A criminal complaint filed in Switzerland against a top Sri Lankan diplomat and former Army general would not affect his diplomatic immunity, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Germany T.B Maduwegedara has said.
The Society for Threatened Peoples and Swiss Association against Impunity have filed a criminal complaint with the Public Ministry of Switzerland against Sri Lankan deputy envoy in Germany Maj-Gen Jagath Dias for alleged war crimes.
Dias was one of the Sri Lankan generals credited for its success against the LTTE. He was posted to Germany as the deputy ambassador while concurrently accredited to both Switzerland and the State of Vatican.
Maduwegedara told the BBC that Dias cannot be subject to trial as he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
“No individual or organisation could challenge the immunity without following the accepted procedure. They must make a complaint through the host nation’s Foreign Ministry,” Maduwegedara said, adding that even such a complaint must have credible evidence to back such a claim.
“What we have heard of are general accusations. You can’t act based on a mere accusation”.
Maduwegedara said there had been no official intimation on the matter from the Swiss authorities.
Director of STP, Christoph Wiedmer, has told the BBC that they had gathered reports from human rights organisations, testimonials, photos and videos of crimes committed during the final stage of war in Sri Lanka when Dias commandeered the 57th division of the Sri Lankan Army.
Sri Lankan troops’ conduct during the final battle of the war against the LTTE received international focus in April when a special panel appointed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the government to investigate war crimes accusations.
Similarly, a series of documentaries by the British TV station Channel 4 have also named the key Sri Lankan government and military figures for alleged involvement in war crimes.
The government had dismissed accusations as a sinister campaign to tarnish Sri Lanka’s image by the pro-LTTE Diaspora with the connivance of Western governments.