15 August, 2022


Resolving Internal Conflict Requires A Different Approach 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Countries re-emerging from decades of violent internal conflict are encouraged, sometimes against their will, into following an internationally prescribed trajectory of transitional justice. This is a concept that has taken root within the UN and international human rights systems after decades of being honed by practitioners and academics in the field. The basic idea of transitional justice is that accountability and punishment are necessary if there is to be sustainable peace, democracy and justice in those cases of protracted conflict in which there have been large scale violations of human rights.

Colombia is one of the countries at the cutting edge of transitional justice. Its government has reached a peace agreement last year with FARC, a long standing guerilla organization that has a history of engaging in armed struggle that goes back over half a century. Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as a result. Today, as part of its commitment to the negotiated peace process it has entered into with the Colombian government, FARC has yielded large tracts of territory it once controlled as it demobilizes its armed forces on the ground. Colombia might seem to be in an ideal situation but in reality the situation is much more complex.

Last month I was in Colombia with a group of peace workers from different parts of the world, but with an emphasis on South America. We came to take part in an interactive learning process, where the learning was not only in the conference hall but also out in the field. Among the highlights of the week long programme was a visit to the high security prison in the capital city of Bogota, where FARC rebels continue to be kept in captivity.

I expected to meet with war hardened veterans who had been fighters and part of an underground mafia of drug dealings and guerrilla killings. These had happened too, no doubt, but these aspects did not come across as the chief character of the FARC prisoners. What we encountered were leftist activists who might have been democratic political party cadres if they had not taken to weapons. We were taken up by their ideological clarity and continued passion. Any rebel who goes against the established order has to sacrifice the things we take for granted, such as family and normalcy.

Rebel Message 

Their message to us was that they had joined the rebel organization to change an iniquitous society. They had now been captured and imprisoned for terms of between 10 to 20 years and some of them had spent the larger part of their prison sentences. They expressed their support for the peace process. But they also expressed their anxiety that the agreements reached would not be implemented by the government. We heard reports that with the withdrawal of the FARC guerillas from the territories they once controlled, paramilitaries and state armed forces had stepped in to fill the vacuum.

It was not only the FARC members who were anxious about the future. Those who had been members of the government armed forces and police who we met also did not feel reassured by the peace agreement. They did not trust the FARC and believed that they would violate the peace agreement. They were also anxious about the prospect of being held accountable for human rights violations that had taken place in the military operations against FARC and the punishment that transitional justice processes might inflict upon them.

The majority of Colombian citizens voted against the peace agreement at the referendum as they thought that the FARC guerillas would get off too lightly while those in the security forces of the government would be penalized and national security would be jeopardised. Sri Lanka and Colombia bear a resemblance in respect of the suspicion and opposition to international standards of transitional justice in the majority of the population. The transitional justice commitments that Sri Lanka has pledged to deliver on is seen by the majority of the country’s ethnically divided population as being unfair by the Sri Lankan security forces.

In both Colombia and Sri Lanka, the majority of the population, and those in the political establishments, see the military as having performed their duties in the national interest. In both cases those on the losing side represent a minority of the population. Those on the winning side represent the majority. Those majorities who dominate the power structures in the two countries side with the military and not the rebel forces. This accounts for the governmental malfunction in both countries to implement the agreements they have signed.

In the prison in Bogota when we asked the FARC prisoners what they saw as the way forward, they said they wanted international monitors. They were sceptical that the government would implement the peace agreement on its own. In Sri Lanka, the Tamil minority is supportive of international intervention and tribunals. Those on the weaker side of the divide in internal conflicts do not trust the stronger side to be fair and impartial. There is a role for the international community as a counter balance to the asymmetry of power that cannot be overcome through reliance on internal actors alone.

Overcoming Problem 

In Sri Lanka, the UNHRC resolution that the government agreed to in October 2015 in Geneva to deliver on is victim-centered, and rightly so. It requires that the fate of missing persons be ascertained, that land taken over by the military during the war be returned, accountability for war crimes be ensured and the security sector reform including demilitarization and replacement of oppressive laws take place. The Sri Lankan government has been slow to deliver on all of these, which is why the government had to ask for a two year extension from the UNHRC in March this year.

A key problem in moving forward it appears, is the central role given to accountability and punishment in the public discussion of transitional justice. But it does not have to be this way. Transitional justice is composed of four pillars – those of truth, accountability, reparations and institutional reforms. It is when attention is focused on accountability and punishment, the desire for revenge and for getting even, that the other three pillars of transitional justice get sidelined in the public discourse.

There is perhaps a need to rethink how best to achieve transitional justice which a means to an end. The goal of transitional justice is a society that is set irreversibly on a course of sustainable peace and justice. There is a need to win the support of both the majority and the minority groups, so that the process is acceptable to all. The concept of restorative justice was developed most strongly in South Africa in its truth and reconciliation process, as opposed to retributive justice. This may be the way forward in Colombia and Sri Lanka.

Restorative justice seeks to build partnerships to reestablish mutual responsibility for constructive responses to wrongdoing within communities. This contrasts to more punitive approaches where the main aim is legally imposed punishments to meet legal standards. Restorative approaches seek a balanced approach to the needs of the victim, wrongdoer and community through processes that preserve the security and dignity of all. The realization of the Sri Lankan government’s commitment in terms of the UNHRC resolution to set up the Truth seeking Commission and to gazette the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) under a selected ministry could be the start of this restorative process.

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Latest comments

  • 2

    Who is the audience of Jehan Perera’s write-ups?


    • 2


      Audience are Racists like you Soma !! never wanted to grow up and see a country without Racism and seculism.

      Jehan Perera is a man with abundance of knowledge in the world of wars , terrorirism , racism, and seculism.
      OF THE LAST CENTURY TILL. THE 1960s.. Then we know the Devils took over our Nation .

      Why do you think our present Government boasted themselves that they’re friends with the western nations , will be doing business with the west in Abundance soon after the election victory???

      What we see now , the visitors to Srilanka are coming with investments are only few of the leaders of the
      Asian countries .
      It appears the true colours of our present regime too are playing the Dirty game as the predecessor is obvious to the world.
      Karma is really a horrible bitch will never let our country Flourish.

      Good luck Jehan !!

    • 4


      “Who is the audience of Jehan Perera’s write-ups?”

      Who do you think his target readers have been in the past 25 or so years?

      Its you stupid.

  • 0

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  • 0

    What type of solution do you want?

    Are you suggest having e-western oriented policies to be surrender national sovereignty by People of Sri Lankan?

    Do you want so-called “War crime” could be taken to International Criminal Court in Hague? Our War Heroes -Fine @222

    • 1


      Your thoughts are still in the habit of Devil worshipping.
      Srilanka the Nation is multicultural , and multi national. If you continue to preach of our sovereignty ,
      war heroes , war crimes !! Your sovereign state might be in danger.
      Conflict is over ! 6 years have passed , but your thoughts of destroying the future of our country will never let you or the fellow like minded country men to move forward or think for the future of this nation of yours and mine.

      Hope you have understood this bit in simple English.

  • 2

    The biggest chaos took place in Lankawe during the war America’s one sided support by the mistakes of Ex-Secretary Condoleezza Rice. The assessment of American Intelligence Agencies that time may be that Tamils are North Korea Supporters. Their rush to that decision might have been influenced by the JVP’s connection to North Korea. Then Regan-Indira factor played its role too. Rohan Gunaratna played massive role in miss-informing American intelligence Services. That ended 157,000 Tamils dying in five months.

    This was substantial miss-evaluation of the older time American Administration. The recent one is from the policies of Ex-Secretary Kerry. He kept comparing Lankawe to Myanmar. Myanmar was in Military Dictatorship. Lankawe is for than 65 years under democratic dictatorship – not the Chinese People Dictatorship. This arrangement is only to oppress Tamils. Sinhala elections can be only won by promising crushing Tamils as JR did said and did in July 1983. There is no other way to win an election in Lankawe and from a government. When, Hillary lost her election only Secretary Kerry understood the flaw of his understanding. The reason for his myopia was the Sinhala Intellectuals pest-ed him though Boston, in Kerry’s office.

    After every trip of his to North East, Jehan PhD came out with his crooked theories and suggestions. His Columbia visit doesn’t make anything different from those. Columbia is facing left rebels, which is a gang like JVP or Jehan’s PhD Golayas. That relationship or deals the Colombian government has with FARC is not Tamils having their problem with Sinhala Appe Aanduwa. Tamils and Appe Aanduwa is no comparison to JVP and Sinhala Government. Aanduwa has been carrying out its oppression, massacres, pogroms and war crimes from GG-SJV though LTTE to TNA-Sampanthar time. JVP was free rice fed pampered spoilt kids.

  • 2

    JVP up rising was 2 times for a total period of less than 5 years, while the discrimination against Tamils started in 1917 and now, it has passed more than a century. So comparing with FARC to Tamil is fruitless. FARC is also some Columbians for Colombian government, but Tamils are Para Demelo, who needs to be wiped for Appe Aanduwa.

    Jehan PhD Is interpreting that resolution 30/1 as only a mechanism to enforce accountability, or in his words, revenge seeking apparatus. The unimportant simple things suggested in that is releasing the un-accused Tamils from prison, abolish PTA…like that. It is not Yahapalanaya dodged all that, but it even played a trick of reintroducing PTA through hate speech bill. This is something Yahapalanaya secretly tried over and beyond 6A of the constitution, which restricts Tamils expressing their grievances and seeking a suitable solution for that.

    It is the government which negotiated with UNHRC high Commissioner Prince Zeid, that they will prioritize the “secret constitutional cooking” rather than the Accountability mechanism, for which UNHRC is recommending Foreign experts for the reason of Lankawe does not have those professionals and the ones inside are unwilling to learn as the Lankawe justice system is one of the most corrupted in the world. The secret constitutional cooking ended up in Sadukudu games when China was tracked into Appa Diplomacy by Ranil and Malik and it lost its demands. If China hadn’t lost its grip, Lankawe might have accepted some kind of deal from UNHRC. As a result EU ended up recommending one year extension to America and America ended up in giving two years. Now what happened to the Secret Constitutional Cooking? It died right after Sumanthiran made a speech in Vavuniya of having it finished before the end 2016(December 10th).

    • 1


      Please continue your write ups with simple analysis so that the free Rice eating simpletons can understand,,
      not all are the Dayan J ‘ category.
      Need to make the simpletons to understand a solution for a bright future for the futures of the nation.

      The mindset of the simpletons are programmed , no solution will unlock the programmed simpleton’s brains .
      They’re programmed with ,War Heroes, National sovereignty, Buddhagama, Racism, and Murder,
      Until these Punnakku eating simpleton’s Programmed Brain unlocked and ReProgrammed with some good solutions to overcome this dilemma there will never be a solution for another Century.
      The barking dogs will continue to bark until they snuff the earth.
      Srilankan Politicians will continue with their regular visits with Lies and begging bowls to the UN for a foreseeable future.
      Enough of the sorry state of this Third world country Ape Aanduwe!!!

  • 2

    We have been writing about the suspicious nature of the UNP-SLFP National Unity even before the 90 days solution, which is the 19a, the new Act to share minister postes between SLFP and UNP in all elections to come in future. The Minister Posts sharing and Cabinet Housekeeping Act 19A did not provide any relief to Tamils, and specially, it took back the Paperboy Ministry offer to TNA-Sumanthiran. Though the Unity government started after January 9th, 2015 election, but the official Signature-ing had taken place just before September, 2015 election. A two years of lavish time was negotiated for Unity to consider how to deal with the Secret Solution – the Constitution cooking. So the end at two years, that is August 2017, the Unity is coming to an end even without a draft constitution submitted to Parliament. One of the resolution 34/1’s objects is to force Unity drama to keep going on, not dying at August 2017. UNHRC is still believing, (here the still means, it is even after China lost itself to Aappa Diplomacy) a constitution to accommodate minorities with a secular government is possible. Unfortunately Lankawe is listed as one of the morons with in the five religious crazies in the world. That mean Saudi or Pakistan may abandon Sharia and become secular, Rome may become secular, but Lankawe cannot abandon Sinhala Buddhism and move to secularism by democratically voting. But the West is thinking, under its and Lankawe’s Sadukudu game, Lankawe will stretch its hand first and move into secular democracy, instead of elected dictatorship. But Jehan PhD wants to kill this hope.

    Now Jehan PhD, Taking foreign funds and confuses IC with their money. Unless funding stopped, Jehan PhD he will do more damage than JR did to Rajiv, Rohan Gunaratna did to NSA & Kathirgamar did to EU and American Diplomats, combined.

  • 0

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  • 2




    Keep it up.

  • 0

    America supported the war with an understanding of the minorities’ problems will be solved, because Sinhala Intellectuals cited LTTE was the only problem for them to solve the minorities’ problems. India supported with the understanding of NPC election and 13 A+. Ambassador Blake approached Hakeem to lead the minorities’ issues. Hakeem got sold to Old King and went to fool Hillary Clinton with National Action Plan for LLRC, which proposed to have a complete solution installed in five years. (Now five years have passed for National Action Plan).After the war, Ambassador Blake told TNA not to go for IC inquiry and only to go for solution; so Sampanthar accepted that advice and had issued statements to that effect from somewhere end of 2009. UNSG asked Old King to take care of accountability and responsibility on his own way. In end May 2009, UNHRC accepted Lankawe’s lies and allowed to solve the problem in its own way. Thero De Silva repeatedly bragged that he had fooled UNHRC without giving a time or plan, but had made UNHRC to agree with him. In 2012, before Ambassador Blake took Lankawe to UNHRC, he asked Old King to bring a solution that is acceptable to both Old King and TNA. Even in January 2012, after eating Old Royal Palace Pongal Pokkai, Indian FM Kristina told TNA to just accept whatever Appe Aanduwa would give. Though it was very injustice, but I do not remember TNA objecting that request or issuing any statements on that. January 2012 Old Royals closed negotiation with TNA by one side.

    In the start of 2012, on private negotiations, Appe Aanduwa agreed with Ambassador Blake for a joint resolution. But once UNHRC sitting stated in March, Lankawe team (I believe Mahinda Samarasinghe) sent out emails to member nations denying that.

  • 0

    That was an embarrassment for America. As a result, Lankawe was defeated in 2012 in UNHRC.
    From 2012 to 2015, America has been advancing the inquiry over solution, believing Lankawe going to dodge everybody on both. In January 2015, Ex-State Secretary Kerry ousted Old King out of his palace and throne New King. The things at UNHRC went back to solutions first, and inquiry lost prominence. State Secretary and assistant secretary repeatedly promised to New Royals of protection from any internal coup, if one rise up during implementing a solution. In February 2016, UNHRC High Commissioner Prince Zeid went to Lankawe and confirmed his support to a solution sideling the inquiry. This made all Tamils upset and them boiled UNHRC being letting them down. Now two years extension is given to see if Lankawe has interest in solving minorities’ problems. This is where Jehan PhD who is eating the IC’s salt and inventing a traps to catch the IC’s plan. That is what Ehelepola did to Rajasinghan.

    Koolukkum Paadi Kanchchikum Paadi essay writer Jehan is wring that LTTE gone, but still we can’t solve the minorities’ problem because UNHRC may investigate our war crime. The problem here is Appe Aanduwa has been consoling it after resolution 34/1 that they have two ample years to bring the New American administration under Aappa Diplomacy control. After Syria, the Sinhala Intellectuals fear even if they bring America in control the same manner they did China, how reliable that protection can be. That is why the new Trump hating essays are mushrooming, after all, during the election, it is Sinhala Intellectuals who wanted Trump to become the president.

    TNA has to answer this question: Do Tamils really need a solution from the Sinhala intellectual who have been cheating from the time of SJV’s pacts?

    • 0


      “TNA has to answer this question: Do Tamils really need a solution from the Sinhala intellectual who have been cheating from the time of SJV’s pacts?

      TNA also has to answer the following question:
      What will be the status of Tamils (Tamil speaking people) presently living outside North and East in the context of a ‘political solution’?

      In the meantime Mr M, you can also attempt to answer the following question:
      A political solution is sought only for Hindu and Christian Tamils in the North or does it include all Tamils(Tamil speaking people) scattered across the island irrespective of their religion or date of arrival?


      • 1


        “What will be the status of Tamils (Tamil speaking people) presently living outside North and East in the context of a ‘political solution’?”

        Since they will be living outside your tinny little Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto, it would be considered as “non of your business”.

        You start worrying about your fellow Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto dwellers and not rest of the people. Please mind your own business.

      • 0


        Many times your question had been answered. You are not satisfied. I will try again. But for Sec, let me tell you why I put my question to TNA.

        From 1917, Sinhala rulers and parliamentarian could not find solution to Tamils problem. It ended up in war and war ended up in UNHRC in 2009. From 2009 there are many resolution asking Lankawe to resolve the problem. 2012 Ambassador Blake asked Lankawe to co-sign. It simply refused, but did not seriously try to solve it. In 2015 & 2017, Aanduwa has cosigned to investigate, but not to solve. That means Lankawe ready to go for investigation, but not ready to solve and get out of it. For 100 years Sinhala governments are not ready to solve it, but last two years they are cooperating to investigate only, still not to solve it. Then why, suddenly, now, Jehan PhD is trying to mess up Appe Aanduwa’s new thoughts. Why TNA wasting time on secret solution?

        To come to your question:

        With North East-Tamils, Tamils in Ceylon is less than 1/6. Sinhalese in East is 1/3. East is larger than North. So the Sinhalese in Tamil Eelam is more than 1/6. But Tamils in Sinhala Lankawe is much, much less than 1/10. So while we talking about what to do the less 1/10 of Tamils in Sinhala Lankawe, we need to talk about more than 1/6 of the Sinhalese in Tamil Eelam.
        So, major part of the answer for your question is “It has to be negotiated on the Table”. If Tamils’ right of individual sovereignty is recognized by UN, that applies to the Tamils & Sinhalese living outside of their territories too. That is governed by UN’s conventions. 25 years grace period can be given to migrate to respective territories.

  • 0

    Jehan want to that USA Embassy to seek solution for the Tamil problems in Sri lanka.

    This is different way of approach by Jehan’s solutions Tamil Problem.
    That is not possible.

    USA must not interfere internal affairs of Sri lanka.

    USA Embassy hand off Sri lanka!

  • 0

    The basic idea of transitional justice is that accountability and punishment are necessary if there is to be sustainable peace, democracy and justice in those cases of protracted conflict in which there have been large scale violations of human rights.

    This is ok if the crimes were committed by individuals on individuals, but what if the state commit these crimes on its own citizens ? It is just that has been committed by the successive Governments from the very first day of Independence in 1948.

    What is the remedy Mr.Jehan a Transitional Justice ? That can never be a full cure.

    A permanent justice to end 78 Year long atrocities that is still there can make a permanent cure. Can you suggest such a cure ?

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