16 June, 2019

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A Discussion On UN Involvement, Human Rights Violations & Terrorism

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

When Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka wrote about “This September in Geneva: Sri Lanka at the UNHRC,” I expressed my agreement on two main points, having realised that the government inaction or ‘meek submission’ (like the other extreme of the previous government’s ‘aggressive denial’) not only might harm the national interest, but also would derail the reconciliation process that the present government is keen in promoting in the country. My proposal was ‘constructive and active engagement’ with the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and not outright rejection or denial of the UN concerns. The two points I highlighted were the following in respect of the Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances on its mission to Sri Lanka.

Two Points

(1) Sri Lanka should have and should even now record (strong) reservations on the inclusion of an unsubstantiated sentence from a HR High Commissioner’s speech which would prejudice the Council. Otherwise it would create future repercussions. (2) Sri Lanka should have and should at least now request clarification or modification of the wording in Para 6 which claims ‘deliberate massive and systematic’ war crimes for many decades. An undiplomatic question here is what the hell the UNHRC or the Working Group was doing all these decades? The sentence on which the suggested reservation to be placed was the following.

“In its report on its investigation on Sri Lanka, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that a number of military cadres, who had laid down arms and were thus hors de combat, were unlawfully killed after having surrendered unarmed to the security forces” and that “a number of LTTE cadres, such as those belonging to the political wing, and other individuals not or no longer taking direct part in hostilities, including children, were also extra judicially executed.”

The reasons are clear. (1) UNHR Commissioner’s statement has no direct relevance to the Working Group’s Mission to Sri Lanka. (2) The Commissioner’s statement says “there are reasonable grounds to believe” without any evidence. (3) It is a pre-judgement which could again prejudice the Council. This is already done once. (4) It has the appearance of building up of a case for ‘genocide’ perhaps with political motives. (5) What was suggested is placing of a ‘reservation’ and not a rejection of the whole report.

Second, I suggested a request of ‘clarification on or modification’ of Paragraph 6 which Jayatilleka also has highlighted. The paragraph reads as follows.

“Enforced disappearances have been used in a massive and systematic way in Sri Lanka for many decades to suppress political dissent, counter-terrorist activities or in the internal armed conflict. Given the context in which they occurred, many enforced disappearances could be considered as war crimes or crimes against humanity if addressed in a court of law.”
The reasons are again clear. (1) The claim is farfetched saying ‘used in a massive and systematic way’ for an unspecified ‘many decades.’ (2) The claim or rather rhetoric can be build up for a ‘genocide’ claim already in circulation. (3) Although ‘counter-terrorism’ is mentioned, there is no mentioning of the LTTE Terrorism that the country and all communities were inflicted with. (4) There is a clear accusation of the government only.

Constructive Engagement

If a government does not at least place ‘reservations’ and ask for ‘clarifications and modifications’ on what is placed before the UNHRC, that is not constructive engagement but meek submission. The past regime’s ‘zero-casualty’ claim or denial should not be an inhibition, if the present government is straight forward and genuine in its efforts to find the truth and move for reconciliation. It has to be underlined that the incidents referred to in the quoted statement in the report pertains to the period in which the present President was the Acting Commander in Chief. Therefore, inaction would be suicidal.

The present government and the Ministry of External Affairs should take an active and a positive role in the UNHR Council proceedings particularly because there is a clear imbalance in its present approach where ‘genocide’ or ‘near genocide’ is highlighted in dubious ways while ‘terrorism’ is not at all recognized or discussed as an ‘international crime,’ ‘war crime’ or at least as a threat and a ‘catalyst for massive human rights violations.’ It is not clear whether this lacunae or neglect merely stems from (1) the non-recognition of terrorism as an international crime in the Rome Statutes or (2) whether this is part of a political scheme where Sri Lanka could be kept submissive or under continuous suspense. In the case of the Working Group, it is possible that the first is the reason, but in the case of the UN Secretary General or even the UNHR Commissioner, the second also might be possible. The SG’s ‘off the cuff’ rhetoric in his recent visit to Sri Lanka is one example.

Even if terrorism is not directly recognized as an international crime in the Rome Statutes, there are so much of customary as well as codified law where it should be considered as an international crime. There were codified law under the League of Nations. Therefore the UNHRC should be persuaded to recognize the problem and its role in the war and events in Sri Lanka. In my opinion, that is also the reality, however un-excusable some of the actions and behaviour of the military during the war and the last stages of the war. Those should be investigated impartially including the alleged incidents of the killing of the surrendered political wing leaders and some LTTE cadres. Even overseas judges could have been involved if not for the present appalling imbalance in the UN approach to the human rights violations and possible war crimes in Sri Lanka not recognizing ‘terrorism’ as a crime. The danger of this imbalance or the soft corner for ‘terrorism’ is the possibility of its resurrection in the country in the same or in a different form.

A Discussion

When I made my brief comments in the Colombo Telegraph, as quoted previously, a person named Ajith, who used to previously engage in many conversations, raised the following questions, which might linger among many people in the country. He was particularly referring to my reservations on the UNHR Commissioner’s statement.

“If you [don’t] agree with the statement, can you deny with substantial evidence that it is not deliberate, it is not massive and it is not systematic war crimes for many decades. You can start with colonization to change demography, Sinhala only Act, language based standardization, and 1958, 1962, 1977, 1981, 1983 and 1983-2015. How do you want to rephrase the sentence?”

I didn’t rephrase the sentence, as it is not up to me, but gave the following answer (now slightly edited) which might be useful for any frank and open discussion on the subject.

“I suggested to place a reservation because (1) it is not a finding of the mission which came to Sri Lanka and (2) the Commissioner made the statement based on the Darusman Report of which many of the sweeping accusations were not substantiated. In addition, I must say that if the UN produces reports of the Darusman type, whether on Sri Lanka or elsewhere, then the credibility of the UN and the accusations would be highly suspect. I have been the chief representative of the World University Service (Geneva) to the Human Rights Commission during 1985-1991, and I have never seen that type of an unprofessional report.

Now you have given some events of discrimination and violence against the Tamils from colonization to 2015. I can agree that when taken together, the discriminations, violations and violence are massive. But I doubt whether all those were systematic. If it is systematic then who was behind? Of course, one can accuse the State or the Sinhalese. First, I don’t think a ‘collective guilt’ could be placed on a whole community, whether the Sinhalese or the Tamils for any violation. Second, when we refer to the State, it was governed by the elected representatives. Whether colonization, Sinhala only or standardization, those were policies however discriminatory. The correction of those have to be done through the democratic process, while I agree that majoritarianism is an obstacle.

But the most important question is whether they are war crimes? Let us forget about layman’s understanding of the International Criminal Law. But how can the UN appointed professionals indulge in such interpretations? In respect of 1958, 1977, 1981 or 1983, I agree that there were organized elements behind the violations and all perpetrators should have been punished. But what the hell the UN was doing all these days? What about 1971 and 1987-91? We have to agree that Sri Lanka has been and still a violent society. Many of the human rights violations in Sri Lanka or other countries occur because of conflicts. In these conflicts there are of course perpetrators and victims, but not in a black and white manner.

What about Terrorism?

It is my concerned view that those who accuse Sri Lanka of ‘massive and systematic war crimes’ particularly genocide have to confront two challenges, if they are sincere and genuine. First is the democratic character of the state system, however lopsided and defective. Second is the non-recognition of ‘Terrorism’ as a war crime in the present international criminal law. I really don’t know your view on ‘terrorism.’ Can you kindly explain?

Of course there are all indications that there were human rights violations which would tantamount to war crimes particularly between 1983 and 2009 on both sides. (You cannot consider the previous events war crimes, because there was no War! (I think people like you should refrain from mere rhetoric.) The events between 1983 and 2009 should be investigated. I have written about some of the clear cases. I think because of the accusers’ political rhetoric, some of the perpetrators can easily escape in the political melee. On my part, I consider terrorism as a war crime. It was considered when the Rome Statutes were drafted, but dropped for convenience because of the lack of an agreement. That is how the UN works! Don’t trust too much.

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Latest comments

  • 5
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    UN should focus on Economic Rights and justice for the people and holding corrupt politicians in Lanka accountable.

    Sri Lanka needs to have a special courts for Financial Crimes investigations in addition to the War crimes trial.

  • 15
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    As we all know that “birds of the same feather flock together”: is my conclusion as far as Sinhalese are considered when they talk about the rights of Tamils:

    It is obvious to impartial observers that Sinhalese governments and the state controlled by them have done tremendous damage to undermine the status of Tamils and the rights they enjoyed at independence in the island in whatever way they can.

    The so-called terrorism of LTTE is a reaction to state terrorism of the state against Tamils which was ongoing beginning with chasing away Tamils and colonizing with Sinhalese in the early years after independence in the North-East where Tamils were in the majority.

    Let’s not split hair on statements,there is a clear case of systematic genocide of Tamils both overt and covert from 1948.

    • 0
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      Thiru,

      There was not ever any systemic genocide of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. There was systemic genocide of the Sinhalese living in North, North Central and North East during the Tamil Eelam war. It was the Tamil Tigers who ripped the bellies of pregnant Sinhalese women and took out the babies and smashed them against the walls. Same was done to breast feeding babies and little children. Whole Sinhalese villages were wiped out in half the country. Buddhist monks were burned in buses, Buddhists worshiping at temples in Anuradhapura were beheaded. By 2009, there was not a single Sinhalese living in the North, North Central, or North East of Sri Lanka. THAT WAS GENOCIDE OF THE SINHALESE!!! Ban Ki Moon should be paying attention to what exactly happened in Sri Lanka and not take hearsay as the truth. As for the Tamils they lived throughout the country. Most of the Tamils live in Colombo without any fear. So, you can shout out Genocide of the Tamils but in actuality it was the Genocide of the Sinhalese that happened during the Tamil Tiger Eelam war. Any intelligent person should be able to see if there was genocide of the tamils at anytime, then those areas should be wiped clean of tamils. Nothing of the sort has happened since 1948. The only thing the tamils complain about is, that they were not mollycoddled by the Sinhalese like the English did to them. English used the tamils to create division among the two races. By providing higher positions to the tamil minority in government services, the ruling English made sure there was animosity between the races. Of course, for the Sinhalese, Ceylon was their mother country, for the tamils not so much. So, the tamils embraced the English and enjoyed special privileges granted towards them. After Ceylon was released from the English crown colonies, tamils expected to continue to be the ruling class. Unfortunately for the tamils, the Sinhalese were and are still the majority, and they became the ruling class. This is the biggest issue with the tamils. Tamils want to be the ruling class. There is no intelligent people in the government of Sri Lanka right now. There are pansies and poufs taking care of the most important ministerial positions, and there’s a Grama Sevaka with a 10th grade education as the President of the country; and who has no idea on how to respond to the UN. All he can do is make responses on Brassiers!!!

    • 0
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      If Tamils are looking for Tamil specific rights, they should go to Tamilnadu.

      • 13
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        jim softy dimwit

        “If Tamils are looking for Tamil specific rights, they should go to Tamilnadu.”

        When they go, Tamils should take you with them.

  • 9
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    Setting aside the systematic disappearances on the Tamil side, any Sinhalese who lived through 87-89 would agree with that statement even if a “professor” of human rights doesn’t.

    By the way, any right thinking Tamil or Singhalese knew (from their own experiences in the north or 87-89) that many HR violations took place in the May 2009 victory. But this “professor” of HR didn’t think it through before proposing to give MR and GR doctorates ?

    I wonder if he rushed before anyone else in the senate to propose this in hopes of gaining something? I have no doubts that another half baked senete member would have proposed it hoping for something…..but a “professor who claims to be an expert in human rights?

    • 1
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      [Edited out]

      In the country where he is naturalized, Aborginies are lower than trash.

      children as young as 10 years old, mostly aobriginal children, are jailed in isolation.

      This professor should be card holding member of a poltical party there. but, he never talks against the injustice in his naturalized country.

      All these human right violations, UNHCR are political activities.

  • 2
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    ‘The SO-CALLED terrorism of LTTE’

    You just can’t trust any of these people can you?

  • 7
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    [On my part, I consider terrorism as a war crime]

    State terrorism too.

    • 5
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      State terrorism is the main cause and the root cause for individuals or groups to resort to violence.

      • 1
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        Apt example is Bangladesh punishing its ex army personnel for war crimes.

  • 1
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    If we are to find Human Right violations (severe) we should investigate all of that nature done by all the parties during 40 to 50 years. We did a humanitarian war against suicide Terrorists after under severe tragedy for 30 years not only Sinhalese. Our war was against terrorists.In my view such investigation is not practical. If we failed to win we had to suffer for another extensive period where we would be helpless. Like India or Pakistan why cannot we tell that to UN. The terrorists kept civilians as a Human shield and civilians died.As a country why we are penalized for such a humanitarian war? I respect all who contributed to war including all the forces. politicians. I have personal issues with some of those people.As a country we should stand altogether.When terrorists do some act to promote their terrorism, it is OK when we do a similar act to protect our country we should be punished.

    I wrote this since I love my country immensely. I do not want to criticize any one or any entity.

    • 0
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      Sriyani Mangalika:

      Tamils writing here are hyenas. they lie cheat and do every thing to get free real estate and a country at the expen of Sinhale.

      NGOs are writing there crap to influence the dumb politicians of the govt.

  • 6
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    “You cannot consider the previous events war crimes, because there was no War!”

    Is it GENOCIDE then?

    Dear Prof please read http://hrbrief.org/2015/01/the-legal-case-of-the-tamil-genocide/

  • 4
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    An undiplomatic question here is what the hell the UNHRC or the Working Group was doing all these decades? The Commissioner’s statement says “there are reasonable grounds to believe” without any evidence.
    This question is ludicrous in view of the situation prevailing then. There was no assurance if the one giving evidence or ‘direct relevance’would not become one among the ‘also extra judicially executed’. It is no wonder however educated -as the title suggests (I don’t underrate his education)- a man is, he would refuse to accept the stark truth that the ‘colonization, Sinhala only or standardization’ paved the way for all the ensuing troubles that engulfed the island for decades.
    I am however in agreement with his ‘I don’t think a ‘collective guilt’ could be placed on a whole community, whether the Sinhalese or the Tamils for any violation’.But the State should of course take the responsibility. How could The State override the Article 29(2)of Soulbury Constitution in making all those covert ‘policies? In your view it was ‘through the democratic process’?

  • 4
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    “Sri Lanka should have and should even now record (strong) reservations on the inclusion of an unsubstantiated sentence from a HR High Commissioner’s speech which would prejudice the Council. Otherwise it would create future repercussions. (2) Sri Lanka should have and should at least now request clarification or modification of the wording in Para 6 which claims ‘deliberate massive and systematic’ war crimes for many decades.”

    The question is:is it right to say that this sentence in this report is unsubstantiated? This is what the UN appoined panel wording:
    The Panel determined an allegation to be credible if there was a reasonable basis to believe that the underlying act or event occurred. This standard gives rise to a legal responsibility for
    the State or other actors to respond. Allegations are considered as credible in this report only when based on primary sources that the Panel deemed relevant and trustworthy. In its legal assessment, the Panel proceeded from the long-settled premise of international law that during an armed conflict such as that in Sri Lanka, both
    international humanitarian law and internati onal human rights law are
    applicable. The Panel applied the rules of international humanitarian
    and human rights law to the credible allegations involving both of the primary actors in the war,that is, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka. Neither the publicly expressed aims of each side (combating terrorism, in the case of the Government, and fighting for a separate homeland, in the case of the LTTE), nor the asymmetrical nature of the tactics employed affects the applicability of international humanitarian and human rights law.

    The second one says ‘deliberate massive and systematic’ war crimes for many decades.”

    I think this includes the period of JVP insurgence in 1987-1990 because it says “many decades”. Srilanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapakse was a human rights activist during that period. He should have lot of evidences about JVP terrorism and State Terrorism and the magnitude of forced disappearances and war crimes.Find below a few sentances appeared in a Sunday Observer.According to this it is massive.

    “On March 16, 1992, he launched the Pada Yathra – the famous protest march against the State-terrorism unleashed by the Premadasa regime. His eight-day protest march ended triumphantly at Kataragama at a time almost all Opposition politicians feared to utter a word due to the State-sponsored thugs at the time.”

    “As a champion human rights activist, Mahinda Rajapaksa fought against the numerous involuntary disappearances during the 1988-1989 period of UNP terror. He was a tower of strength to thousands of mothers who lost their sons and daughters due to State terror prevailing at the time.”
    http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2014/05/25/main_Editorial.asp

    According to international terrorism expert Dr. Rohan Gunaratna’s research, JVP killed 30 politicians, 23 academics, 1 clergy, 2 government officials, 89 civilians and 61 service personnel, from July 1987 to January 1990. Rest of the killings (21 armed fighters) are attributed to state or state sponsored death squads.

    It is massive.
    You say:
    “Although ‘counter-terrorism’ is mentioned, there is no mentioning of the LTTE Terrorism that the country and all communities were inflicted with. (4) There is a clear accusation of the government only.”.

    This may be due to the fact that the terror inflicted on civilians by LTTE and Srilankan Military (State Terrorism} cannot be differentiated. Further LTTE was not listed as a Terrorist organisation by the UN.Further LTTE was not a banned organisation in Srilanka during the last stages of the war. The war between srilanka and LTTE is not against terrorism but it is more than that. Simply you cannot categorise the 1958, 1961, 1977,1981, 1983 one sided human losses, distruction of the livelihood by the state involvement as human rights violations. It is more than that.
    If you believe that is is not systematic, there is a responsibilty on the state to proof that.

    • 0
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      Dear Ajith,

      I can’t/couldn’t understand why so much of fuss when I requested the government to place a reservation on the Working Group’s Report quoting a statement from the Commissioner which I consider unsubstantiated? This is very routine in the Council. I couldn’t understand you in particularly when you raised broad claims (right or wrong) independent to the Panel’s claims or what I was saying? I am referring to your first posting. I gave my answer. In the present submission, you are trying to justify or understand how the claims of the Report could be substantiated. You quote them. It says among other things:

      “The Panel determined an allegation to be credible if there was a reasonable basis to believe that the underlying act or event occurred.”

      The above determination is very subjective; a ‘reasonable basis’ from one side of evidence. Of course one can blame the government or the military or the other civilians for not making their submissions. But that is a different point. It is on the basis of the first two points I mainly consider the Darusman Report (or Expert Panel’s Report if you like) to be one sided. Another proof of this one sidedness is Yasmin Sooka’s activities since then. Let us say, the Commissioner referred to it and it is his prerogative. But why the Working Group quoted it without much relevance to their visit to Sri Lanka? Therefore, can’t the government make a reservation? Why it is so disagreeable? My point is that investigations should be conducted without depending on the Darusman Report again and again.

      It is my view that above unsubstantiated claims (massive, systematic, for many decades, or genocide) derive from their erroneous approach to human rights enforcement. Some of them call it ‘naming and shaming’ which has a colonial connotation. Some of them may be genuine in thinking that harder you accuse better for human rights. But this is simply wrong. Of course this my view.

      One may ask why Laksiri Fernando speaking on behalf of the government? First, I am speaking for the truth, of course as I understand it. Second, there is a significant governmental change to improve situations. Therefore, overdose of international pressure and accusations might derail the progress or even play into the hands of those who want to bring back the old regime.

      You have tried to justify or understand some claims of the statement by saying “I think this includes the period of JVP insurgence in 1987-1990” or “This may be due to the fact that the terror inflicted on civilians by LTTE and Sri Lankan Military (State Terrorism} cannot be differentiated.” I know your effort is genuine. And also on the second point you may be right. But why not Sri Lanka try to constructively engage and ‘make reservations’ if something is not agreeable and ask for ‘clarifications or modifications’ if something is not clear?

      My main point, however in this article, is not about not condemning the LTTE terrorism per se but non-recognition of ‘terrorism’ as a war crime in the world in the present international law. By not doing so, double standards are naturally applied. For one country terrorism is condemned. For another country it is not.

      One last point on some of the things that you have quoted about ‘MR as a past HR campaigner.’ My experience then and today is that don’t trust the politicians too much when they appear to campaign for human rights. They are the people unnecessarily flair up discontent, conflicts and even violence for their power politics.

      • 1
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        “can’t the government make a reservation? Why it is so disagreeable? My point is that investigations should be conducted without depending on the Darusman Report again and again.”

        Of course, the government can make a reservation if they don’t agree or agree with the wording. At the same time you also have said your opinion and I am sure that I have the right to express my opinion as well. My point is that so far, there was no impartial investigation carried out in Srilanka regarding the war crimes or alleged war crimes. The statement use the word “believe” which itself self explanatory that it should be investigated throughly and impartially to make a conclusion (prove it or disprove it). It is like a research hypothesis based on literature review. This is where we all talk about the need for impartial investigations. I do not want to call that this report as “Darusman report” because it is a panel appointed by the Secretary general of the UN and it is generally called by “report of the Secretary General’s panel of experts”. I don’t think it is right for me to rename some others report.

        I agree that nationally and internationally double standard is applied throughout the world. As I always maintained “Power” and “opportunism” are two major challenges to overcome nationally and internationally. Even within a small family you find double standards. If we can sort out the double stanadard within this small island, I am sure we don’t need to worry too much about the double standard of UN.
        I never trusted MR but people should have the courage to ask questions about his double standard actions.

  • 5
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    There wont be any surprise even if you join the MR’S new party. What future SL has ?

  • 2
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    In most Countries disputes between people are settled in courts and the courts decision is accepted by all. But Sri Lanka is an exceptional Country. It all began after independence and all changes in the existing Constitution was implemented by a majoritarian Government. Because it was benefitting only the majority population all changes went through the Parliament with only the minority party’s objection. It so happened the Government held on to the majoritarian rule and made changes to reverse all process of merit and legitimate machinery that oppressed the minority. The oppression gave way to take out personal grievance with violence against minority and it was acceptable for both UNP and SLFP Governments that ruled the Country alternately for 68 years. All establishments including the judiciary were brought under political umbrella just to reverse legitimacy and make the Country a Sinhala Buddhist nation. This drove the minority against the wall as their people and lands changed hands by force. Now after the Tamil youth took to arms and branded by the Government as a terrorist group using the 9/11 terrorist attack in USA. This 9/11 attack and USA branding of all armed groups as terrorist again Sri Lanka made the mistake of branding LTTE and used the opportunity to commit genocide. This is after a systematic genocide previously as recorded in the recent history of Sri Lanka. It is a well known fact how Sri Lanka committed war crimes. It is also known why Sri Lanka vehemently refuted the UNHRC in spite of all evidence and names of criminals are available. If you have a need to preserve your honesty and dignity any other Country would go with the UN and defend itself and save its face. If it prefers to keep up the same impunity and racism and disregard the international community and continue with its genocide, the Country will face all the risks that happened in other Countries with similar situations. It is unfortunate that power is blind.

    • 0
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      Richard

      In most Countries disputes between people are settled in courts and the courts decision is accepted by all.

      May be you sue in Tamilnadu courts.

    • 0
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      Tamilnadu is just 16 miles away. Therefore, Tamil influence is high. Only in Sri lanka, Tamils want to be Tamils.

      In every other country, Tamils are coolies or they just learn majority language and live the majority life.

      Sri lankan politicians neglected Tamils too long instead of assimilating them. Because, except for the kallathonis, malayalis moved to north became Tamils and those settled in the south are sinhala buddhists.

      • 2
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        jim softy Dimwit

        “Tamils want to be Tamils”

        On the other hand, Sinhala/Buddhists do not want to be Sinhalese.

        Why?

  • 5
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    Writer should know that Sinhala state initially unleash “state Terrorism” against peaceful Tamils that resulted in Tamil Youth to take up arms to mitigate state terrorism and struggle for freedom and independence from Sinhala Buddhist barbarianism and racism.

    Many global leaders brand freedom fighters as terrorists and terrorists and their friends/allies. WikiLeaks exposed double standard, Apartheid and racist policies of leaders as well. Tamils are peacefully living and recognized as global leaders in Singapore and only Sinhala Buddhist racism, violence and attack made the very disciplined, law abiding Tamil youth to fight back with the support of famous Indian leaders including Indra Gandhi and MGR.

  • 1
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    he SO-CALLED terrorism of LTTE’ You just can’t trust any of these people can you? – Taraki

    Yeah right !! The man who brought santhosam to the ltte had to spend sometime in a castro Hotel. Jayadevan is one who received such a warm welcome.

  • 2
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    A special tribunal for war crimes during Bangladesh’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971 sentenced a former lawmaker to death and seven others to life in prison on Wednesday on charges of murder and other crimes.

    The tribunal sentenced Sakhawat Hossain, a former member of Parliament with the Jamaat-e-Islami party, to death. He and one other defendant were present in the court, while the six others were tried in absentia.

    They must remain in prison until their deaths, a harsher punishment than life in prison, which spans 30 years in Bangladesh.

    Hossain was a central committee member of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami at the time, and was accused of being a local commander of a group that aided Pakistani soldiers. He left Jamaat-e-Islami and joined the Bangladesh Nationalist Party headed by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. In recent years he has been involved with the Jatiya Party headed by former military dictator H.M. Ershad.

    His lawyers said they will appeal.

    Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed 3 million people and raped 200,000 women during the war.

    Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina initiated the prosecution of suspected war criminals in 2010 by forming the tribunal. More than 20 people have already been convicted, and five men, mostly top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, have been executed.

    Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamist party, openly campaigned against Bangladesh’s independence in 1971 and formed militia groups to help the Pakistani army fight the uprising. It says the tribunal is politically motivated, a charge the government denies.
    Share or comment on this article

    ******
    On December 26, widows of seven Bangladeshi officers killed by the Pakistanis asked India to help Bangladesh try the Pakistani soldiers for their crimes. In response, Indian envoy Durga Prasad Dhar, with an apparent reluctance, said: “India is examining its responsibilities [towards the POWs] under international law.”

    The leader of the liberation movement Sheikh Mujibur Rahman — soon after his return from captivity — initiated a formal process of war crimes trial.

    On March 29, 1972, Bangladesh government announced a formal plan to try some 1,100 Pakistani military prisoners — including A.A.K. Niazi and Rao Forman Ali Khan — for war crimes.

    The government offered a two-tier trial process — national and international jurists for some major war criminals (probably for the high command of Pakistan army); and all-Bangladeshi court for the rest of the war criminals.(9) Initially, India agreed to hand over all military prisoners against whom Bangladesh presented “prima facie cases” (essentially, presenting evidence) of atrocities.

  • 1
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    Dr Laksiri Fernando,

    “At least I have a PhD on human rights.” That is not enough.

    “What about Terrorism?”

    “The LTTE did not come into being or grow into a world-class terror outfit in a vacuum. Without the Sinhala Only, the Tiger may have remained unborn. Without the Black July, the Tiger may not have grown exponentially. If the B-C Pact and the D-C Pact did not miscarry (thanks to the midwifery of Sinhala extremism), the LTTE, even if it was born, would have remained a fringe group. ”

  • 0
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    I do not how he managed to get the PhD.
    He is not reading that UNSG has said that UN made a mistake in the 2009 war. The war was carried out without witness. UN cooperated with the Royal government and agreed to stay out. But UN did know that war crime was taking place. Gordon Weiss has said that. Dayan fooled the UNHRC. They do know that also. Chemmani, alone is enough to prove it was systematic. Chandrika put corporal Rajapaksa in to prison to save her commanders. Anybody can contest that but it is in writing all over the world. The UN official visited to Trinco Torture camp. This is not happened as the Yahapalanaya Government said that it took UNHRC there. They came to know by Suresh and Sritharan like activist. That game is more than enough to guess it was systematic. UNHR Commission appointed three judges to oversee some of the high profile, but suppressed cases. They resigned saying the Lankawe judges like Udugama are fraud, but they did not have power to fix him so no point in continuing. This is more than enough to show systematically Tamils are being refused judgments. That is what they saw on the September, 2015 resolution too. There is lot of hiding after making crimes in these acts.

    This guy still thinking UN SG’s experts can be discounted as Dharusman’s single man commission. That is only a dream. These are guys gave Old King idea to discount the UNSG’s report as Dharusman report. These are guys consulted Old King to carry out a war without witness. Now he is depending on his consulting to Old King, asking where the proof for UNSG’s expert panel’s accusation of them. Expert Panel’s report was accepted by UN countries and UN carried out an international investigation based on the matters said by the Panel. They found the Panel’s report was right and UN had internal administrative problems in handling Tamils case. It did not stop there, UNHRC appointed OISL and they too found Panel’s report was correct. Rather OISL pointed at 42 persons as war criminals with the help of 6000 witnesses, but America and UNHRC HC, Prince Zeid removed it out of the report. Two commissions appointed after the Panel have held that their report was dependable.
    This happened to JVP too. In JVP’s case Old King went to UNHR Commission. But nobody had done that to Tamil on that. Then Old King came and did that to Tamils. If that is not preplanned how that can be explained as ad hoc?

    In 1983 alone, more than 5000 people have disappeared. Junius Richard’s explanation was if he put Tamils on starvation only Sinhalese will be happy. This was preplanned but Junius tried to put the responsibility on Sinhalese. “If it is systematic then who was behind? Of course, one can accuse the State or the Sinhalese. First, I don’t think a ‘collective guilt’ could be placed on a whole community,” Junius action is clearly indicating that government is doing and putting the blame on Sinhalese. This learned professor doing just what Junius did. He is dragging the Sinhalese into war crime. Who blamed the Sinhalese on war Crime? He and then he is disproving it. War crime is accused on Old King, Chandrika, Richard P., Junius, Sirimavo, Solomon and Stephen. Sinhala leaders are responsible for the disappearances from 1958. Say just for word, it was done by Sinhalese; then it was the responsibility of the leaders to maintain law and order. From 1958 to Aluthgama never a single one is punished. None of the leaders resigned from their jobs, if the punishing was impossible. That is an international standard used to prove leaders’ sincerity. Two week ago a man arrested in Chunnakam police station vanished. Police said he ran out of the police station. But police did not account it for relatives, dutyfully. Eventually it is forced disappearance and the body is now found and he was beaten to death by police. Lalith-Kugan disappearances still not accounted in Jaffna. When army and police beat or rape, if the people die, then they are not accounted. The intensity of daily occurrences started to be heavey after Bastiampillai.

    UN has recorded the involuntary and forced disappearance as international crimes. Nobody is so far success in getting Lankawe and its communist consultants to act on that. But UN has facilitated countries to declare terrorist as who they are in coordinated manner with the Resolution 1373. Terrorist Appe Aandu grabbed it and unilaterally declared many people as terrorist. Other than Malaysia and India, no other counties have accepted it. Now this guy is unilaterally demanding UN to declare terrorism as international crime. But amazingly he wants his communist JVP and the terrorist Appe Adnu exempted and LTTE only implicated. Why he wants to do that. Because UN is asking them to act on the crime it has declared as International crimes. These are the guys who produced “Lies Agreed Upon” in retaliation to “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”. They live by committing crimes, if anybody asks for justice they retaliate. This PhD could not think if the UN declares the private terrorisms as international crime it is not going to wipe out the already declared enforced disappearances by the governments. Even if the UN does it and asks the government let it to investigate the terrorism, will the government allow? Or if the UN asks the Appe Aandu to investigate, is it going to refuse it? Then why he is raising that? He just wants to show CT readers that communist are very good in defending their country in the most Modaya ways. That’s all!

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