Sri Lanka's top-ranking military officer surrendered to court yesterday after weeks evading arrest for allegedly protecting the chief suspect in the high-profile murder of 11 people during the island's civil war.
Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, dressed in full military regalia, appeared at the Colombo Fort magistrate flanked by supporters and serving navy officers.
The court was told Wijegunaratne shielded a naval intelligence officer accused of 11 murders in the closing stages of Sri Lanka's bloody separatist war that ended in 2009.
Three warrants for Wijegunaratne's arrest were issued by the magistrate in early November but the Chief of Defence Staff, the highest military official in Sri Lanka, had refused to surrender.
Police believe the 11 victims were murdered while in the illegal custody of the navy. Their bodies were never found.
Military figures were accused of abductions and extrajudicial killings during the 37-year war against the Tamil Tiger separatist movement.
Several intelligence officers are facing prosecution over the murder of journalists critical of Mahinda Rajapakse, the former president whose tenure was marred by allegations of war crimes and grave rights abuses.