President Maithripala Sirisena has named a common accused of grave human rights abuses in Sri Lanka‘s very long-working civil war as the country’s new military main, an appointment sharply criticised as a move probably to undermine reconciliation initiatives.

Major Standard Shavendra Silva, who on Monday was also promoted to the rank of lieutenant standard, was in demand of an army division that encircled the ultimate stronghold of the Tamil Tiger rebels in the final phases of the war that ended a ten years ago.

Silva’s 58th division has been accused of violating worldwide human rights regulations, together with shelling a healthcare facility. Silva, 55, has denied the accusations.

“I am deeply troubled by the appointment of Lieutenant-Basic Shavendra Silva as Commander of the Sri Lankan Military, in spite of the severe allegations of gross violations of international human legal rights and humanitarian regulation versus him and his troops in the course of the war,” the UN’s Substantial Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Michelle Bachelet mentioned in a statement on Monday.

The United Nations has approximated that some 45,000 ethnic Tamil civilians may well have been killed in the final months of the war, though other estimates put the number much better.

The International Truth and Justice Project, a group in search of accountability for wartime abuses, mentioned Silva’s appointment was “immensely detrimental to the country”.

“After so significantly bloodshed Sri Lankans have to have to hold their leaders accountable in get to cease the recurring cycles of violence,” Yasmin Sooka, the organisation’s executive director, mentioned. “Silva’s promotion, on the other hand, sends a message of total impunity.”

The group also mentioned that Silva’s appointment was made months before presidential elections are scheduled to take spot in December.

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is hoping to run for president. He is also dealing with allegations of war crimes over his purpose in guiding Sri Lanka’s war against Tamil rebels a decade back. Our Push Release responding to #srilanka President’s choice to appoint alleged war legal Shavendra Silva as #lka Military Chief. Total 137-site dossier at

— ITJP (@itjpsl) August 19, 2019

In a 2015 UN report revealed by the OHCHR, Sri Lankan forces had been accused of grave abuses that provided illegal killings, sexual and gender-primarily based violence, torture and attacks on humanitarian facilities.

In accordance to the report, the military division led by Silva shelled a hospital and a UN hub in Putumattalan, a town they had been tasked to recapture from the Tamil Tigers.

The OHCHR alleges that for the duration of the past months of the offensive, hospitals were shelled frequently, all through which patients were forced to escape, some even carrying their intravenous drips with them.

The attack on humanitarian services by armed forces were not “isolated incidents”, and “in some situations might have intentionally focused the services,” the report mentioned. 

The OHCHR observed that “lots of of the buildings responsible for the violations and crimes stay in position”.

The appointment of Silva, who in January had been promoted to the next-best submit in the country’s military, was also criticised by the United States.

“This appointment undermines Sri Lanka’s worldwide popularity and its commitments to promote justice and accountability, specifically at a time when the require for reconciliation and social unity is paramount,” the US embassy in Colombo claimed in a statement.

The authorities declared victory more than the rebels in Could 2009, ending the Tamil Tigers’ long marketing campaign for an independent condition for minority ethnic Tamils. Both the Sri Lankan navy and the rebels have been accused of wartime abuses.