An unprecedented move by internationalists and activists for human rights and justice, one that could inspire controversy among left oriented governments and peoples´ solidarity committees, will take place next spring.
“In April 2013, a panel of international experts will be convened as Judges of the ‘Permanent People’s Tribunal’ to examine reports submitted by many specialized working groups on the accusation of the crime of Genocide against the Government of Sri Lanka and on the accusations against various international actors who had supported and prepared the conditions for the Sri Lankan Government to implement this alleged crime,” stated the Rome-based ‘Permanent People’s Tribunal’ (PPT) on November 3. (1)
This decision is supported organizationally by the ‘Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka’ (IFPSL) based in Dublin and the International Human Rights Association (IMRV) based in Bremen.
In mid January 2010 the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lankan held its sessions in Dublin, Ireland. There were four findings:
1: That the Sri Lankan Government and its military are guilty of War Crimes;
2: That the Sri Lankan Government and its military are guilty of crimes against humanity;
3: That the charge of genocide requires further investigation;
4: That the international community, particularly the UK and USA, share responsibility for the breakdown of the peace process.(2)
It also found that member states of the United Nations had not “complied with their moral obligation to seek justice for the violations of human rights committed during the last period of the war” [Sri Lanka government war against the Tamils].
The PPT was referring to Human Rights Council Resolution S-11/1 of May 27, 2009. Cuba led the majority of members to vote for the Sri Lanka government drafted resolution. The resolution only praised Sri Lanka government for ending the hostilities and for the “liberation” of tens of thousands of Tamils (who were, in fact, up to three hundred thousand Internally Displaced Persons incarcerated for many months and even years in concentration camps). It only condemned the Tamil Tiger guerrillas (Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam) for terrorism and made no mention of the long-endured suffering, pogroms, indiscrimination and inequality suffered by the Tamil people at the hands of the Sinhalese majority governments and military, and Buddhist monks. Since the time of the resolution, Cuba has stepped up closer ties with the Mahinda Rajapaksa family government, even inviting him to Cuba as a guest of honor for four days. (3)
The case for genocide
“On January 2011, the Catholic Bishop of Mannar made a submission to the Sri Lankan Government’s own ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’ (LLRC) that according to his calculation, 146,679 people are unaccounted for (he used the Government’s own statistics to show this)…The casualty figure issue is just one factor – which we have highlighted to emphasise our point. Various other factors – such as an examination of the historical background which had laid the basis to the events that led to the military operations in 2009, as well as, whether or not the continuing issues that the Tamil people in the area concerned are facing at the moment are related to this history, needs to be carried out properly to deal with the overall reality.
This follow up session will be held in Germany.
Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal was initiated in 1979 by the left socialist and anti-fascist resistance fighter Senator Lelie Basso. He had been a judge on the International War Crimes Tribunal, also know as the Bertrand Russell-Sartre Tribunal, in 1966-7, concerning war crimes committed by the United States against Vietnam, and the 1973-6 investigations regarding war crimes committed by Latin American dictatorships, assisted by the USA. One of Cuba’s few women guerrilla fighters, Melba Hernandez, was one of the judges when she was chairwoman of the Cuba Committee for Solidarity with Viet Nam.
PPT has held more than 40 sessions on war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as genocide, in many parts of the world: US war crimes against Nicaragua, national dictatorship war crimes (usually with the assistance of US military forces and the CIA) against Argentines, Guatemalans, El Salvadorans, Filipinos, the Western Sahara, Eritrea… It has investigated and condemned Turkey for committing genocide against the Armenian people. In 2006, it ethically sanctioned the economic neo-liberal model and multinational corporations for violations of international principles respecting human rights.
Among the many prestigious PPT panelists have been Nobel Prize winners: Adolfo Perez, Sean MacBride and George Wald. Many judges and associates have either come from Latin America and/or been close to the Cuban revolutionary process, as well as its allies in the ALBA alliance, among them are: Francois Houtart and Miguel D’Escoto.
Gianni Tognoni, Secretary General, Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT), Rome
Jude Lal Fernando, Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka (IFPSL), Dublin
Nicolai Jung, International Human Rights Association (IMRV), Bremen e.V
(3) Much of my writings of late have focused on the Tamil people’s struggles for human rights and justice and the lack of natural solidarity that Cuba should be taking with them instead of the opposite: support for a most brutal Sri Lanka regime. Here are a few of my articles on that issue and connection, as well as on how the worst terrorist states in the world—the USA and Israel—have always backed the Sinhalese racist governments with arms and heavy war machinery, intelligence and surveillance, and money. Furthermore, in this world of geo-politics with odd bed partners, China, Pakistan, Russia, and Iran have also heavily aided the Sri Lanka Sinhalese chauvinists in committing gross atrocities against the Tamil people. I have also written a book on the subject published in India in 2011:
“Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka”
“Cuba-ALBA let down Sri Lanka Tamils” http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=
“Cuba hosted Sri Lanka Pres/War Criminal”http://www.
“Cuba’s contradictory stance on Tamils” http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=
“Cuba outvoted at UN Human Rights Council over Sri Lanka-Tamils http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=
“Sri Lanka war crimes-genocide with West complicity”