These lawsuits have been filed to delay the process and discourage me. I have handed the matter to my lawyers [in Los Angeles] to take care of and I am looking ahead to what needs to be done for our country. These are baseless allegations made by people outside our country to delay the process because I am a strong candidate. Let them attack, I am fully prepared.”
The American Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the cases against Gotabaya on 27 February 2020 because after becoming the 8th President of Sri Lanka, he was entitled to the provisions made under the US’ foreign official immunity act; however, the court, in its judgement, also stated that Ahimsa could anytime restart the court proceedings against Gotabaya once he steps down from his post as the President. Talking about the court’s judgement, Ahimsa said,
“This ruling is a victory, and a message to Gotabaya Rajapaksa: His maneuvers to escape justice for his role in my father’s assassination continue to fail. He will not enjoy immunity forever, and his presidency can only delay, not prevent accountability. Those of us who lost everything to his barbarism and bloodshed will never give up our fight for justice.”

The white van phenomenon: In 2008, the Sri Lankan investigative agencies found a white van, which was used to kidnap a foreign journalist named Keith Noyahr, in the parking lot of a Sri Lankan Army major’s residence. Many sources claimed that the major shared a very close relationship with the then defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The sources also claimed that the same van was later on used in the murder of the Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga in 2009.

Threatening journalists of facing dire consequences: While giving an interview to The Sunday Times, in 2008, Gotabaya, while expressing his anguish, openly threatened the journalists of the newspaper of facing dire consequences had they not stopped writing articles that criticised the Sri Lankan forces for violating human rights during the civil war. Talking to the journalists of The Sunday Times, Gotabaya said,
“Don’t you understand what I am trying to say? If you do not agree and continue with what you are doing, what has to happen to you will happen. I am definitely not threatening your lives. I am not. It will happen from where it happens. Our services are appreciated by 99 per cent of the people. They love the Army Commander (Lt. Gen. Fonseka) and the Army. Those who love us do what is required. We cannot help that. Journalists: If newspapers and media are publishing falsehood, you can correct them. Those mechanisms are still in place in Sri Lanka. If you cannot correct them through the media, then file action in the courts. Otherwise, if some wrong information is printed, doing such things is not the answer.”

Accused of giving a diplomatic post to a murder suspect: In 2009, Gotabaya was also accused of giving a diplomatic post to Bandara Bulathwatte, who was the prime suspect of Lasantha Wickrematunga. According to several sources, Gotabaya had personally requested the Sri Lankan government to send him as a Sri Lankan diplomat to Thailand. Many sources also claimed that Gotabaya had hastily sent Bandara to Thailand, and he did not even attach Bandara’s biodata in the request letter that was sent by him to the Sri Lankan government.

Accused of procuring a fake diplomatic passport for a former LTTE commander: In 2009, Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan was caught and questioned by the British authorities in London. He was arrested in Britain on the charges of procuring a fake diplomatic passport and violating human rights during the Sri Lankan civil war. Vinayagamoorthi, who also goes by the name Colonel Karuna, was an LTTE commander who left the rebel outfit in 2004 and established his own pro-Sri Lankan government faction named Karuna Faction, which helped the government in securing a victory over LTTE in 2009. When the British officials questioned Vinayagamoorthi about how he procured a fake passport, he claimed that he was helped by the then defence secretary of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Ministry claimed that the accusations were “false and baseless.”

Allegations of violating human rights in Sri Lanka during the civil war: A report was published by Sri Lankan journalists in early 2009, which claimed that the Sri Lankan military was actively bombing hospitals that were located in the war zones in Sri Lanka. Gotabaya responded to the reports and gave a controversial remark by stating that any place or area, which does not fall in the government-designated safe zones, was a legitimate target for the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and that they reserved the right to bombard the area at will. He further said that the military only bombed places which harboured people who sympathized and collaborated with the LTTE. Gotabaya further claimed that the government could not guarantee the safety of the civilians stuck outside the designated safe zones because the government had already asked the civilians to make their way to the safer lines, an instruction to which the civilians failed to adhere. Talking about it, Gotabaya said,
“The government calls on all civilians to enter the demarcated ‘safety zone’ as soon as possible. It is unclear how the tens of thousands of people caught up in the fighting can escape. The rebels prevent people from leaving the area. We have demarcated a safety zone within the LTTE area and have asked all of the civilians to move into it. For the last two years we have had no civilian casualties. There was no place for civilians to go once the Sri Lankan military started moving up. We have provided medical facilities throughout and have evacuated Puthukkudiyiruppu where LTTE leaders are hiding. So how can we save the hospitals? We have stopped firing in the area.”
In 2013, WikiLeaks claimed that the former Sri Lankan Army commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka had revealed to them that during the war against LTTE, the Sri Lankan Army was ordered by the then defence secretary Gotabaya to shoot those who tried to surrender and were affiliated with the LTTE. When the report was published by WikiLeaks, infuriated Gotabaya publically threatened to hang Sarath Fonseka. During an interview, Gotabaya exclaimed,
“He can not do that. He was the commander! That is a treason. We will hang him if he does that. I am telling you!…. How can he betray the country like that? He is a liar, liar, liar.”
In the same year, The Sunday Guardian, in its article, claimed that Prasad Samarasinghe, a retired Sri Lankan Army major general, had passed several sensitive documents to the United States of America (USA) through its embassy in Colombo. The article further claimed that the documents handed over to the US contained the names of people who were abducted and killed as they fell out of favour with the Rajapaksa family. Later, in 2013, a UN official named Navanetham Pillay visited Sri Lanka. In her statement to the United Nations (UN), she criticised the Sri Lankan government for the abductions that took place in Sri Lanka. Due to the allegations of violating human rights in Sri Lanka, Gotabaya was denied entry into the United States in 2015. In 2016, Gotabaya claimed that when he was on a visit to the US, he was confronted by two American-based Tamil groups. He further claimed that the groups demanded Gotabaya’s immediate arrest and trial by law for his alleged role in the violations of human rights during the Sri Lankan civil war. In 2016, the Sri Lankan State Intelligence Agency (SIA) accused Gotabaya of plotting and planning the murder of a former Sri Lankan MP and lawyer named Nadarajah Raviraj. The SIA also accused Gotabaya of paying Rs 50 million to Colonel Karuna, the former LTTE commander, for killing Raviraj. In 2017, the Sri Lankan CID filed a report in a Sri Lankan court in which it stated that Gotabaya Rajapaksa led a death squad, with the aid of the Sri Lankan military, which was tasked with abducting and killing journalists, who were critical of the Rajapaksa family, in Sri Lanka.

Smuggling arms and ammunition for the mercenaries in Sri Lanka: In 2015, a merchant navy ship named M.V. Avant-Garde was seized by the Sri Lankan authorities off the Sri Lankan coast. The authorities found 816 automatic rifles of different types and 2,02,674 rounds of ammunition on board, which were to be given to the mercenaries operating within Sri Lanka. The shipping company was also believed to have close relations with the Rajapaksa family. In the same year, Gotabaya was accused of smuggling these weapons from abroad to support his mercenaries who were working in Sri Lanka. In 2015, a Sri Lankan court even barred Gotabaya from leaving the country; however, the ban was lifted in 2016.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.