28 November, 2020

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Arbitrary Release Of A Convicted Military Officer Calls For A Rethink On International Strategies On Sri Lanka: GTF

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) strongly condemns Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa’s decision to pardon and release Sunil Ratnayake, an army officer on death row for killing eight internally displaced Tamil civilians, including a five-year-old child and two teenagers, in December 2000 during the country’s civil war.

Mass Murder Convict Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake

In 2015, after a 13-year trial, the Colombo High Court found Sergeant Ratnayake guilty of the multiple murders committed in Mirusuvil in the North of Sri Lanka and sentenced him to death. The conviction and the sentence were unanimously affirmed by a five-judge-bench of the Supreme Court in May 2019. 

One of the rarest of rare cases, this was often touted as an instance of accountability in a country that took no genuine step to address entrenched impunity and war time atrocities committed during the three decades long war.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has strongly condemned the presidential pardon, calling it an affront to victims and yet another example of the failure of Sri Lanka to fulfil its international human rights obligations to provide meaningful accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other gross violations of human rights.

US Congressman  Eliot Engel, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted that he was ‘troubled by Sri Lankan President pardoning soldier convicted of murdering civilians, including 5 year old girl, during the country’s civil war’ and adding that ‘this action calls into question Sri Lanka’s commitment to post-war accountability and reconciliation.’

Amnesty International has condemned Sri Lanka’s actions stating that using the pandemic as an opportunity to release those convicted for heinous crimes is reprehensible and that it was despicable to have that semblance of justice reversed through an arbitrary executive decision.

This arbitrary action by the Sri Lankan government sends a deeply disturbing message – military perpetrators of horrific crimes, even in a rare chance of convicted in a court of law, will be pardoned and released.  

Sri Lanka may have opportunistically timed its action to coincide with the pandemic gripping the world. But, the trajectory of the Sri Lankan government and the direction it is heading – withdrawal from the sponsorship of the UNHRC resolution, militarisation of the senior administrators of the government and now this blatant reversal of justice delivered in a court of law – leaves no room for ambiguity. 

The Sri Lankan state and its institutions will never exercise accountability for war-time atrocities and will always find a way to let the offenders go free.    

It is crucial that all progressive forces in Sri Lanka, irrespective of their ethnic, religious or political affiliations, rise to the challenge to impress upon the citizenry about the importance of adhering to international norms on human rights, rule of law and good governance. The reckless steps the government is venturing would only lead towards diplomatic isolation and economic stagnation.

For all countries that consider human rights and adherence to international law as a cornerstone for a decent and civilised world and as a basis for international relations, it is time to end the diplomatic charade that Sri Lanka on its own will deliver on accountability and reconciliation, and to seriously explore alternate strategies and options invoking universal jurisdiction by States and creating an international impartial accountability mechanism to help Sri Lanka deal with its unfortunate past. (GTF)

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Latest comments

  • 2
    1

    When government spokesmen and supporters say that Sri Lanka is capable of solving its own problems, what they mean is that this country will solve the problems according to its own sense of what is right and wrong. That is the issue because none of the governments this country has had since independence have cared about the difference between right and wrong!

  • 2
    7

    There was a time of killing 500 surrendered police officers, killing hundreds of devotees at Sri Maha Bodhi, Killing at Mosques or killing in unprotected villages including babies, bombing in trains, buses or at people gatherings. Those who started war thought they only have got a licence to kill. They did not think every action has a reaction.

    • 6
      1

      Latha,
      Hitha Matha Katha kaloth Honda. Tamils did not start the war, it was the Sorry Sinhala Buddhists pioneered it. I think you were in your Granfather’s ‘Tes–cles’ when it all started by someone from the south called SWRD in 1956.

      • 3
        1

        Bloody Sinhala only by SWRD brought our beautiful nation to this state. SWRD sent all his children to study to foreign countries including Chandrika.

        • 2
          3

          Abdul Sabry

          What’s wrong with Sinhala as State language. Tamil also given the same status. Sinhala language is our identity. You wanted English as state language. Go and see what other countries like India, Pakistan, did? What’s happening in Sri Lanka is minority tries to manipulate majority.

    • 4
      1

      Of course Latha, we all know that brutal era… just because LTTE terrorists or JVP terrorist done so, you want us to take that as a lession and breed the criminals out of sinhalaaya ?:
      .
      What an argument ? I really dont think you may ever have gone to a school, not just for a shade… Why you guys feel that whatever crime being promoted by BP Rajakshes to be commended by you ?
      .
      If you son or daughter would have been cut into pieces, to the very same manner JAMAL KHASHOGGI in saudi Embassy faced it, 2 years ago, would your contitioned mind ever change to be neutral .. and fight for the victimized rather than defending the criminals ?
      :
      I have no idea why you and the ilk would behave so, either you guys have not learnt to see it right or, total ignorants by your genetics. Or that is a matter of SINHALA genomes. I hate me to call sinhalaya, whenever I see, you the kind of CYNICAL ones add it repeatedly.

      • 0
        1

        1958 – Over 5000 Tamils were brutally murdered by the Sinhala people – No LTTE present

        1977 – Over 8000 Tamils Killed by the Sinhalese – No LTTE present

        1983 – Over 30,000 Tamils killed by the Sinhalese and over 30,000 Tamil houses looted and burnt by the Sinhalese.

        2009 – Over 45,000 innocent Tamil civilian been killed after the war at Mullivaikkal according to UN sources.

    • 1
      1

      So this street trash thinks the above justifies pardoning a convicted murderer?

      Should be a true Sinhala Buddhist.

    • 1
      1

      Dear Latha, no one in their right mind ever condoned those acts of terror by LTTE or the acts of terror committed by SriLanka’s armed forces.
      We don’t need to pick a side. We just need to uphold justice for all. Releasing a convicted horrendous sadistic murderer is simply insane.

  • 3
    3

    the whole wide world will condemn these types of actions but the boorish criminal gangs better known globally as the corrupt swollen-headed rajapuka mangy flea-ridden all over their widebodies and their uncouth unsavory uncivilized mates will march on and on till only death will do them apart.?
    =
    many a democratic foreign government now should have the balls to blacklist this military junta and cease having any form of loose or solid connections.
    =
    the GTF and other powerful Tamil organizations along with many other honest free-thinking civic rights fighting groups should get together on a unanimous front launch many a campaign to bring these bullies onto its knees.
    if this happens the rupee will get the hammering of its sordid tormented life, unemployment will arise the cost of living will be beyond the reach of the average man woman child or beast.
    it will then become the world’s most well-known pariah state.?
    =
    if you except many a Yakko bugger or buggeress to join hands together and fight to send this murderous psychopath back to prison you will be living in dreamland.?
    =
    the abitha [ apprentice or the young little novice monks ] sexually eating saffron amude clad so-called bald-headed cads criminally inclined thugs, will be at the forefront if there are any local pressures or movements be initiated to get this mass murderer and the thug ganasara thero a sexually performing in Paris a father to a few low-class low-quality bastards will not be allowed to make any progress.
    =
    now it is the appropriate right time for all the smart thinking brainy members of the minority communities to along with the decent moderate members of the Sinhala masses get together first to get rid of these autocratic draconian bully mobsters by which when the primary objectives are achieved will bring calm tranquillity and peace once again to this once upon a time pre-1956 poll, the peaceful granary of the east an exporter of rice to the world.

  • 1
    0

    Abdul Sabry

    What’s wrong with Sinhala as State language. Tamil also given the same status. Sinhala language is our identity. You wanted English as state language. Go and see what other countries like India, Pakistan, did? What’s happening in Sri Lanka is minority tries to manipulate majority.

    The language question is more or less settled with Tamil ALSO made an official language. The problem is with implementation. People in Jaffna continue to receive letters in Sinhala. Complaints are recorded in Sinhalese in police stations manned by Sinhalese. Of course, this is not a problem to Abdul Sabry because he is trilingual!

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