ITJP: Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Role in 1989 Mass Atrocities

by International Truth & Justice Project Sri Lanka, South Africa, May 10, 2022


This is a joint report from the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS). As Sri Lanka is enveloped in unprecedented anger directed at the Rajapaksa family, a new report reveals that the President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was named in a secret list by a government inquiry as a suspect in an enforced disappearance case in 1989. At the time Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the little-known district military coordinator of Matale district in the Central Province, when at least 700 people – mainly Sinhalese – were subjected to enforced disappearances, by security forces under his command. This was the second period of violence involving the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), or People’s Liberation Front, a leftist youth movement that sought to overthrow the government through force but which was brutally crushed by the security forces.

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