As UNHRC Warms to International Investigation the Spurious Case of Gobi Appears and Rajapaksa’s ‘Game Plan’ is Revealed
The mysterious appearance of Gobi and Jeyakumari‘s incarceration in Boossa under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (and the fact her daughter Vibushika has been placed in the custody of Probation and Child Care Services ) is part of the Rajapaksa government’s ‘game plan’ to once again use the “terrorism” ploy, an escape mechanism, by which it thinks it could continue to enjoy impunity for Genocide.
Sri Lanka War Crimes Investigation Part 2
With UK’s position clear as crystal and the revised 2nd draft now for discussion warming to an international investigation (HRC25 draft op8), the Sri Lankan government is playing out a drama that is typical of its deceitful behavior, introducing a red-herring with the appearance of the spurious case of Gobi, to divert and even wiggle out of, so it thinks, from international scrutiny that may lead to serious charges of mass atrocity crimes allegedly perpetrated by Sri Lanka’s political and military leaders and most surely the high-flying members of the ruling Rajapaksa clan including its President.
We thought and Dayan Jayatilleka believed that Sri Lanka is continuing to bungle its chances, ruin it for itself, by itself as it were, at the crucial 25th session of the UNHRC with the arrests of Jeyakumari and Vibushika and Ruki Fernando and Fr. Praveen. With a rather bizarre contemptuous, not amusing headline, that brings back nightmares of Sri Lankan shelling,arrests, executions and hostage taking of innocent Tamils in the dreadful ‘no fire zone’, headlined, “Arresting Performance, Shelling Sri Lanka’s Zone at Geneva”, Dayan talks of how Sri Lanka has “torpedoed” its already grim chances brought about by the 2nd draft (op 8) by these arrests.
Dayan who gives free advice, (rather more like pontificating) to the government regularly with schemes on how to continue government impunity, escape accountability and avoid an international investigation for grave international crimes at UNHRC, had this to say on the arrests:
” With the arrests of an outspoken middle aged Tamil woman activist with no history of violence, her detention in Boossa under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the handover of her 13 year old daughter to the child protection authorities, the detention without acknowledgement of two human rights activists, Ruki fernando and Fr. Praveen reportedly also under the PTA, the Sri Lankan authorities just torpedoed Sri Lanka’s chances at the ongoing crucial 25th sessions of the UNHRC”
Torpedoed, so we thought but the Sri Lankan government had other plans: there’s was more crafty, more shifty, more sinister, more treacherous , with the appearance of Gobi on the scene .
It was all revealed by Sri Lanka’s UN envoy Ravinatha Aryasinha, the mouth piece in Geneva of the family run government of Sri Lanka where he introduces Sri Lanka’s new escape mechanism that the “LTTE has regrouped” with a warning that, “this development also underscores the need to be vigilant on the activities of the remnants of the terrorist group, considering its bearing on national security. Was this a maneuver calculated to bring back the “terrorism ghost” to impress on the UNHRC to save itself from an international probe?
Aryasinhe made some serious allegations against this mysterious Gopi and Jeyakumari the activist mother of a disappeared son:
That Gobi was a LTTE operative “actively involved in reviving the LTTE through regrouping LTTE cadres and recruiting unemployed local youth with the intention of using them for acts of terrorism,” that the “Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) had recovered an arms caché including mortar and RPG type live ammunition, 3 hand grenades, 2.5 kg claymore bomb and ammunition for T-56 weapons,” that pursuant to a search Gopi was found in Jeyakumari’s house, that Gopi escaped after shooting a police officer, that a search of Jeyakumari ‘s residence revealed, “a Menelab F-3 type mine detector”, that Jeyakumari was arrested, “for aiding and abetting Gobi in his activities,” that her daughter Vibushika was placed with “Probation and Child Care Services, because she had no other care giver,” and that Ruki and Fr Praveen were arrested and are being questioned to find out, “the whereabouts of Gobi and other operatives,” since “investigations have revealed that Mr. Fernando and Father Praveen had been in Killinochchi engaging with persons connected to Gobi.”
After an international uproar over the arrests of these “human rights defenders and activists” with the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka expressing concern and stating that, “these actions” justify, “continued scrutiny by the UNHRC,” Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen were released without charge.
But what about Jeyakumari and her 13 year old daughter, when will her daughter who it is said has attained puberty while in custody be re-united with her mother?
When will Jeyakumari, be freed? We ask. Jeyakumari, now incarcerated in the Boossa Detension Centre referred to as the notorious Sri Lankan torture chamber , who it is alleged has been beaten, and remains without charge, under the PTA with no counsel to defend her .
Why is Jeyakumari being “treated differently” asked a civil society member, can Jeyakumari ever get out of prison having been kept there under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act?
These are questions that need answers.
Jeyakumari, is another courageous Tamil woman who lost two sons to the war as LTTE fighters and one who has disappeared mysteriously after being seen alive in a Sri Lanka propaganda film showing LTTE suspects being rehabilitated after the war. She has been a brave activist who pleaded with Navi Pillai and Jon Snow to help find her son.
In another development, In a statement followed by an opinion in the Hindu, the UK foreign Secretary made clear UK’s position calling for an international investigation, that being the key provision mentioned in the draft UNHRC resolution being discussed now at the 25th session:
In a statement William Hague reiterated UK’s decision to call for an international investigation, stressing the need for “accountability” which plays an important part in the reconciliation process,” he said:
“:… It is clear that Sri Lanka still has a long way to go in this respect, in order to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation. Accountability plays an important part in the reconciliation process, and must not be ignored. This is intended to be a resolution which will help to address the legitimate concerns of all communities. It will be highly difficult for Sri Lanka to establish long-term peace without fixing accountability for the war crimes,” William Hague wrote.
And in the Hindu William Hague pointed out four compelling reasons why there has to be an international investigation: Firstly, that ” accountability was important “for long term peace”, secondly , that the “Sri Lankan government has failed to take action itself despite two previous resolutions calling for an independent, credible domestic investigation and offers of technical support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” thirdly that the “U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for the international community to act and establish an international mechanism and that she is supported by multiple, independent voices including the powerful peace advocate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu as well as groups in Sri Lankan society and the main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance and that there is an additional, compelling body of evidence collected through the work of non-governmental organisations and journalists that further supports this call,” and fourthly, “that there is no doubt that tackling impunity for violations and crimes committed during the war will strengthen the rule of law in Sri Lanka,” he said.
It has been my stand that Rajapaksa has missed the final call for any domestic inquiry and in my article “No Chances of Escape Rajapaksa Surely Missed the Final Call“, I do explain why and speculate that Sri Lanka may have a game plan that we may not know yet:
” While Sri Lanka may have a game plan and an escape route to avoid international scrutiny, that which we may not fully know yet, the proposed US resolution might indeed pave the way for an International Investigation; Rajapaksa has surely missed the final call for the establishment of any domestic inquiry mechanism,” I wrote.
The Sri Lankan government is vehemently opposed to Navi Pillay leading the international investigation as per operative para 8 b) of the 2nd draft which provides for one:
(The Human Rights Council) “…requests the Office of the Commissioner to lead a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka and establish the facts and the circumstances of such violations and there of the crimes committed with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability.”
Please read Prof. Ted Orlin and Dr. Paul Newman’s report on the informal discussions on the draft resolution held on the 18th of March.
The Sri Lankan government of Rajapaksa has always eluded scrutiny and continued its impunity by pushing “home grown solutions” that never ever came to fruition except when its army conducted its own inquiry and declared it had never killed civilians and put the whole blame on the LTTE. Most human rights defenders expressed indignation at any domestic mechanism where the perpetrators themselves will be inquiring into their own crimes.
Therefore I say It was a bit much for GL Peiris, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary to raise the issue of bias in his opposition to Navi Pllay who is a respected UN official with an impeccable record of integrity, leading the investigation:
“One does not have to be a legal mastermind to realize that this move is unjust because she will not approach the inquiry with an open mind. While the war was continuing she said the Sri Lankan government was perpetrating atrocities against the Tamil people under the guise of terrorism, which implied that there was no threat of terrorism in Sri Lanka and it was simply a creation of the Government. Not more than a week after the war ended in 2009, she called for an international inquiry against the Sri Lankan Government. Under what basis did she call for such a move? These statements make it more than obvious that she is biased,” the minister said.
It is ironical that when Navi Pillay was asked in a questions specific to Sri Lanka, she was emphatic about the mandate her office enjoyed to order for an international investigation. In her explanation she said and I quote: “… states are first given a fair chance to explore the possibilities of a credible domestic mechanism to investigate human rights violations. When countries fail to provide justice to the victims, her office has intervened and initiated International Investigations. It is not just her office but the Secretary General (SG) of the UN who has the mandate and it is possible for the SG to set up a panel to investigate,” she said.
Sri Lankan government’s approach has always been to use and abuse the word “terrorism” for its own ends. Even after the LTTE was decimated it has found it convenient to make it an excuse in any situation.
Take for instance, Aryasinghe who said there is “no objective or rational reason” for a third resolution, accused the, “sponsors of the resolution as appeasing pro-LTTE Tamil constituencies for electoral political gain.”:
“The obsession shown by some, in their call for action on Sri Lanka, simply brings out their own sinister motives in relentlessly targeting Sri Lanka, mainly to appease pro-LTTE Tamil constituencies, for collateral electoral political gain. Rather than help Sri Lanka, it clearly hinders the reconciliation process currently underway,” he said at the 1st meeting when the draft was introduced.
“Reconciliation process currently underway?” none that I have heard of.
Again Aryasinghe in Sri Lanka’s right to reply to concerns raised on the arrests. spoke about Ananthi Sasitharan, referring to her “affinity to the LTTE” and her mention of “Tamil Eelam” in violation of the Constitution she pledged to adhere to as Councillor :
Therefore, it is regrettable that an elected member of the Northern Provincial Council, Ms.Ananthi Sasitharan has chosen to misrepresent the case in this august body and depict it as an arrest made of a child who had participated in protests. It is also regrettable that Ms. Sasitharan, despite being a member of a provincial administration, has chosen to make statements in the Council using time allocated to two NGOs. We also note that Ms. Sasitharan, in referring in her statements to the Council to “Tamil Eelam”, has failed to adhere to the agreed language of the United Nations, and is in violation of the Constitution she has pledged to uphold as a Provincial Councilor,” he said
Aryasinghe seemed to imply that as a NP Councillor Ananthi Sasitharan had no right to speaks at the UNHRC being part of a provincial administration. Furthermore he seemed to hold her to some loyalty pledge in her capacity as councillor.
Naturally incensed by the arrests of Jeyakumari and Vibushika, Ananthi Sasitharan in her address to the UNHRC, on time allocated to NGOs working with women in Africa, spoke about the two without knowing at that time where indeed they were kept, her outrage was apparent and rightly so when she said :
“As I speak here today, the Sri Lanka army has arrested a 13 year old girl, Vibushika Balendran who comes to every protest crying and trying to find her brother. Her arrest is a threat to every child seeking to protest injustice…Thousands of children like mine searching for their loved ones…The occupying military carrying weapons controls every aspect of our civilian lives,” she said adding the “military was being accused of sexual violence against women and children in the North.
And to the embarrassment of Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa who runs the official Defence Military website, the Sri Lanka Guardian reported that the website deleted a libellous statement under the heading “National Peace Council Tiger links bared ” based on a Daily News lead story which quoted a “Sri Lanka army spokesman, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasekera who said Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen were taken into custody for questioning for their alleged connection with a hardcore LTTE cadre Kajipan Pon Selvanayagam also known as Gopi …”
I say the whole story about Gopi and and the allegations against Jeyakumari are an invention, part of a master strategy to continue to use the “terrorism ploy”, one that has been very helpful to the Sri Lankan government in the past in creating a smoke screen to conceal all their atrocities against Tamils.
Could Sri Lanka be spinning a yarn, Ariyasinghe’s narrative does make a good story that could convince some members of the UNHRC , but is it believable and are the members of the UNHRC, (and Navi Pillay and Ban Kimoon) that stupid to buy it, is it going to affect the Human Rights Council’s judgment, considering the many time the Sri Lankan government cried “wolf’ and some believed them.
I say yes it is a massive concern that members could indeed be swayed.
Please read my article which would help you recall the UN Internal Review Panel’s findings which I consider was an indictment on Sri Lanka more than it was a review of UN’s conduct and how the Sri Lankan government fooled the UN and the international community whilst orchestra ting Genocide http://www.tamilcanadian.com/article/6279
My question is when will the genocidal state be put in the dock and hauled before the International Criminal Court and tried for genocide. Time is running out. Will this resolution be the first step towards that end.
We’ll know soon!