Sri Lanka Names War Veteran as Army Chief, U.S., U.N. Critical of Decision

8/20/2019

Sri Lanka’s president on Monday named war veteran Shavendra Silva as its army chief, drawing sharp criticism from the United States and the United Nations over the appointment of an officer who has been accused of serious human rights violations.

Silva, 55, is credited with successfully leading an army division against dissident Tamil Tigers in the final phases of the island nation’s 26-year-long brutal civil war. His victory, however, was highly controversial. Thousands of civilians were killed in the last phases of the armed conflict, including in areas declared by the government to be a “no fire zone” that came under sustained army shelling, including hospitals.

A United Nations panel has accused Silva’s division of suspected extrajudicial executions of unarmed rebels in the final week of the war, which ended in 2009, and systematic torture of people in custody.

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Outlet: 
Reuters