Mr Bogollagama rejects UN report on video showing Sri Lankan troops extrajudicial killing of LTTE cadre. January 8, 2010. Photograph HRW.
04 Jul 2017
Sri Lanka’s former foreign affairs minister, Rohitha Bogollagama has been appointed as the new governor of the Eastern Province today, after Austin Fernando was appointed as the permanent secretary to the president.
Mr Bogollagama, who trained as a lawyer, was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007 till 2010 and spent much of his term denying increasingly substantiated reports that war crimes were committed by the Sri Lankan military in a systematic manner.
In January 2010, Mr Bogollagama flatly rejected the UN human rights investigator, Philip Alston’s calls for an international inquiry into war crimes, after a video emerged of Sri Lankan troops killing blindfolded Tamils.
The government described the video as a fake, whilst its then foreign minister, Mr Bogollama accused Mr Alston of deliberately timing his comments to interfere with the then upcoming presidential elections.
A month after the conflict ended, Mr Bogollama was vocal in rejecting any reports of the military firing into the No-Fire Zone, claiming the military “never returned” LTTE fire in the area.
“Within the no-fire zone we never returned fire because we would never have taken that degree of chance for inflicting harm on civilians,” Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told The Times in June 2009, after the paper reported over 20,000 Tamils civilians died in the NFZ.
That month he also met with the then shadow secretary for foreign and Commonwealth affairs, William Hague MP during a visit to the UK.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported:
“At the outset of the meeting the Foreign Minister provided a detailed account on the final days of the LTTE. Mr. Hague stated that the defeat of the LTTE by military means has now provided enormous opportunities to Sri Lanka to bring the communities together on a sound foundation. Foreign Minister Bogollagama said that successive governments had made efforts to engage the LTTE and to bring the organisation into the democratic process. He said that the defeat of the LTTE has provided opportunities to embark upon the political and economic empowerment of the people in the North and East.
Minister Bogollagama recalled that the fight against the LTTE terrorism goes back to the period of Mrs Thatcher’s Conservative administration. He also outlined the road map designed for the IDPs and bringing the members of TNA and other Tamil parties to create inclusive political process.”