By G.K. Nathan –
The biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Sri Lanka from 15th to 17th November 2013. Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa made repeated attempts after the end of conflict on 18th May 2009 to hold CHOGM in Sri Lanka and to show to the world normalcy has returned to the country, even though the Tamil homeland in the North East Sri Lanka is under military occupation, denying fundamental rights. The first attempt was at CHOGM2009 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; the second attempt was at CHOGM2011 in Perth, where it was decided to hold CHOGM2013 in Sri Lanka. The favourable decisions was made in the hope that lapse of four year period, after the end of conflict in May 2009, would be long enough to heal the wounds between the Sinhala and the Tamil Nations. On the contrary the key members of the Commonwealth of Nations (the Commonwealth) have reservations about the progress claimed to have been made between the Sinhala and Tamil Nations after the 26 years long Sinhala-Tamil military conflict ended. The underlying reason of inequity between the Sinhala and the Tamil Nations, which started immediately after Independence from the Colonial power the UK in 1948, remains unresolved, which led to military conflict between the two Nations. During this four year period more and more evidence has emerged about war crimes and crimes against humanity and the expectation of the Commonwealth that four year period between the end of conflict and scheduled CHOGM2013 in Sri Lanka is long enough to establish accountability for the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity leading to reconciliation has not been met. Screening of shorter version of the film, No Fire Zone produced by Callum Macrae, as a documentary on the UK Channel 4 shown this month “No Fire Zone” puts the onus on the Heads of Commonwealth of Nations to change the direction Sri Lanka is heading, ignoring the Commonwealth charter which also upholds the International Bill of Human Rights. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Commander-in-chief of the Sri Lanka armed forces, has the responsibility and the final authority to act against persons on available evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the public arena. He is in denial that war crimes and crimes against humanity occurred, but claims that he liberated the Tamil Nation with “zero casualty”. International human rights organizations and media in Australia, Canada, India and the UK are challenging the credential of President Rajapaksa to hold CHOGM2013 in Sri Lanka and assume the Commonwealth chair-in-office for the next two years? The great dilemma for the Commonwealth Heads of Government to be or not to be at CHOGM2013 in Sri Lanka is the result of United Nation initiated inquiries and investigative report from others..
Unfinished role of United Nation in Sri Lanka
Shortly, before the military conflict ended in Sri Lanka the United Nation Secretary General (UNSG) Mr Ban Ki-Moon visited Sri Lanka to assess the situation. Thereafter a joint statement was issued on the 23rd March 2009 by President of Sri Lanka, Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa and UNSG, Mr Ban Ki-Moon. The statement “underlined the importance of the accountability process” and President Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed that his government “will take measures to address those grievances.” Signatories to the joint statement set up two independent inquiries after the end of military conflict in May 2009: President Rajapaksa appointed the Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) on May 2010, which released LLRC report on 16th December 2011; following the appointment of LLRC, UNSG appointed a Panel of Experts (PoE) in June 2010, which released the report on 31 March 2011. The one year delay, after signing joint statement to set-up investigative bodies by both signatories to the agreement, \casts doubts on the genuine commitment to seek the truth or to serve justice to victims of the conflict. The LLRC tenure was extended twice each time by six months. The composition of the LLRC, procedures adopted and the limited terms of reference given to LLRC were widely criticized by many international organizations that included the PoE. The LLRC report failed to address any of the issues identified in the PoE report, which was released about nine months ahead of the LLRC report. The LLRC failed to investigate the number of deaths, which would have assessed the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which occurred during the conflict. Instead, the LLRC maintained the President of Sri Lanka’s canard that war was fought with “zero casualties” by not mentioning anything about civilian casualties, though accurate figures were given for the number of deaths among the rebels and the military. A closer scrutiny of the LLRC report is very important because this is the one and only report ever published by the Government of Sri Lanka (GSL), since 1983 pogroms against Tamils, which cast doubts about the trustworthiness with which GSL will investigate the war crimes and crimes against humanity. Sri Lanka’s tactics of delay, procrastination, failure to seek truth and unwillingness to implement agreements, put the onus on the International body to take independent initiatives. This is further reinforced by the observations listed below.
Observations made about the LLRC Report
- Panel of Experts said that “In sum, the LLRC is deeply flawed, does not meet international standards and cannot satisfy the joint commitment of the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary General to an accountability process”.
- Amnesty International: “A preliminary review of the report suggests that it acknowledges the very serious human rights problems in Sri Lanka……. really falter is in ignoring the serious evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other violations of the laws of war by government forces, even though the report highlights the serious and systematic violations committed by the LTTE.”
- Human Right Watch: “disregards the worst abuses by government forces, rehashes longstanding recommendations, and fails to advance accountability for victims of Sri Lanka’s civil armed conflict …… highlight the need for an international investigative mechanism into the conflict as recommended by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts in April”.
- Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Response: Parliamentary party representing worst affected victims of war said genuine reconciliation is contingent on a credible accountability that ensures the right of victims to truth, justice and reparation. LLRC process and practices failed to win the confidence of Tamil people; disregarded credible allegations against GSL with respect to violations of IHL amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- International Crisis Group: “…Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn:The Need for International Action, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the government’s recent consolidation of power and sets out critical steps for an effective and coordinated international response.”
The PoE made the following observations on the military conflict in Sri Lanka, when they submitted their final report to UNSG that was immediately released and the important conclusions are:
- It claimed 40,000 civilians were killed in the last phase of the war
- Called the government to comply with international obligations, initiate accountability process and commence genuine investigation
- UNSG should establish independent international mechanism to monitor government’s domestic process, alleged violations and protect information
- UNHRC should be invited to reconsider May 2009 resolution on Sri Lanka
- Found credible allegation of breach of International humanitarian law and human rights law which need further investigation
- Called upon the UN Secretary General to review the actions of UN during the conflict and the aftermath regarding the implementation of its humanitarian and protection mandates
The UNSG Mr Ban Ki-Moon was also widely criticized by the International community for the way UN officials conducted themselves during the conflict. To meet the criticism and to avoid future failures of UN operations in conflict zone, in other parts of the world, UNSG appointed another panel to review the UN operation in Sri Lanka. The review panel released their report in December 2012. A closer scrutiny of LLRC findings and observations by others will throw light on the ability of Sri Lanka to hold the signed agreements or undertaking in the future under the current regime.
Number of civilians killed during the last stage of military conflict
United Nation Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-Moon appointed two panels: the first, PoE to investigate the final military operation between Sri Lanka armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the second one to review the UN operation in Sri Lanka during the military conflict between GSL forces and the LTTE. The PoE in their final report concluded that up to 40,000 civilians may have been killed and both parties in the conflict allegedly breached the International human rights law and the humanitarian law; recommended an Independent International Inquiry. The Review Panel report issued in November 2012 increased the number killed to 70,000 civilians, was very critical of UN operation and the sudden withdrawal of UN officials which open the path to President Rajapaksa to conduct his war without witnesses. One of the key finding is “Seen together, the failure of the UN to adequately counter the Government’s under-estimation of population numbers in the Vanni, the failure to adequately confront the Government in its obstructions to humanitarian assistance, the unwillingness of the UN in UNHQ and in Colombo to address Government responsibility for attacks that were killing civilians, and the tone and content of UN communications with the Government on these issues, collectively amounted to a failure by the UN to act within the scope of institutional mandates to meet protection responsibilities.” The International media, in particular the UK Channel 4 and Human Rights organizations, have further substantiated the above observations. The Social Architects (TSA) a civil society group, role of such groups is identified in the Commonwealth Charter. The TSA conducted a detailed survey and analysis of data during the period 2012-2013, but the period looked at in this study is from 1987 to 2009 in the North East Sri Lanka and also the study made observations as to what is happened after the end of military conflict in May 2009. This study was conducted by academics against many odds using well established sampling practices and a sample size of 1786 households was used, against the odd of heavy military presence in the North East Sri Lanka. The TSA concluded that during the last stages of the conflict from September 2008 to May 2009, that 118,036 people perished. The TSA figure of people killed is much closer to the figure of 146,679 submitted to LLRC, as missing people during the conflict by the Catholic Bishop of Mannar, Sri Lanka; his figure is based on the official data from government departments of Sri Lanka.
Torture and rape of men and women
International human rights organizations and media are in the forefront to bring to the notice of the world as to what is happening under military occupation of the Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka, after Sri Lanka claimed victory over the LTTE. Most of the reports are based on evidence of rape and torture of men and women who were lucky enough to escapee from Sri Lanka; there are many others who are trapped within the country, nowhere to go. There are a number of reports in the International media and a Google search on the subject: Rape and torture of Tamils in Sri Lanka, yield hundreds of reference materials for one to view and to draw their own conclusion. One the report referred to in this article, which describes ordeal of victims, this year. Ms Frances Harrison, a former BBC correspondent and the author of the book “Still counting the dead” published in 2012 was part of the video production team who interviewed and adduced evidence from 12 men and women who were tortured and raped by armed forces. The victims were interviewed mostly in the UK and injuries were examined by doctors who are familiar with such torture and rape cases. When personal interviews, medical reports and other evidence were given to a prominent British lawyer, a Q.C., her conclusion was that evidence presented is systematic and widespread, which is a crime against humanity that are normally referred to International Criminal Court. The production Sri Lanka’s Unfinished War by BBC aired on 20.30GMT, 8th November 2013, gives evidence of continuing rape and torture of Tamils by Sri Lankan forces, materials were when presented to Sri Lanka, High Commission, London for comments, the usual denial and counter accusations were made against the victims. In the meantime more evidence has come to light that the rape and torture of men and women that occurred at the end of the conflict are still continuing by the occupying Sri Lanka military forces in the Tamil homeland and people live in fear.
UNHRC Resolutions on Sri Lanka
The UNSG has not referred the situations in Sri Lanka, to the UN Security council for reasons known to him only, but was raised at the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations System. The council held a special session on May 26 and 27, 2009, on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, a week after the defeat of the LTTE by GSL armed forces, even before either the PoE or the LLRC was set-up. A majority of the Human Rights Council members decided to focus on praising a government whose forces were responsible for the repeated indiscriminate shelling of civilians. Human Rights Watch said that UNSG had regrettably undercut efforts to produce a strong resolution with his recent comments in Sri Lanka in which UNSG publicly praised the government for “doing its utmost” and for its “tremendous efforts.” At the same time accepting government assurances which had been repeatedly broken in the past, that it would ensure humanitarian access to civilians in need. India supported the resolution and was against condemning Sri Lanka’s action at the war front, as it has been determined that India played a supportive role in the final operation. This resolution was passed against the opposition of Western democracies who wanted a resolution critical of the way GSL conducted the war. As more evidence emerged with release of reports from the PoE and the LLRC, initiated by the USA resolutions were passed at the 19th session in March 2012 and 22nd Sessions in March 2013 supported by majority of UNHRC members. The PoE in one of their key recommendations said that the UNHRC should revisit the resolution passed on Sri Lanka in May 2oo9. The High Commissioner of UNHRC, Ms Navi Pillay, at the end of one week tour of Sri Lanka including the conflict zone on 31 August 2013, made the observation that Sri Lanka should implement the resolutions on Sri Lanka passed at the 19th in March 2012 and 22nd Sessions in March 2013, which drew the attention to the some of the recommendations of the LLRC report. She also warned against move towards an authoritarian regime in Sri Lanka. She will be making her submission at 25th UNHRC Session in March 2014 on the situations in Sri Lanka, which will follow the CHOGM2013 meeting in Sri Lanka and the actions that will be taken at that meeting. The decision made at 25th session will be very critical and will determine the future path to follow, at the same time Canada and India are boycotting CHOGM2013 and their voice at UNHRC will be also be important.
The Commonwealth and the Charter
The Commonwealth is made up of former British colonies that have come together voluntarily and 53 countries in all make up the Commonwealth: Africa 18, Americas 13, Asia 8, Europe 3 and the Pacific 8. An exception being Mozambique, not a former British colony, has joined the Commonwealth, voluntarily. The Commonwealth as an organization represents about a quarter of the world population and the number of countries in the world. The commonwealth could emerge as a strong democratic and powerful body, even compared to the UN which is hamstrung by the veto powers in the Security Council of the UN. The 53 countries that make up the Commonwealth: the population in 23 is less than one million, 8 between one and five millions and in 22 countries more than 5 millions. In the five areas categorized above, there are five key countries based on the previous role played in their respective regions and their relative economic strength: South Africa (Africa), Canada (Americas), India (Asia), the UK (Europe) and Australia (Pacific). The Commonwealth has an ethical and moral code, first expressed in the ‘Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles’, issued in 1971. The Charter of the Commonwealth was adopted by Commonwealth of Nations on 14th December 2012, which further consolidates and captures in an enduring document of the Commonwealth. Australia as the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office played a leading role in the development of the Charter. HM Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth of Nations on the Commonwealth Day, 11th March 2013, signed the document and said: ‘The Charter I will sign today, on behalf of you all, represents a significant milestone as the Commonwealth continues its journey of development and renewal … It will light the path of all those involved in the work of the Commonwealth, and of those who follow in our footsteps.’
The Charter of the Commonwealth has identified sixteen key areas as the value that should be upheld by all members of the Commonwealth have voluntarily agreed to follow: 1. Democracy, 2. Human rights, 3. International peace, and security, 4. Tolerance, respect and understanding, 5. Freedom of Expression, 6. Separation of Powers, 7. Rule of Law, 8. Good Governance, 9. Sustainable Development, 10. Protecting the Environment, 11. Access to Health, Education, Food and Shelter, 12. Gender Equality, 13. Importance of Young People in the Commonwealth, 14. Recognition of the Needs of Small States, 15. Recognition of the Needs of Vulnerable States, 16. The Role of Civil Society.
Is Sri Lanka honouring democratic rule and the Commonwealth Charter?
To answer this question, it is important to look back at the colonial history of Sri Lanka. For over three centuries, Portuguese, the Dutch and Britain recognized the multiethnic, multireligious, multilingual composition of country ruled them as separate units, respecting the differences. The British during the colonial rule in 1833 unified the Sinhala and the Tamil Nations into one and unified them for administrative convenience, accepting English as the lingua franca and equality among all made it easy to get the acceptance of the people. At the time of Independence in 1948, Britain failed to comprehend that the system they had at the colonial time will not last, once the ethnic, lingua and religious differences come into considerations and that is what happened in Sri Lanka. The proposed unitary constitution was unsuited when differences came into play and the tyranny of the majority destroyed the unity that existed and “all peoples” are living with unbelievable and unhappy memories. On the contrary, in the Indian subcontinent, the Indian leaders cleverly avoided the nightmarish scenario created additional state when needed. Britain failed to recognize the need for devolution power in Sri Lanka at the time of independence, but has agreed to grant the “the right to self-determination” next year, Scotland will decide their future with a referendum.
Sri Lanka has had regular parliamentary elections, since independence, though there were criticisms of electoral processes, especially during the period of current regime. The political parties in Sri Lanka to appeal to Sinhala Buddhists majority, they advocated Sinhala Buddhist hegemony which resulted in the marginalization of Tamil Nation which is Tamil speaking Hindus, Muslims and Christians. The Tamil Nation distinctly different from the majority Sinhala Nation, continually lost their rights, since independence, which led to an inevitable armed rebellion indirectly supported by the Indian government in 1983 and continued for 26 years.
President Rajapaksa with his brother as the Defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa conducted a war against the Tamil Nation exploiting the aversion of Western countries to use of terrorism for liberation and aided by India, China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan conducted the war against LTTE. The war that ended the military conflict has resulted in allegation of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the regime. The President after the military victory, exploiting the euphoria of the Sinhala masses emerged victorious in both the Parliamentary and Presidential elections, both elections were comfortably won, compared to the previous elections that he contested. He was able to get the two-third majority in the Sri Lanka Parliament by soliciting the support ultra Sinhala Buddhist chauvinistic parties and minority community members by enticing them with offer of ministries in the government. The jumbo cabinet of 100 ministers at all levels of which more than half were cabinet ministers, for a country of 20 million people. Following this the 18th Amendment was passed in September 2010 setting the stage for lifetime authoritarian rule in the country. The key elements are:
- A president, if elected, can serve any number of terms; previously a president could serve a maximum of two six-year terms;
- The 17th amendment to the constitution was repealed;
- The election commission will no longer have the power to prevent the use of state resources during elections.
The 17th Amendment initiated by the people was adopted unanimously in 2001, to promote good governance by establishing of a Constitutional council and independent commissions for: Election, Public Service, National Police, Human Rights, Bribery or Corruption, Finance and Delimitation. This was done to respect the wishes of the people, who have voted to replace the Presidential with Parliamentary system of government since 1994 up to 2005, because the 1978 Presidential constitution had had little check and balances to prevent the dawn of authoritarianism in Sri Lanka. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, after coming to power in 2005, politicised all institutions of government to unprecedented levels, disrespecting the 17th Amendment by appointing all his siblings and relatives at high level of government. The 18th Amendment lays the path for authoritarian family rule, as in North Korea. President made use of the two-third majority in the Parliament and the repeal of the 17th Amendment to remove the sitting Chief Justice and to appoint someone of his as the Chief Justice undermining the faith in the Judicial system. Should the Commonwealth endorse a country heading towards authoritarianism be the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office for the next two years?
The Rights of Tamil Nation
Tamils were virtually disenfranchised of their rights with promulgation of a unitary constitution at the time of independence in 1948 and unwittingly transferred power to the Sinhala Buddhist majority without making any constitutional provision to guarantee the rights of “peoples” in a multilingual, multiethnic and multireligious country. The struggle for rights of Tamil Nation for about four decades, ended with signing of the International Indo-Sri Lanka accord in 1987 to establish quasi-federal set-up in Sri Lanka, after many decades of denial of democratic rights to the Tamil Nation, Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election was held in September 2013. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was elected with overwhelming support of 80 percent of the people of NPC, but their votes do not count in a unitary constitutional structure with the Sinhala Nation having overwhelming power at the centre, where it matters. The TNA in their election manifesto called for the endorsement by the International community the following requests:
- Independent International Inquiry to establish accountability and leading to reconciliation of a divided country
- Demilitarization of North East Sri Lanka and promote economic activities, resettlement and rehabilitation of almost half a million displaced people from their own villages and homes
- Support for 95,000 war widows and orphans who need to be rehabilitated
- Guarantee the Right to self-determination, which is included in the constitution of many countries in the Commonwealth of Nations like: the UK, Canada, Australia etc, which gives security and protection to minority’s rights forever.
In the last six decades, all the agreements between the GSL and Tamils have never been fulfilled, even the Inter-governmental agreement between Sri Lanka and India to devolve power to North East Sri Lanka, as one unit remains unfulfilled. President Rajapaksa’s regime has not implemented, more than half the core values or principles, defined in Commonwealth Charter and they are: democracy, human rights, freedom of expressions, separation of powers, the rule of law, good governance and the role of civil society. CHOGM2013 gives an opportunity to correct the wrong.
In the past, even before the proclamation of the Commonwealth charter, four countries have been suspended, in all totals of six times: Pakistan (1999, 2007), Fiji (2000, 2006), two other countries are Nigeria (1995) and Zimbabwe (2002 withdrew before action was taken), they were suspended for flouting human rights, democratic principle and failure to hold fair and free election. President of Sri Lanka will take over as the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office from Australia at the CHOGM2013, after mid-November meeting in Colombo. During the military conflict in Sri Lanka which ended in May 2009, the President told the world that he is fighting “a war against terrorists” with “zero casualties”. Contrary to President Rajapaksa’s claim the available evidence, if independently evaluated or adduced before the International Criminal Court may lead to far reaching conclusions. Sri Lanka’s position in the Commonwealth, under the current regime is untenable.
The Commonwealth and dilemma faced by member countries
The opinion makers or influential members in the Commonwealth, from each of the five regions are: Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the UK; each country has its own constraints. All five countries have played important roles in the formation and development of the Commonwealth to what it is today and want to make it a powerful and democratic organization, unlike the UN which has to some extend strangled by the veto power of a few, against the democratic power of the majority. The endorsement of the Commonwealth Charter by all countries this year was a great achievement, but instead of celebrating the great achievement the CHOGM in Sri Lanka, turning out to be an anticlimax because of Sri Lanka’s unwillingness to face an Independent International Inquiry on the allegation of war crimes and crimes against humanity, during the war and there are evidence to show that violations are still continuing. At the same time Sri Lanka is heading towards an authoritarian regime, denying the democratic rights of minority groups and the rights with respect to religion, language and ethnicity. The Commonwealth has to take into account the agony of about 80 to 100 million Tamils in the Commonwealth watching the genocidal act against the Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka and agitating for justice to them. The announcement by the Prime Minister of India that he will not be present at CHOGM2013, in Colombo, Sri Lanka; earlier announcement by Canada that will not participate at the same meeting, but only send a low level delegation, will it be a strong signal to persuade CHOGM and President to act to uphold the values of the Commonwealth charter.
Australia caught between illegal maritime arrivals (IMA) from Sri Lanka and the non-cooperation of Indonesia which is used as a staging post by IMA, the Australian government wanting to return IMA’s back to Sri Lanka is willing to turn a blind eye to breaches of human rights in Sri Lanka. Two journalists who went from Australia early this month and two politicians’ one from Australia and one from New Zealand went last week on a fact finding mission were detained by the Sri Lankan official, questioned for several hours and deported. Australian government is prepared to ignore the breach of the majority of sixteen principles agreed in the Commonwealth charter, so to keep Sri Lanka happy and will continue to accept the returned refugees. This is not a signal that the Commonwealth leaders are expecting at the eve of the CHOGM2013 from Australian leaders, in spite of the fact Australia helped to develop the Commonwealth charter when Australia was the Commonwealth chair-in-office.
South African government is quiet on views about CHOGM2013, in Sri Lanka. Only South African peace campaigner and Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called out that “A boycott of a meeting of Commonwealth leaders this month in Sri Lanka could help pressure Colombo to address alleged war crimes against minority Tamils” .
The United Kingdom has a moral responsibility for putting the two independent Tamil and Sinhala Nations together in 1833, during the colonial occupation of the Island; thereafter at the time of independence, handed over power to the majority Sinhala Nation and put the Tamil Nation at the mercy of Sinhala Nation. Metaphorically, is like putting a garland of banana (Tamil nation) in the hands of a monkey (Sinhala Nation), Tamils’ rights were eaten up one by one, waiting any longer will see the garland completely eaten-up. The CHOGM2013, should decide what need to be done to save the Tamil Nation? Prime Minister David Cameron presses for Sri Lanka war crimes inquiry, said at 10 Downing Street, meeting with Tamil Diaspora. The UK Foreign Minister William Hague says Sri Lanka summit boycott will not bring ‘positive change’ , but he said “I will raise my concerns when I see President Rajapaksa next week in Colombo,” Shadow foreign secretary of the UK, Douglas Alexander called on David Cameron to push for a review of whether Mahinda Rajapaksa should be granted the position of the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, when he meets fellow leaders this week?
The Leaders of the Commonwealth as they gather for CHOGM2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka; the important decisions that need to be addressed are: on war crimes and crimes against humanity and the rights of Tamil Nation which was inadvertently deprived at the time of independence in 1948 by the UK. The dilemma, to be or not to be at CHOGM, has resulted in two key heads of government Canada and India, finally decided to boycott. The evidence for the first one are widely covered, for the second one a book “Unfettered Genocide in Tamil Eelam” has been delivered at High Commissions in London, the UK and Canberra, Australia, which summarizes the problem in details. Both are interrelated and for justice to emerge from CHOGM2013, both have to be addressed con-currently, the decision made should deliver justice, sooner than later to restore the hope in CHOGM.