Dias refused of participation in ICRC meet for alleged war crimes

Major General Jagath Dias, who was previously a deputy Counsel in Sri Lanka’s embassy in Germany, and was recalled by Colombo in 2011 "in response to accusations he was involved in war crimes," was refused participation in an ICRC conference to be held in Australia this December, media in Colombo reported. ICRC, while refusing to spell out the reason barring Dias from the meeting, said that "procedural matters, relating to international travel, were beyond the control of the ICRC." Dias was the commander of Sri Lanka Army’s (SLA’s) 57th division during the last phase of the Vanni war, where according UN estimate more than 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed. Another U.N document, the Petrie report, estimated the killings to be more than 70,000.

Earlier, the U.S. Government also refused admission to Dias to the U.S. to participate in training courses for his alleged past war crimes. U.S. law prohibits military assistance to countries of military units accused of complicity in war crimes.

Spotlight on Dias’s alleged war-crimes began in 2010 when Swiss Council of Eelam Tamils (SCET) and Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a US-based activist group, first filed a case in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against Germany for accepting Dias to the diplomatic post. Two other legal efforts by Swiss-based advocacy groups, Society for Threatened People and TRIAL, and by Germany-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights further hindered Dias’s ability to function as a diplomat.

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