Jagath Jayasuriya

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Jagath Jayasuriya
Jagath Jayasuriya.jpg
Allegiance Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Service/branch  Sri Lanka Army
Years of service 1980 - 2015
Rank General
Unit Sri Lanka Armoured Corps
Commands held Chief of Defence Staff
Commander of the Army
Wanni Security Forces Headquarters
52 Division
563 Infantry Brigade
Battles/wars Sri Lankan Civil War
Insurrection 1987-89

Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya bar.GIF Vishista Seva Vibhushanaya
Uttama Seva Padakkama Bar.gif Uttama Seva Padakkama
3by2white.svg Sri Lanka Army 50th Anniversary Medal
Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service.jpg Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal
50th Annivesary Commemoration Medal.jpg

50th Independence Anniversary Commemoration Medal
3by2white.svg Desha Putra Sammanaya
North East Medal Bar.jpg North and East Operations Medal
3by2white.svg Purna Bhumi Padakkama
Riviresa Ribbon.gif Riviresa Campaign Services Medal
Other work Ambassador to Brazil

Jagath Jayasuriya, VSV, USP, ndc, psc is a retired Sri Lanka Army general, and a former Chief of Defence Staff of the Sri Lankan military and Commander of the Sri Lankan Army.[1] During the closing stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War, he served as the Commander Security Forces Headquarters - Wanni with overall command of SLA offensives in the Wanni region during the 2008 - 2009 period.[2] He was also the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Suriname from June 2014 to August 2017.[3][4]

Education and family[edit]

Educated at the Royal College, Colombo, Jayasuriya captained the college boxing team in 1977, winning colours for boxing and was a senior prefect. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College; the Defence Resource Management Institute, Naval Postgraduate School; and the National Defence University. In 1990 he gained a Master of Science Degree in Defence Studies from the University of Madras and had also attended the School of Armour, Pakistan and the Armoured Corps Centre and School, India.[5]

Jayasuriya is the youngest of six brothers, three of whom (Sumith, Aruna and Nimal) also attended Royal College and, alongside Jagath, were prize-winning boxers.[6] One of his older brothers would go on to become officer in the Sri Lanka Navy.[citation needed]

Military career[edit]

Joining the army after completing schooling in 1978 as a cadet officer, he was at the top of his class at the Army Training Centre and was commissioned into the Sri Lanka Armoured Corps as a Second Lieutenant in 1980 with his military career spanning the Sri Lankan Civil War. He was promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant in 1981, Captain in 1984, Major in 1988 and Lieutenant Colonel in 1993. During this time he had served as a troop leader (1980–1983) and adjutant (1984–1985) of the 1st Reconnaissance Regiment. After a brief posting as a staff officer at Army Headquarters, he was later appointed as squadron commander, 1st Reconnaissance Regiment. From 1990 to 1992 he had served as a Brigade Major, 9 Brigade in Jaffna and served as Chief Instructor at Officers Study Centre and Staff Officer II (Training), Army Training Centre. In 1992 he was the Second in Command of the 3rd Reconnaissance Regiment and had served as a Staff Officer of the Armoured Brigade in 1994 he became the Commanding Officer, 1st Reconnaissance Regiment, Sri Lanka Armoured Corps till June 1995. During July 1995 - May 1996, he was the General Staff Officer at the Joint Operations Headquarters (JOH) and later served as Military Secretary Army Headquarters.[5]

In 1997 he was the Brigade Commander of an armoured brigade and in 1998 posted to the 563 Infantry Brigade as its commander brigade commander. He was critically injured during the Operation Jayasikurui in 1998, when his jeep hit a land mine in the Kolamadu area.[7] After recuperating he was the military liaison officer at Ministry of Defence till 2002 and was promoted to Brigadier in 2001. That year he was appointed as the Commandant of the Sri Lanka Military Academy. In December 2004, he was appointed Director of Operations at Army Headquarters and thereafter promoted to the rank of Major General he took over as General Officer Commanding of the 52 Division.[5]

In mid-2007 he was appointed as Commander Security Forces Headquarters - Wanni (SFHQ-W). From this capacity he directed the military operations in the Wanni region that was aimed at regaining area controlled by the LTTE. This saw several major battles which included the Battle of Vidattaltivu, the Battle of Paranthan, the Battle of Kilinochchi, the Third Battle of Elephant Pass and the Battle of Mullaitivu. At the height of the war he had 5 divisions and 3 task forces under his command, thus making it the largest military command in Sri Lankan military history. He is the Colonel Commandant of the Sri Lanka Armoured Corps and the Mechanized Infantry Regiment.[5]

In 2009, he left SFHQ-W to take over as Commander of the Sri Lankan Army. In June 2013, he was promoted to the rank of General and was appointed as Chief of Defence Staff with effect from August 2013, when he relinquished command as Army Commander.[8] He held the post till June 2015 when he retired from the army.

Post-military career[edit]

Following his retirement from the army, General Jayasuriya was appointed as Sri Lankan Ambassador to Brazil, in which capacity he is concurrently accredited as Ambassador to Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Suriname.[3] His tenure ended at the end of August 2017.[4]

Allegations of war crimes[edit]

Having been a central figure in the deciding stages of Eelam War IV, Jayasuriya has, like Sarath Fonseka and Gotabhaya Rajapakse, been accused of being complicit in the alleged war crimes carried out by the SLA during this period.[9] On 28 August 2017, the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP)- a group affiliated with the Foundation for Human Rights based in South Africa- filed lawsuits against Jayasuriya in Brazil and Colombia, citing his alleged complicity and command role in artillery strikes on hospitals and other civilian targets, torture (including sexual violence) and enforced disappearances.[10][11] The same lawsuits were planned to be filed in Argentina, Chile and Peru, while Suriname had refused to accept them.[10] In September 2017 current Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena refused to let several human rights groups take Jagath Jayasuriya to court for war crimes. Sirisena reportedly said "I stated very clearly that I will not allow anyone in the world to touch Jagath Jayasuriya or any other military chief or any war hero in this country," in reference to the lawsuit.[12]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Manjulika Aruna (who served as President of the SLA Seva Vanitha welfare unit), and has two children, Sanjaya and Deshanee.[7][13]


  1. ^ Army, Navy get new commanders
  2. ^ Tigers lost sight of Pooneryn for Kilinochchi
  3. ^ a b Nine new ambassadors appointed
  4. ^ a b "Jagath not fleeing Brazil, tenure ended: Ministry". Dailymirror.lk. Daily Mirror Sri Lanka. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d Army Commander made full General
  6. ^ "Lt General Jagath Jayasuriya the Pugilist". Army.lk. Sri Lanka Army. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "New Army Commander". Dailynews.lk. Daily News Sri Lanka. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  8. ^ Gen Jagath Jayasuriya Chief of Defence Staff
  9. ^ "War crimes suspect Jagath Jayasuriya takes up diplomatic post in Brazil". Tamilguardian.com. 8 November 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  10. ^ a b "Brazil lawsuit accuses Jagath Jayasuriya of war cimes". Aljazeera.com. Al Jazeera. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  11. ^ Prengaman, Peter (29 August 2017). "A Sri Lankan Ambassador in Latin America Is to Face War Crimes Suits". Timeinc.net. Time. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  12. ^ http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/09/sri-lanka-leader-shield-general-war-crimes-case-170903193335527.html
  13. ^ "Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya Pays Tribute to Sinha Regiment War Heroes". Army.lk. Sri Lanka Army. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Raja Edirisuriya
Sri Lankan Ambassador to Brazil
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by
Roshan Goonetileke
Chief of the Defence Staff
1 August 2013 - 15 June 2015
Succeeded by
Kolitha Gunathilake
Preceded by
Sarath Fonseka
Commander of the Army
15 July 2009 - 1 August 2013
Succeeded by
Daya Ratnayake
Preceded by
Upali Edirisinghe
Commander Security Forces Headquarters - Wanni
2006 - 2009
Succeeded by