Sri Lanka: The penalties for desertion from the Sri Lankan Armed Forces; the length of service a pilot has to serve before he can legally leave the Air Force; whether it was possible for Air Force helicopter pilots to leave the Air Force legally in 1995 and the requirements and procedures to do so (since January 1995)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 March 1999|
|Citation / Document Symbol||LKA31321.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Sri Lanka: The penalties for desertion from the Sri Lankan Armed Forces; the length of service a pilot has to serve before he can legally leave the Air Force; whether it was possible for Air Force helicopter pilots to leave the Air Force legally in 1995 and the requirements and procedures to do so (since January 1995), 1 March 1999, LKA31321.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aaf510.html [accessed 1 July 2015]|
For information on the usual terms of service (initial enlistment and re-enlistment), please consult LKA30947.E of 25 January 1999. That Response also briefly explains the penalties for desertion from the Armed Forces,
For two reports of airmen and officers deserting the Air Force since 1995, please consult LKA31320.E of 3 March 1999.
Between 1995 and mid-1997, 30,000 soldiers had deserted the armed forces, although 20,000 returned under government amnesties (Tamil Monitor 15 July 1997; The Sunday Leader 6 July 1997). In July 1997 Army Commander Rohan Daluwattee told The Sunday Leader that military officials would court-martial, under Section 3 of the Army Ordinance, any deserters captured after the amnesty period ended in October 1997(ibid.; Daily News 11 Oct. 1997). The Sunday Leader also reported that military police had requested Interpol's assistance in tracking down deserters who had fled abroad and had notified Sri Lankan missions, sending them photographs of deserters (6 July 1997).
In mid-1997 three hundred airmen still remained at large, and a senior officer interviewed by The Sunday Leader stated that 10 Air Force officers had fled abroad (6 July 1997), including two who had joined the Oman Royal Air Force and had been extradited to face legal action (Tamil Monitor 15 July 1997; The Sunday Leader 6 July 1997). They had been arrested and detained (ibid.).
On 1 December 1998 the Tamil Eelam News Web site carried a compilation of 1 December 1998 LTTE telephone reports. According to these LTTE reports, 1,200 Sri Lankan Air Force personnel have applied for retirement under a plan that permitted personnel who have performed 12 years of continuous service to retire (Tamil Eelam News 1 Dec. 1998). According to Tamil Eelam News, these retirement applications have reportedly caused the Defence Ministry a "major problem" and higher authorities have reportedly attempted to persuade applicants not to retire (ibid.). Corroboration and/or additional information on this retirement scheme could not be found among the sources consulted.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Daily News [Colombo, in English]. 11 October 1997. "Army Commander Declares Amnesty for all Deserters." (FBIS-NES-97-284/WNC)
The Sunday Leader [Colombo].
Tamil Eelam News [in Tamil]. 1 December 1998. "Tamil Tigers' Dispatch Notes Peace Talks Backing, Radio Broadcasts. [BBC Summary 4 Dec. 1998/NEXIS]
Tamil Monitor [NSW, Australia].
Additional Sources Consulted
Peace Brigades International.
Resource Centre. "Sri Lanka" country file. July-December 1996, January-July 1997.
Sri Lanka Information Monitor (INFORM) [Colombo]. Situation Report. Monthly. January-December 1995, February 1996, July 1997.
Sri Lanka Monitor [London]. Monthly. January 1997, March 1997, May 1997, July 1997, August 1997, October 1997, December 1997.
Sri Lanka News Update [Colombo]. Chronology: 2 October1996-6 June 1997. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
United Nations. Economic and Social Council. Commission on Human Rights.
Electronic sources: Internet, IRB Databases, NEXIS.
High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Ottawa.