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Fonseka campaigns in N. Sri Lanka, may be tried for war crimes – examiner

[MISC, Monday, 4 January 2010 16:53 No Comment]

At the end of the month, Sri Lanka will be holding Presidential elections between current incumbet Mahinda Rajapaksa and former military chief Sarath Fonseka and so far Fonseka is winning over voters.

On Saturday, Presidential opponent to incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa in January’s election, General Sarath Fonseka, toured the northern city of Jaffna for his election campaign, while meeting with local and religious leaders, according to AFP. Fonseka also addressed a rally being held and met with the Roman Catholic Bishop of Jaffna Thomas Savundranayagam.

Fonseka is no stranger to the northern region as he served as the district’s special security forces commander during the military conflict with the Tamil Tigers, which ended last year. Both Rajapaksa and Fonseka claim credit for defeating the Tigers.

The Fonseka campaign fear that the Sinhalese vote will be split, therefore, he felt compelled to gain support from the Tamil electorate. The former military chief even promised the residents of Jaffna a better future by developing economic and infrastructure measures for the region, reports Xinhua.

Some Toronto Tamils, however, are not supportive of either candidate. Senthan Nada, a Toronto spokesperson for the Coalition to Stop the War in Sri Lanka, told Digital Journal in an e-mail on Sunday that Tamils in Sri Lanka are like “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” because both candidates were partnered together during the military operations.

Both “pressed for a brutal military solution where at least 20,000 were massacred another 50,000 maimed at least from the account of the Times Online to what is essentially a peaceful political solution for the past 61 years of Tamils’ struggle for equality.”

Nevertheless, according to Nada, Tamils in Sri Lanka feel like they need a change in government and now the contest is the island nation is between the “Rajapaksa family and the common candidate Fonseka.”

Although Fonseka may gain Tamil support, the General could face legal action over war crimes against the Tigers, according to the Hindustan Times. Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told reporters, “We are looking into taking some sort of legal action against general Fonseka in line with the constitution and the laws of the country.”

The Sri Lankan government is looking into this because Fonseka brought back the issue of war crimes throughout his campaign, which they believed has been dealt with by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

[Full Coverage]

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