Sri Lanka war general ready to fight US court summons

Sri Lankan Police forming a human chain in parliament to protect the Speaker and enable a vote.

September 26, 2011 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan general serving as a UN diplomat in New York is prepared to face a US court to deny charges his men committed war crimes during the island’s civil war, reports said Monday. A civil case has been filed in New York on behalf of two people whose relatives were killed in the final stages of the conflict, which ended in 2009 when the army launched a military onslaught against Tamil separatists.

A New York court served a summons last Friday at the New York residence of Major General Shavendra Silva, who is Sri Lanka’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

“Even with or without diplomatic privileges, I have the strength and courage and I will fight to safeguard Sri Lanka’s interest,” Silva told the Colombo-based Financial Times newspaper on Monday.

He said President Mahinda Rajapakse, who was in New York last week to attend the annual UN General Assembly meetings, had directed officials to seek legal advice.

Silva was commanding officer of the 58th Division in the army which helped crush the Tamil Tiger rebels, who had waged a war for decades demanding a homeland for the Tamil ethnic minority.

“This law suit is a yet another sini