By H. L. D. Mahindapala –
Each time Mr. Izeth Hussein attempts to prescribe solutions for the big questions facing the nation he ends up as a tragi-comic figure who needs more curative / medical attention than the crisis-ridden nation. He fancies himself as the kattadiya (shaman) who possess the ko-katath thailya (the cure-all) for national ills. But when the contents of his prescriptions are examined all of it sound like mumbo-jumbo written by a mentally disoriented schizophrenic unable to utter anything coherent or sensible. For instance, it is typical of his punditry to censure President Rajapakse for kissing the tarmac at Katunayake instead of taking a sand bath on the Bambalawatte beach to honour the victory at Nandikadal. He argued that the tarmac was an alien product and, therefore, the President should have imitated the Caliph who celebrated the conquest of Constantinople by pouring the native soil all over him. Where else can you find such a load of bilge except in the fetid mind of an anti-Sinhala-Buddhist baboon?
Mr. Hussein’s idiocy seems to have no limits. His latest is his bombastic approach to reconciliation.(See Oct. 24, 2015 Colombo Telegraph, An Approach to Reconciliation) He begins by announcing his mission : “I am outlining in this article one possible approach to the problem of ethnic reconciliation, ……” This presumptuous statement is typical of clueless Mr. Hussein who comes up, from time to time, with grandiose solutions which have exploded on the launching pad even before it could take off. Of course, occasionally there are moments of lucidity in his thinking. He sounds good when he says initially that “the UNHRC Resolution could prove to be profoundly divisive”. He also says that one of the problems “is that the investigations will be confined to the period of 2002 to 2009”. He concludes by saying that investigations should cover the period prior to 2002, “including the action of the IPKF.”
This is what he says in the opening paragraph. So far so good.
Then he goes bananas in the second para by saying that “the crimes committed by the IPKF should be “set aside” because nation-building – the rationale for looking into crimes committed in the past — should “be an indigenous process without outsiders butting in.” Obviously, it has not occurred to his warped mind that this demand to “set aside” IPKF crimes stands in stark contradiction to his earlier statement which insists that investigations should “include action of the IPKF”. How can the Indian crimes be “set aside” if he also insists on investigating actions of the IPKF? So does he know his own mind? Does he want the IPKF to be investigated? Or not? He can’t have both at the same time. Either he agrees to investigate the crimes of the IPKF or he agrees to let the IPKF go scot free in the interests of what he calls “nation-building” – a statement that is as good as saying that the TNA should be excluded in any significant process for nation-building.
India has been the primary external source for the explosion of Tamil violence – violence that originated with the deliberate policy of exporting Indian-manufactured terrorism to destabilize Sri Lanka. If, as he says, the Sri Lankan crisis was allowed to develop as “an indigenous process without outsiders butting in” – particularly India — Sri Lanka would neither have gone through three decades of blood-letting, nor be in the mess it is in today. The international pressures / challenges would not have bedevilled the national scene. India’s meddlesome role – totally unwanted and unwarranted – has exacerbated the internal politics from the day it decided to export terrorism to Sri Lanka. India’s destructive role must be factored in as a necessary part of the investigations not only to evaluate the roles of the all three combatants – Sri Lankan forces, the LTTE and the IPKF – fairly and justly by the UNHRC-sponsored court but also to examine the violation of international law in exporting terrorism to a neighbouring and friendly state. The proposed UNHRC court can never accomplish its mission of finding out the truth or delivering justice if any one of the combatants is left out of the investigations.
Justice must not only be done but seen to be done. If the crimes committed by the IPKF are left out the rationale for an independent court to find out the truth and deliver justice will be negated forever. In particular, it must be noted that this hybrid court was introduced because the UNHRC had no faith in the Sri Lankan judiciary to find out the truth and deliver justice. It was meant to be the ideal court which can be above all suspicions. But on what principles of law can jurists or members of the public have confidence in a court which is set up on the unacceptable assumption that only two of the three combatants have committed war crimes and not the third? What evidence or principles of law can the co-sponsors and the UNHRC advance to go down this outrageous path? The hybrid court will be starting on the wrong foot if one of the known suspects is left out for political reasons.
The international judicial process is introduced to uphold the higher principles of administering justice. The domestic process has been rejected because it is supposed to be politicized. But the UNHRC court is founded on the obvious premise that India – one of principal violators of asic human rights in Sri Lanka – should not be investigated. The decision to exclude India is a political decision not based on any respected principle of national or international law. The framers of the UNHRC court had deliberately set out to establish a partisan judicial instrumentality to operate within limited political parameters of finding only selected combatants guilty. But the universal law demands that all combatants guilty of violating human rights should be tried. Can the high priests of justice expect the public to have confidence in a judicial process which exonerates one of the combatants who had committed some of the most obscene and inhuman war crimes? If the selected investigators, prosecutors and judges have a serious commitment to find out the truth about the victims of the longest running war in Asia, and also a genuine commitment to respect the basic laws that govern the delivery of justice, then they have no alternative but to insist on drawing up a more comprehensive framework for the court to delve into the truth and deliver justice to all victims. If they fail then they should, as a protest, (1) refuse to proceed with duties that would pervert justice and (2) refuse to sit in judgement until the parameters of the UNHRC case are extended to cover the roles of all three combatants. The perverse nature of the limited parameters to deliberately exclude one combatant should weigh heavily on the minds of the judges. A case in which a well-known suspect is exonerated or kept out for political reasons does not enhance the image of the of the court or its ability to deliver impartial justice. In fact, it brings the entire judicial process into disrepute.
In the light of the unfairness of the partisan judicial process set in motion by the UNHRC purely to get the judgment they have in mind the selected judges will have valid reasons to disqualify themselves as it is their reputation that will be at stake. Can judges of repute sit in a court which is designed to try only some and not all known criminals who have been exonerated for political reasons? Neither UNHRC nor the co-sponsors have any legal right to twist the administration of justice to suit their political agenda. If, as they claim, their objective is to find the truth and deliver justice to the victims then it is their moral duty not to pervert the legal system by appointing a court to try only some selected suspects, exonerating others whose criminal record has no redeeming features. If the worst come to the worst, activists should challenge the legality of the partisan UNHRC-sponsored court in the ICJ for an opinion.
For this court to gain some degree of legitimacy the scope of the case must be made sufficiently comprehensive for the investigators to a) cover the entire length of the war, b) investigate all suspects and aspects, c) prosecute all against whom there are credible charges and e) judge all three combatants without exception. Anything less than this will inevitably and necessarily lead to a lop-sided judgment of one-eyed judges whose performance will be akin to that of the three proverbial monkeys who heard nothing, saw nothing and spoke nothing about the Indian segment of the violations of human rights. When three parties get together to murder a man how can the truth be found out and justice delivered by trying only two parties and exonerating the third man without even an investigation? Finding the truth and delivering justice are two of the primary objectives stipulated in the UNHRC Resolution. Not only the two co-sponsors but even Zeid al-Husein, the head of the UNHRC, must, even at this late stage, act to honour their own objectives stated in the Resolution. They must initiate action to investigate and summon the Indian criminals who had violated international humanitarian law. If this is not granted initial objections must be raised to challenge the legality of the court appointed to hear only two parties and not the main perpetrator of war crimes.
In other words, the judicial system recommended by the UNHRC is a perverse mechanism to deny justice to the victims of the 33-year-old war in Sri Lanka. It is a medieval court where the guilty are already selected for punishment, leaving out the Indian violators of the human rights for favoured treatment. Furthermore, if paying compensation to the victims of the war is going to be a part of reconciliation process then the inevitable question of who should pay the victims of IPKF brutalities can be determined only if India too is investigated for its role in the Sri Lankan crisis.
Mr. Hussein steps into this minefield without knowing whether he is coming or going. He is in two minds – one contradicting the other. On the one hand, he insists on investigating all crimes, including that of IPKF. And, on the other, he refutes it by saying that Indian investigations must be “set aside” in the interests of promoting “nation-building”. His logic is that you can not only have the cake but also eat it. There is neither precision nor clarity in Mr. Hussein’s thinking or writing on this issue. In the beginning he says that the investigations should cover the full length of the war (“the antecedent period”), “including the actions of the IPKF” and, in the same breath, he says that, for the sake of nation-building, India should be kept out. Is he nuts? His inability to think straight is evidenced in this contradiction. In the final paragraph he says : “Investigations into the antecedents of the ethnic problem going back to 1977 should correct what looks like an invidious targeting of the Sinhalese side by limiting the investigations to the period from 2002 to 2009.” The Indians operated from 1987 – 1990. During that period IPKF went on the rampage, raping women, slaughtering civilians, shooting patients, doctors, nurses in hospitals, incarcerating, torturing and persecuting non-combatant civilians and turning Jaffna into a virtual penal colony of India. How can (1) truth, (2) justice, (3) reconciliation and (4) non-recurrence – four of the primary objectives of the UNHRC Resolution — be achieved if India, a perpetrator of war crimes and crimes against humanity, is excluded from the proposed investigations of the UNHRC?
Letting India off the hook, without holding it accountable for the inhuman brutalities it committed against the people of Jaffna, would expose UNHRC, and the two co-sponsors, America and Sri Lanka, as collaborators in a cover-up to white-wash India and present its image as a non-violent Ghandian. If he is the great intellectual diplomat he claims to be Mr. Hussein should have noted the deliberate decision of UNHRC Resolution to skip Indian atrocities. It is a deliberate political perversion which makes a mockery human rights and the search for truth and justice. Even a glance at the UNHRC Resolution will reveal that the entire text has been crafted to hold only the Government of Sri Lanka responsible for the violations of human rights. What has been excluded in the Resolution has had a greater impact in formulating the UNHRC-sponsored court. The format of the court is structured to a) exclude Indian atrocities, b) absolve India by establishing the arbitrary time-frame of 2002 – 2009 which will not include IPKF crimes against the people of Jaffna committed between 1987 – 1990, c) exclude the responsibilities of Western powers, who in violation of Security Resolution 1373, turned a blind eye to the havens of the internationally banned Tamil Tiger terrorists operating in their backyards without cracking down on them the way Al-Quaida or any other Muslim terrorist group were pursued; d) exclude the key players of the LTTE who continue to operate in Western bases, posing as human rights activists – all of whom are serious threat to the recrudescence of Tamil terrorist violence and e) exclude the alternative narrative which has been submerged under the massive post-war propaganda manipulations to denigrate and target only Sri Lankan forces and f) cover-up the ruthless pursuit of the Western powers to persecute only Sri Lanka through the UNHRC, from May 26, just a week after the defeat of the LTTE, without any credible UN study / analysis / report of the ground realities in the last phase of the war.
The collective results of these combined thrusts reveal essentially the cynical play of partisan politics manipulated by the powers behind the UNHRC Resolution. The anti-Sri Lankan politics have been pursued relentlessly and ruthlessly – mark you, under the fashionable cover of human rights – to force Sri Lanka to surrender to the so-called “international community”, including India. The successive UNHRC Resolutions (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015) have been the weapons used by the anti-Sri Lankan / Rajapakse forces, including the Tamil Diaspora, NGOs, to break the back of Sri Lanka. In the prevailing political climate, these anti-Sri Lankan forces have found willing partners in the Siri-Wicky regime. The future of the Resolution hangs on the stability and the future of the Siri-Wicky regime. How far the mission of finding the truth and delivering justice can go to restore reconciliation, through a partisan medieval court, manipulated by the anti-Sri Lankan forces is the spectre that is haunting the nation.
The unacceptable irony is that that the forces that ganged up supposedly to save Sri Lanka at the UNHRC are the very powers that gave moral, diplomatic, financial, military assistance, directly or indirectly, to the Pol Potist regime of the Tamils. It was they who kept the fires of war burning, prolonging the futile war. Besides, the relentless focus on Sri Lanka by the UNHRC is quite disproportionate to the positive gains achieved by ending the 33-year-old war. If America, for instance, overthrew a fascist dictatorship and restored viable democracy in any of its wars in the vexatious and irredeemable Middle East The New York Times, Washington Post, and BBC would have been crowing from roof tops broadcasting the miracle of political transformation. But when Sri Lanka achieves the impossible they are hauled up before tribunals with foreign judges, foreign prosecutors, and foreign investigators. That is American/Westeren justice hailed by its local stooges as “Arab springs” which have invariably become winters of discontent to all concerned.
However, it is common knowledge that the ropes lowered by the Western powers to rescue nations fallen into pits have turned into a nooses that eventually hanged them. Those who march in as saviours, like India, ended as demonic Hanumans. The UNHRC Resolution which is meant to be the solution has become the problem. The unravelling consequences of the UNHRC have the potential to drag the nation into unforseen crises like Vadukoddai Resolution, which delivered the Tamils and the nation into the hands of the most brutal fascist order.
The need of the hour is clear thinking, not woolly bunkum and warped logic. Our world would have better chances of recovering and advancing towards reconciliation if loud-mouths with loose tongues like Hussein are kept locked permanently inside the Pandora’s box for the good of all Sri Lankans. In the next article I shall reveal how he is a menace to Sri Lankan peace and progress.
(To be continued)