Colombo Telegraph

Geneva Conspiracy : As You Sow So Shall You Reap

By Uvindu Kurukulasuriya

Uvindu Kurukulasuriya

Last week several thousands of government supporters have shouted “hands off Lanka” protesting on the streets across the country against the US-sponsored resolution. Protests were held throughout the island slamming the US move at the UN Human Rights Council as interference in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.

The most ridiculous thing was the acting Minister of External Affairs himself took part in the protest with the people who shouted “US don’t support terrorism”, “international conspiracy against motherland.” Regardless of Sri Lanka’s  streets protests and those of the Sri Lankan delegation in Geneva, The United States this week submitted the draft resolution.

The resolution states; Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, and other relevant instruments, Reaffirming that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, as applicable, Noting the Report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and its findings and recommendations, and acknowledging its possible contribution to Sri Lanka’s national reconciliation process, Welcoming the constructive recommendations contained in the LLRC report, including the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances, de-militarize the north of Sri Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, reevaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement involving devolution of power to the provinces, promote and protect the right of freedom of expression for all, and enact rule of law reforms, Noting with concern that the LLRC report does not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international law,

1. Calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations in the LLRC report and take all necessary additional steps to fulfill its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans,

Forget about all NGO/ INGO/ UN Expert panel / Paid and unpaid human rights activists/ Tamil Diaspora/ Channel 4/ Sarath Fonseka’s white flag claim/ exile journalists and “traitors” claims with regard to war crimes and international law.

2. Requests that the Government of Sri Lanka present a comprehensive action plan as expeditiously as possible detailing the steps the Government has taken and will take to implement the LLRC recommendations and also to address alleged violations of international law,

3. Encourages the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant special procedures to provide, and the Government of Sri Lanka to accept, advice and technical assistance on implementing those steps and requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a report to the Council on the provision of such assistance at its twenty-second session.

Does the resolution sound like a conspiracy? How on earth can anyone say this is against Sri Lanka? It asks only Sri Lankan government to implement its own commission report. It even asks the UN to help GoSL to implement it. the Only additional issue is, it asks the GoSL to address alleged violations of international law. So what is wrong with it?

Forget about all NGO/ INGO/ UN Expert panel / Paid and unpaid human rights activists/ Tamil Diaspora/ Channel 4/  Sarath Fonseka’s white flag claim/ exile journalists and “traitors” claims with regard to war crimes and international law.

According to a leaked US diplomatic cable; In response to the ‘incident’s report,’ Basil  Rajapaksa candidly remarked, ‘I’m not saying we’re clean; we could not abide by international law. The cable was written on December 1, 2009 by the US Ambassador to Colombo Patricia A. Butenis. In the same cable Butenis wrote; Gotabhaya Rajapaksa noted that in defeating the LTTE terrorists the war had ‘not been clean,’ but was still a success. 

The “Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate” published a report on December 7, 2009 titled “Sri Lanka: Reaching U.S. Strategy After The War” for their one hundred and eleventh Congress first session. Quoting Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, reports says; He said he did ‘not deny there have been cases of government abuse’

On October 04, 2006 Ambassador Robert  Blake wrote; “Speaking with surprising candor, Basil Rajapaksa explained the GSL’s efforts to prove that members of the Security Task Force (STF) murdered five students in Trincomalee in January: ‘We know the STF did it, but the bullet and gun evidence shows that they did not. They must have separate guns when they want to kill someone. We need forensic experts. We know who did it, but we can’t proceed in prosecuting them.’

In the same cable Blake wrote; “He added that it ‘looked like’ EPDP cadres, along with the SLN, had perpetrated the mid-August burning of the pro-LTTE Uthayan newspaper office in Jaffna.”

Blake wrote on May 18, 2007 “However, Ranga said that the current government, cash-strapped, has ended this arrangement. Instead, he alleged, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa has authorized EPDP and Karuna to collect the money from Tamil businessmen. This may account for the sharp rise in lawlessness, especially extortion and kidnapping, that many have documented in Vavuniya and Colombo.” Sri Ranga is a ruling party MP now.

“In the meantime, these paramilitary groups give the GSL a measure of deniability. Jaffna Government Agent K. Ganesh told us that some military commanders in Jaffna, including Major General Chandrasiri, want to clamp down on paramilitaries but have orders from Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa to not interfere with the paramilitaries on the grounds that they are doing ‘work’ that the military cannot do because of international scrutiny. On December 7, 2006, Chandrasiri confided to Ambassador Blake in Jaffna that the Defense Ministry had instructed him not to interfere with ‘military intelligence’ operations .” on May 18, 2007 Blake informed Washington.

On July 6,2007 Charge d’Affaires, James R. Moore wrote “Military Spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe (strictly protect), a political insider within the Rajapaksa administration, told us that the arrest on June 26 of the five alleged abductors working with Gajanayake was political retribution against those thought to be disloyal to the Rajapaksa administration. Samarasinghe further alleged that the GSL felt compelled to demonstrate concrete examples of progress on abductions to appease the international community.”

On October 7, 2011 Ambassador Butenis updated Secretary of State writing; “In an October 6 meeting with Ambassador, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the president “could” appoint a new commission to look at complaints or use some existing mechanism, such as an ombudsman. He also noted that, contrary to widely held impressions, the army had investigated and prosecuted individual soldiers for individual crimes (presumably stealing, rape, murder, etc.) committed during the war, and Major General Peiris heading the military legal department could provide more information. (NOTE: Embassy will be following up with the general as soon as possible. END NOTE.)

You cannot appease international community all the time.  So, bothers themselves had given evidence with other important government officials. Well dude, you asked for it! It was not the “traitors” who told all those to US.

The resolution asks the GoSL to reach a political settlement involving devolution of power to the provinces. This is what President Rajapaksa said to Ambassador Blake, on May 26, 2009,  Charge d’Affaires, James R. Moore wrote;

“In his farewell call on President Rajapaksa on May 20, Ambassador stressed that the reconciliation phase must include two vital components: the humanitarian side – providing the IDPs with what they need and resettling them expeditiously – and the political side – power-sharing arrangements to give Tamils assurance of a future with hope and dignity. This was the way to defeat terrorism for good. The Ambassador encouraged the GSL to think about how to engage with Tamil representatives. Ambassador said it was particularly important to reach out to the Tamil Diaspora so they would stop supporting the LTTE. The President said the basis of his devolution plan would be the ‘13th amendment plus 1’ – meaning implementation of the existing constitutional provisions for provincial councils, but adding an upper house to Parliament, modeled on the U.S. Senate.

So the US resolution only seeks what the Sri Lankan government has already assured. It is not a conspiracy against Sri Lanka.

Quoting JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe on January 15, 2010  US ambassador Butenis wrote in a confidential cable; “Nevertheless, he went on to say that all countries had to surrender some of their sovereignty when they signed international agreements and that this gave other countries the right to interfere to some extent in other nations’ affairs. He also said that there was no international conspiracy against Sri Lanka, claiming instead that the President’s raising this issue was a sign of his election desperation”

As You Sow So Shall You Reap !

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