17 November, 2018

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Dark Day Coming: The US-Sri Lanka Joint Resolution 

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

While the penumbra of the US resolution on Sri Lanka has softened, the core, the essence, remains. The Sri Lankan side has succeeded only in watering down the inessential, or to switch metaphors, in changing the décor. The crux of the matter remains unchanged. The core remains intact. The essence is unchanged. It is deeply inimical and insulting to Sri Lanka. There will be a Special Court with the Special Counsel and if this isn’t bad enough, this court will not be purely Sri Lankan in composition. The resolution says that a “Sri Lankan mechanism” will need Commonwealth and foreign judges, defense lawyers, prosecutors and investigators.

The Operative Paragraph 6 reads:

“…affirms in this regard the importance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defense lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators…”

This is not a “Sri Lankan judicial mechanism”. This is the infamous hybrid. It is quasi-colonial because we have not seen a combination of Sri Lankan and foreign judges or lawyers since the days of British colonialism. That’s how far back this resolution takes us. This is the model of the Planter Raj, with local kanganies.

The issue of a special court with an international component, with international participation, is what the TNA asked for, and is has got it, thanks to the US and more so, thanks to the Government of Sri Lanka. No wonder the TNA says: “…In particular, we welcome the draft resolution’s call on Sri Lanka to involve foreign and Commonwealth judges, lawyers, investigators and defenders in a judicial mechanism to be set up in Sri Lanka that would be mandated to try international crimes… We also wish to note our appreciation of the government’s assent to this text and its willingness to co-sponsor it in the Human Rights Council. A court established on these lines would represent a dramatic break from the past and could herald the beginning of an end to impunity.”

The resolution also calls for the non-retention in the armed forces of anyone found “credibly implicated” by an independent administrative procedure of the violation of human rights during the war. Please note that it is not anyone found guilty by a court of law, military or civilian, but by an ‘independent administrative process’. Operative Para 8 shows that the US-GoSL resolution hopes to purge the Sri Lankan military –including its intelligence units. It reads:

“…include ensuring that no scope exists for retention in or recruitment into the security forces of anyone credibly implicated through a fair administrative process in serious crimes involving human rights violations or abuses or violations of international humanitarian law including members of the security and intelligence units.”

The only problem I have in analyzing this resolution is that I cannot figure which is larger: the hypocrisy, the cowardice or the moral outrageousness. Is the hypocrisy of the West larger or smaller than the supine cowardice of the Sri Lankan Government? Are either of those factors smaller or larger than the ethical travesty and moral outrageousness of what we have signed up to?

The West that atom-bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, dumped Agent Orange on Vietnam and still refuses to pay compensation for deformed babies, used depleted uranium in the Iraq wars, wants Sri Lanka which did nothing remotely like this, to set up a criminal justice mechanism with foreign judges and lawyers and to sack any member of the armed forces found to be credibly suspect by an independent administrative process.

What the foreign component does is reject out of hand the potential of Sri Lanka even under this new government to regenerate our institutions and processes without an external presence and participation. The new Sri Lankan government has accepted this judgment—not on its predecessor but on itself.

It is noteworthy that the US resolution does not trust the Sri Lankan state and government because the text clearly prescribes a monitoring role over the whole process for the UN High Commissioner for human rights who is mandated to report back to the Council as to whether his report has been implemented. What this means is that Sri Lanka has agreed to implement the draconian recommendations of the OHCHR report! If Sri Lanka had not agreed to do so, it couldn’t have subscribed to the resolution and agreed to do no less than co-sponsor it. So the Government of Sri Lanka has agreed to place the noose around our country’ neck.

“Requests the Office of the High Commissioner… to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-second session, and a comprehensive report followed by discussion on the implementation of the present resolution at its thirty-fourth session” (Op. 18)

The cowardice of the Sri Lankan government isn’t contained mainly in the fact that it hasn’t pointed out the hypocrisy of the prescriptive West—as I used to in Geneva – but in the fact that it had other options.

As a new government friendly with both the West and India, it could have explained that any special judicial procedure, most particularly one that has a pronounced foreign component would be a vote of no-confidence against a reformist Sri Lankan administration.

We could have used the Desmond de SilvaMaxwell Paranagama (second mandate) Report to give the Council members something to think about. It would have armed our friends in the Council with arguments and would have strengthened our hand at negotiations. The government chose not to do so.

We could have used as a deterrent against the recommendation of foreign judges, the credible prospect that we, as a country with a new liberal-reformist government, could have mustered a sufficient number of votes in the council to defeat the US resolution or lose narrowly—either of which would have been a moral victory. Instead, we did none of these things. The reason is that the present government is not a friend of the West; it is a stooge, a mere lackey of the West. The new government of Sri Lanka does not negotiate with the West on essentials; only on the trimming. On the essentials, when the West says “jump” the new government asks “how high?”

The prescription of foreign judges and the purging of armed forces members, who have not been found guilty by a Sri Lankan court of law, shows that the West is not a firm friend of Sri Lanka. Friends do not prescribe alien over-lordship on the institutions of other friends. Meanwhile the acceptance of the resolution by the Government shows that our government is not a friend of Sri Lanka.

The West and India have 80 million Tamils to think of—most of them voters. One can understand the electoral and social compulsions, as well as the knee-jerk colonial habit of tilting to the minorities and the older policy of every empire: “divide and rule”.

What is reprehensible is that the Sri Lankan government, in its acceptance of the formula of special courts and foreign participation, and its co-sponsorship of the resolution saying such, shows that it shares the Empire’s view of its own country.

Malcolm X scoffed at the domestic slaves, the “house niggers” who, when their slave owning masters were ill, felt the identification so deeply in their bones that they used to query “we sick, Massa?” Malcolm X emphasized the “we”, which indicated that the “house nigger” was so pathetic as to identify more with the White master than with his or her fellow oppressed, working in the field, the “field niggers”.

The present Government has the soul of a “house nigger”. Frantz Fanon had such elites and their supportive social strata right, when he wrote of “Black Skin, White Masks”. The UNF government has internalized colonialism and its values. It represents what is called a comprador capitalist class; a class that sees itself as an intermediary between the Western master and the locals; elite that is the enforcer of Western will and whim; a class that has no independent will or existence, still less a national vocation and an independent project. This is a bloated puppet regime that will be a pliant supplicant in relation to the West and India and a ruthless overseer towards the patriotic masses.

The third aspect is that of the ethical travesty and overturning of natural justice. It is one thing to try those who may have wittingly and willfully killed or tortured noncombatant civilians, such as those responsible for the Trinco 5 murders. Our laws, lawyers, judges and courts can do that job. What the resolution calls for is quite something else. Sri Lanka faced, fought and defeated a ruthless fascist-separatist enemy which practiced suicide bombing terrorism and the dismemberment of sleeping villagers including children. We didn’t set up special courts to try those whom we captured or surrendered. Still less did we try them before special Courts with Chinese, Russian, Pakistani and Cuban judges! We rehabilitated and released eleven thousand former Tiger combatants. The ones who are behind bars were those held responsible for especially ghastly crimes. Some are unsuccessful Black Tiger suicide terrorists. That’s how merciful we were.

Now we are asked to try and punish those who may have committed excesses against the enemy. We are asked to try those who saved us from terror and reunified our country, in Special Courts, with foreign judges. Those who gave weapons and equipment to the Tigers will decide the fate of those who fought them and gave political leadership to that fight. If this is not an utterly shameful overturning of the moral order, I do not know what is.

*Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka was Sri Lanka’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and a Vice-President of the UN Human Rights Council.

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Latest comments

  • 21
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    Well DJ has got one thing right; next Monday’s pre-dawn partial eclipse of a blood-red-moon is indeed supposed to be a warning of dark days ahead.

    So, the deposed King has ordered all the acolytes to take up battle stations. Alas, DJ has gone into liyanamahathaya overdrive pulling out all stops to air his well rehearsed defences. But DJ, most of us was there with you every step of the way. You caught the Geneva huddle cold and managed to pull the wool over their eyes before the faecal matter hit the air-conditioning (nice of you to fit that career highlight in – lest we forget!).

    Instead of engaging those who charged us with yet to be substantiated accusations, we prevaricated. The President and his people had, for six long years, every opportunity to resolve the questions raised by our accusers .For six long years the King’s advisers led him to believe that outrage, denial, obfuscation, ignoring ,ridiculing etc etc was the way to go. Our own LLRC was shelved – it had elements of our inconvenient truths. When important people came a-calling we insulted them. Questioning their ethnic bias, offering marriage proposals, and treating them with, at best, concealed disdain. Hardly Sri Lankan. When the President and his government buggered about with the judiciary, made a mockery of the institutions of state, bullied the media into fearing their own shadows, nobody stood up to protest. When the President appointed a nincompoop thug to bully a diplomat (whatever his faults), nobody stood up to protest. The King and his closest henchmen couldn’t care less if the whole world knew, or even his own people.DJ and the many other of the King’s chamber just chanted ‘Mr President, Sir you are indestructible, Oh liberator of the Nation, the people of this nation will never abandon you. Dammit, even your own astrologer was cowed into telling you ‘it will be alright on the night’. You know DJ, the wheels of justice grind slowly, but surely.

    DJ throws everything at the ‘rapacious’ west. How hypocritical of the man. The west is where most of us received our higher education; the west is our preferred choice of location when it comes to educating our children, the west is (still) where many of cultural entertainment comes from, and the west is our preferred refuge when things get uncomfortable at home, or when we seek bigger challenges.

    DJ what is this ““”knee-jerk colonial habit of tilting to the minorities and the older policy of every empire: “divide and rule”.”””? You too have been at the vanguard, playing your part espousing this division yourself. Every government since 1956, and up to the last President and his government, has formulated their own version of spreading disharmony in the communities that make up this country.

    When you write “””Sri Lanka faced, fought and defeated a ruthless fascist-separatist enemy which practiced suicide bombing terrorism and the dismemberment of sleeping villagers including children.””” DJ, where were you when the mobs rampaged this land in 1958? In 1977? In 1983? Where were the forces of law and order in these troubled times. Who was it who pushed our Tamil community to fracture and give rise to what you call the “” ruthless fascist-separatist enemy””? Where were you when decent, ordinary and innocent people took flight from this land?

    A proud boast indeed “””We rehabilitated and released eleven thousand former Tiger combatants.””” Indeed we did. Remind me, where were you that misty October morning, when we examined the smouldering remains of the Bindunuwewa prison and watched the bodies of young ‘tamil political prisoners’ being brought out? DJ, where were you during the show trials, and later the triumphant acquittals declared by our ‘honourable’ judges that May morning in 2005?

    You know what DJ, justice has been a long time coming. As I explained earlier, we were not prepared to do earlier what decent people should have done. And quickly!. So now we have one unholy mess to clear up. MR was right to lead, belatedly, the fight to rid our land of a group that had descended into terrorism. But you know too well that in matters such as this, the President, the government, the armed forces, and all involved had to be like Caesars wife. The sad thing is that we didn’t clean up our own shit after the fight. Now the stench is unbearable! Better late than never DJ, let us all face these dark days like men.

    • 6
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      Spring Koha,

      The natural pride of the Natives got you, did it….guess it’s the victory of your Suddahood with that minority in tow. Why?

      • 5
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        Great. Keep doing this good work. we need to reveal the true picture of this doctorated idiot.

    • 7
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      Spring Koha

      “So, the deposed King has ordered all the acolytes to take up battle stations.”

      Rajpal Abeynayake a top cheer leader is missing for quite sometimes, precisely from 9th January. His service to the nation is needed at this critical juncture.

      Is he still looking for his wallet?

      • 0
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        Rajfal Abeynayake is in hiding and its been dark days for him since the 9th of Jan!!

        He went in a 3 wheeler, a white van was a waste on him!

    • 7
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      Great comment Spring Koha. Would you like to respond, DJ?

      • 2
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        Hi DJ, you seem to keep on churning out this rhetoric day after day night after night. Do you ever have time to read what others say about what you write. I just wondered.

    • 0
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      [Edited out]

    • 0
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      Fantastic stuff, Spring Koha, you certainly have knocked tis fake man out!

      Pity the UN delayed things so long until the Sirisena government came.

  • 0
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    DJ wries “It is quasi-colonial because we have not seen a combination of Sri Lankan and foreign judges or lawyers since the days of British colonialism…” [Edited out]

  • 5
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    I cannot stand this gentleman. Isn’t supposed to be an educated man. He reminds me of K M PRajarane of the bygone years. I do not read his diatribes. I skipped the current one,too. But I read the response by Spring Koha. Wonderful !

    • 1
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      If you read only the response, then how can you have any context ?

  • 3
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    Dark Days ahead for you DJ and your gang of racists. Its pity that the UN report did not recommend the ICC in the Hague. That’s the need of the hour, considering that every court is corrupt in Sri Lanka. Judges are involved in bribery, rape, extortion and some females in prostitution. Many may find this offensive ??? Then are is not a single judgment made to prosecute the offenders of the various crimes in the past few months following the new government ? The biggest criminal is the AG who is openly supporting criminals of the previous era.

  • 4
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    Dayan:

    Dark Day Coming: The US-Sri Lanka Joint Resolution

    *** Change the Futre Tense ( Dark Day Coming ) to Past Tense

    The Seismic Changes have already taken place. Just look at the following.

    1) Govt committed to implement resolution

    Sep 25 (CG) Govt says it is committed to implement the resolution submitted to the UNHRC in Geneva. Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that the resolution signifies a path-breaking success for Sri Lanka in the UNHRC in Geneva at the current 30th Session. He said that for the last several years, Sri Lanka was repeatedly humiliated by the international community with Resolutions that censured the conduct of our country.

    2)India warns Sri Lanka over maritime security concerns
    Sep 25, 2015 08:57 AM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)
    ECONOMYNEXT – India’s envoy in Sri Lanka has warned the island to be mindful of her big neighbour’s maritime security concerns, saying their neglect could affect bilateral relations.

    3) NEW DELHI: Keen on fostering ties with neighbours, India is set to engage in high-level talks with Sri Lanka by October for an ambitious $5.19 billion road project to connect both the nations through a sea-bridge and an under water tunnel.

    The development follows Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari meeting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last week with plans to expand the existing motor pact with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal to other neighbouring countries.

    Multilateral funding agency ADB has already shown interest to finance the $5.19 billion project, sources said adding, the bank has already agreed to finance infrastructure projects worth $8billion.

    Sri Lanka is no longer a SOVEREIGN Country and who brought this on. Your BOSS.

  • 6
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    Dear Dr Jayatilleka, I most sincerely hope that CT will cease to be a ‘Forum for Abusing Dayan (FFAD)’ and people will stick to the issues that you raise.

    My understanding is that when you were at the UN, you very firmly advocated the full implementation of 13A. ‘Thus far and no further’ was your approach. You also very strongly supported some form of accountability using domestic mechanisms for known excesses that were committed during the last stages of the war…….but in both these ventures you failed to convince your ‘bosses’ to do the right thing. Instead, you lost your job and your ‘boss’ called you an agent of the NGOs. Was it not these failures that have now dragged Sri Lanka into this ‘cesspit’ of International Justice. You call it a brand of neocolonialism and perhaps you are right in that. But why is that the ‘new and reborn Dr Dayan Jayatilleka’ – a man I admired and respected once, now willingly carrying the mantle of Gunadasa Amarasekara and Nalin de Silva, is unable to see the obvious fact that unless we put our house in order, we will always be victims of external influences and interferences. Perhaps, as you say, the West is after its own strategic interests rather than the human rights of the Tamil people. But it was OUR FAILURE to resolve our internal matters that gave them this foothold and thereby opening this can of worms. People like yourself – who once held influential positions are, at least partially, responsible for this predicament. You once wrote that demography and geography are products of once collective destiny and it was clearly the failure of people like yourself for not convincing your former ‘Bosses’ of this ‘destiny’ and its implications that has culminated in the present resolution. I most sincerely hope that in your private moments you will reflect on your ‘rebirth’ and convince your new friends that a permanent solution to the ethnic issue must be found…..so that our future generations will not have to live through the hell hole of ethnic hatred.

    On a personal note, I am a Sri Lankan Tamil, proud of both components of my identity – Sri Lankan and Tamil…..in that order. I am proud of my links with this island nation from antiquity as represented by ‘Mani Pallavam(or Nagadeepa)’, ‘Koneswaram’, ‘Thiruketheeswaram’ and ‘Thondeswaram (at Thevan Thurai or Devi Nuwara)’ just as much as I am proud of singing ‘Disa wavai Sigiriyai Mageth Urumayai’. Please…..oh please desist from that urge of using clever arguments and emotive language to stir the ‘pot’ and thereby prevent our people from coming together as one Nation for another 50 years.
    Best wishes
    Professor Mahesan Nirmalan
    Manchester Medical School

    • 3
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      Don’t take it oo seriously Prof. most of those who comment here are only literate but not educated. See,one idiot comment,he admit he didn’t read the article but likes the comment becuase he dislike DJ.
      Most of those who(the LTTE rump) have commented are the same,they simply attack the messenger and are not interested in the message.

      • 2
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        Hi NAK, may be one idiot acknowledged he did not read the article.
        I can understand why. This messenger keeps on re-cycling the same message again and again with different titles. So I don’t blame that ‘idiot’.

  • 4
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    No, Dayan, the dark days went with the defeat of your hero Rajapissa the dictator. Bright days are ahead now.

  • 5
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    Dayan’s words (once more) serves to describe himself, when he pontificates as follows:

    “The only problem I have in analyzing …. is that I cannot figure which is larger: the hypocrisy, the cowardice or the moral outrageousness. “

    Taken in context of his obsequious defence of the past administration in general, and MR in particular, one can only wonder at his “moral outrageousness”.

  • 0
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    Dayan is running out option so losing respects by lowering dignity on the writing by minutes. [Edited out]

  • 0
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    What I cant understand is it was okay for MR to bring in highly qualified Foreign Legal Experts such as Desmond De Silva QC and Geoffrey Nice QC and several other Foreign experts to help the Paragama report into missing persons.

    Was this because it is Okay for the Sri Lankan Government to appoint foreign experts?

    Weren’t the members of the International Eminent Persons Group all Foreign specialists as their group title implies.

    Could it be that the UN contacted the members off this group who left the country in disgust after non co-operation, obfuscation and foot dragging of the Sri Lanka Attorney generals Office.

    Just a passing thought.

  • 1
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    [Edited out]He had been playing hide and seek before the Presidential election. Suddenly, for reasons known to him only he ties up with Mahinda like his name sake Sarath de Silva, that good for nothing rascal.
    Mahinda existed and would continue to exist by hoodwinking the gullible voters by his pseudo patriotic stance. That is why he wanted to continue with the Geneva Human Rights ‘gonibilla’. Now the people will gradually realise that the human rights factor will not be there as long as we become more and more democratic and respect human rights.

  • 0
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    [Edited out]

    • 2
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      This contained a link to DJ talking about the UN resolution. I cannot understand why CT have deleted it, surely it is in everybody’s interests to hear his explanation.

  • 2
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    Greetings Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

    I Must say you got good commend in expressing the views in English and pushing through your arguments to general public.

    How come you are so against western countries, culture and principeles while you self have educated in Christian values from St. Joseph’s College is a Catholic educational institution in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Then did your Phd in Griffith University in Australiia.

    I agree Powerful nations have dark stories and past even they may repeate.

    Does it mean we should repeat or copy the actions of these countries?

    I dont think it will be correct for the country to investigate and pass judgment on the people
    for accused crimes when the people who Are accusing does not have any trust in our leagal
    Administratorers. Using international components in our legal system we could proof that we are not
    Totaly usless people and our countries 20 Odd million people are rasist.

    What some politicians and officials have behaved reflected a bad impression in world community that all Sri Lankans are not to be trusted and uncivilised people. We are not radicals, extreamist.

    I assume you are aware that Sri Lanka is a majority 69 Odd percentage buddhist and we have stayed so Long because people of Sri Lanka want to follow Lord Buddhas preaching.

    I also hope you know What it means and What is our peoples duty. So I hope you will be sensible when you compare orthers acts to justify ours.

  • 0
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    Dark days started long ago !! When majority’s leaders implemented state aided Sinhalese people’s settlements among Tamils !!!

  • 2
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    Dark days for you my senile friend. With age you have become a lunatic.
    You eternal support for war criminals knows no boundaries. Only the oppressors need be worried. Your bosom friends were only engaged in a ‘humanitarian operation’ the words you then used to hoodwink the UN, when you were involved in directly slaughtering over 80,000 civilians.
    The calculated move to get the Red Cross and the UN out of the areas is reminder the planned genocide. Nothing by a referral to the ICC in the Hague is most appropriate. I hope you will also be hauled in as an accomplice to these crimes.

  • 0
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    I think we should call DJ hereafter: [Edited out]

    Amazing how many predictions of his were DEAD wrong! The fact that he is senile is beyond question and the thing is senile advancement was very early in his life!

    [Edited out]

    You can tell a man by the company he keeps. So we know you well, [Edited out]

  • 0
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    Dayan the [Edited out]

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