An international rights group says the Sri Lankan government's decision to appoint the civil war-winning general to Parliament contradicts pledges to investigate abuses alleged to have occurred under his command.

Human Rights Watch says Thursday the appointment of former army chief Sarath Fonseka signals that the government may protect senior military leaders suspected of abuses.

Fonseka commanded Sri Lanka's army from 2005 until the end of war in 2009.

The rights group says Sri Lankan forces under Fonseka's command were implicated in numerous instances of shelling of civilians and hospitals, rape and other sexual violence, and summary execution of prisoners.

Sri Lanka promised to investigate abuse allegations with foreign help in a consensus resolution at the United Nations human rights council last year.