Alleged Sri Lankan war criminal Jagath Dias withdrawn as diplomat from Berlin

A statement issued by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

(September 14, Berlin, Sri Lanka Guardian) According to media reports, Jagath Dias, a former Sri Lankan Army Commander suspected of having committed war crimes, was withdrawn from the Sri Lankan Embassy in Berlin. Dias held the position of a deputy ambassador for Germany, Switzerland and the Vatican State. It is alleged that the former Major General is responsible for war crimes committed during the final phase of the Sri Lankan civil war. During this phase of the conflict, Dias was one of the leading superiors in the field commanding the armed forces. In January 2011, ECCHR sent a comprehensive dossier substantiating the allegations put forward against Dias to the German Federal Foreign Office and requested the withdrawal of his diplomatic visa. In particular, the dossier listed incidents of attacks carried out by the 57th Division under Dias’ command and directed against civilians in no-fire-zones, as well as against hospitals, religious sites and humanitarian institutions.

With the withdrawal by the Sri-Lankan government, Dias lost his diplomatic immunity, which he had been granted by the diplomatic visa in Germany. ECCHR requests the German Federal Foreign Office to ensure that alleged crimes under international law are effectively investigated already during the process of granting a visa to diplomatic embassy staff. In situations in which impartial investigations have so far not been carried out, the German authorities must ensure that, if necessary, preliminary investigations are conducted by the appropriate German law enforcement institutions. A second case like the of Dias, in which the issuance of a diplomatic visa granting diplomatic immunity rules out the possibility to prosecute an alleged war criminal, despite existing international obligations, must be avoided under all circumstances.

ECCHR Program Manager Andreas Schüller states “German authorities must verify whether Jagath Dias has already left the country and must otherwise initiate criminal investigations.”

For further information please contact:

Andreas Schüller, Program Manager, tel. +49 30 4060 5838 , e-mail: See also:

Tell a Friend