Sri Lankan war criminal to represent country at the UNHCR

Sri Lanka’s Chief of National Intelligence, and accused war criminal, Ruwan Kulatunga, is to virtually attend the UN Human Rights Committee’s 6th periodic review, on behalf of the government despite concern over his human rights record.

Kulatunga served as Commander of the notorious Wanni Security Force Headquarters in Vavuniya, commonly referred to as the Joseph Camp, from 2016-2017. The camp has been marked by repeated accounts of torture and sexual violence throughout the armed conflict, with more recent accounts of torture dated as late as 2017.

In March 2017, the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) released a report documenting accounts of torture.

“Witnesses provided ITJP with searing testimony of torture in Joseph Camp that included rape with objects such as cricket wickets and glass bottles, as well as in two cases barbed wire inserted inside a pipe and then withdrawn to tear the flesh of the rectum. All of the women and 18 of the men described being raped and sexually violated”, the report reads.

Kulatunga played a vital role in Sri Lanka’s war efforts and served for over 25 years in the North and East. During this time the military faced severe criticism for its dire human rights record.

Responding to his presence, former BBC correspondent Frances Harrison noted that he should answer questions over the alleged human rights abuses that took place in the Joseph camp.

Tamil activists have echoed these urging for members of the committee to question Kulatunga’s record.

“The fact that Sri Lanka will be represented by a war criminal speaks to the lack of accountability on the island. Member states must question his conduct and shed light on these human rights abuses”.