Lanka troops did not commit war crimes: Fonseka

Colombo: Former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka, who led his troops to victory over the LTTE three years ago, today denied accusations that war crimes had been committed in the final battle.

Fonseka, the former army commander who was freed from jail yesterday, told reporters at his house today that he was ready to answer and "clarify any doubts" with regard to war crime allegations. Finding fault with the government for not defending the island`s human rights record, Fonseka said that people may have questions about Sri Lanka`s rights record.

"If we fight shy in answering these questions then they may think we are guilty" Fonseka said dismissing allegations by international agencies including UN that 40,000 civilians had been killed. I don`t agree with that, that is nonsense", he said. Fonseka thanked the international community for standing by him during his incarceration. He was freed yesterday on a presidential pardon by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"I say thank you very much. They never agreed with the treatment meted out to me," he said. Fonseka said that international community had a duty to ensure freedom of democracy in countries where regimes tend to stifle civil freedoms in the guise of protecting sovereignty and upholding patriotism. The former army chief and presidential candidate spent over two and a half years in detention.