19 September, 2020

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Sri Lanka War Crimes; Grant Amnesty Where The Accused Accepts His Guilt: NPC

“We propose that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) should be given the power to grant amnesty where the accused accepts his guilt and agrees to make amends. The underlying rationale of a TRC is that knowledge of the truth of what happened will enable society to reconcile and move forward. It is very difficult to find the truth of what happened in a time of war.” says the National Peace Council.

Issuing a statement today the NPC says;”Due to the difficulty of obtaining evidence that meets the standard of criminal law, it is only if those who have knowledge of the wrong, or who were the perpetrators, confess that the truth will emerge. It is the prospect of receiving amnesty that will give any wrongdoer or perpetrator the incentive to confess to the truth.”

We publish below the statement in full;

The issue of what happened in the last phase of the war, and accountability for human rights violations and war crimes that are alleged to have been committed, has dogged Sri Lanka’s internal and external reconciliation process. The National Peace Council welcomes the new government’s readiness to tackle these problems. The government is proposing a two-pronged approach to dealing with the issue of war crimes and the ongoing UN inquiry into it. First, it is considering a domestic criminal trial process with the objective of prosecuting those who were allegedly involved in human rights violations, in the Sri Lankan courts, if there is evidence. Second, it is considering a reconciliation process similar to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). But unlike the South African version, the government has stated that its variant will not be for the purpose of amnesty but rather to facilitate the healing and reconciliation process of the victims.

Three alleged war criminals - Fonseka, Mahinda and Gotabaya

Three alleged war criminals – Fonseka, Mahinda and Gotabaya

The National Peace Council is of the view that if the TRC has no provision in it for amnesty, the perpetrator is unlikely to confess to the truth. This will reduce the prospect for healing. Therefore, we propose that the TRC should be given the power to grant amnesty where the accused accepts his guilt and agrees to make amends. The underlying rationale of a TRC is that knowledge of the truth of what happened will enable society to reconcile and move forward. It is very difficult to find the truth of what happened in a time of war. Due to the difficulty of obtaining evidence that meets the standard of criminal law, it is only if those who have knowledge of the wrong, or who were the perpetrators, confess that the truth will emerge. It is the prospect of receiving amnesty that will give any wrongdoer or perpetrator the incentive to confess to the truth. In South Africa those who confessed to the truth were given amnesty by the TRC. But not all who came before the TRC received amnesty. Out of over 7000 persons who applied for amnesty little over 1000 were granted amnesty.

It is now relatively common to see amnesties linked in some fashion to accountability processes designed to encourage former combatants to offer truth in return for non-prosecution or to participate in restorative or informal justice mechanisms. Conditional amnesties may also be used to prevent further violations by requiring beneficiaries to surrender, disarm and reintegrate, and to refrain from further violence. Such amnesties may retain the possibility of prosecution for those who fail to adhere to the conditions. In such contexts, amnesty is not offered to grant impunity to perpetrators, rather it is used strategically to achieve other objectives, such as truth, reconciliation and peace. The intentions and genuine efforts of those involved are also an important factor in assessing the legitimacy of various forms of amnesty. So too is evidence of more general national and international support for whatever truth and reconciliation process is embarked on.

Any investigation of the past, either in the form of an international inquiry or a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission would need to win the acceptance of the different ethnic communities who constitute the Sri Lankan people. The Northern Provincial Council has urged the team appointed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate the war in Sri Lanka, to comprehensively investigate and report on the charge of genocide in its submission to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2015. Whatever model Sri Lanka chooses, the National Peace Council believes that looking at what happened over the longer period than the last phase of the war would be necessary. The South African Commission had a mandate that extended back from 1960 to the mid 1990s and not just any one phase. We note that a delegation from South Africa will be visiting Sri Lanka to assist in the process of national reconciliation. We believe that this effort to pursue the path of truth and reconciliation can go a considerable part of the way to heal the wounds of the past and open the door to a shared future that is in the best interests of all Sri Lankans.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    2

    Good Move.

    A lot will depend on the exact intention of whoever appoints the TRC. and who is appointed to it.

    • 5
      6

      This call for amnesty for perpetrators is totally INAPPROPRIATE in the Sri Lanka context which is very different from the de-colonization struggle to end apartheid in SA.

      In SA the entire system legalized racism and a far larger part of the population were perpetrators of crimes in a battle that ran much longer. In Sri Lanka the number of perpetrators is quite limited, they DISTORTED AND BROKE the law of the land, and hence they need to be punished.

      The NPC once size fits all idea of TRC reflects its intellectual backwardness – sorry to say!

    • 9
      7

      Dear Colombo Telegraph Can you Please put a Picture of the Sri Lankan Population as the picture or with the Three people you have used. Because then we are all Guilty. And we Stand proudly to say we too are guilty. Becuase it is us who faced 30 years of terrorism, it is use who had economic hardship yet stayed here to buid the lives and economic of this nation and didnt run away to some foreign land. It is ture we sudffered under energency regulations. But we gave all our Sould and commitment for MR to finish the war. A TOTAL WAR. That includes Tamil from the EAST. SO PLESAE USE OUR PICTURE there. WE WILL BE PROUD as we gave MR the Mandate to Finish the war and Voted him out when he got corrupt. BUT WE WHO STAYED will stand by him, GOTA and SF.

  • 9
    2

    The South African TRC cannot be compared to the Sri Lankan situation.

    There is a distinct difference. In South Africa the aggrieved party came to power as such mercy was meted out by the party in power against those perpetrators who could have been dealt with by way or retribution.

    In Sri Lanka the perpetrators continued to be in power and the aggrieved party continued to be subjugated. There is a change of government just now however the Trio shown in the picture above who are the main actors of committing the so called genocide are still very powerful.

    In Sri Lanka the situation is akin to asking the perpetrators to show mercy on themselves.

    • 3
      0

      I agree with you. The NPC seems to be clueless about the differences between South Africa and Sri Lankan situations. They are very different. In South Africa the apartheid was institutionalized and there was no legal framework that was not racist. Blacks, whites and others functioned within the same legal and institutional framework. In Sri Lanka the allegation against the state was that it violated the established laws of the country. Also the basis for the Amnesty in SA is different.

      NPC has to do more home work to make the case for Amnesty.

      • 1
        0

        You are correct Jude, but coming forward with TRUTH of true feelings of both parties is important. In my view, this process should be much easier in SL than SA.

  • 5
    2

    Wounds will not heal until and unless accurate, correct and proper medicine, nursing and care is provided. Listen symptoms observe the signs and do the investigation on the right direction come to the probable diagnosis and eliminate the false and try to find the real disease. Get rid off the actual cause Get rid off all the infestations. Then only wounds can be healed. Looking for false signs and treating on that basis will not heal the wounds. who expect the wounds to kill the victim? OR the wounds to last for ever. History will give opportunities for the victim too.Redress and Rehabilitation has to be offered. There had been a strong effort to hide the disease and to substantiate that there is no wounds at all even before the wound surfaced. Growth factors and growth medium was provided to all the infectious and infestious agents around the wound. The victim is to die is the expectation of all the cannibalistic predators and scavengers and the parasites too.

  • 13
    1

    A new Presidential Commission with International observers should be appointed to investigate both LTTE and Government forces actions. This commission can be given authority to pardon provided the affected party agrees to such pardon.

  • 7
    1

    What about the crimes happened since 1987 and before. There are unhealed wounds too.

    • 7
      1

      Pacs

      “What about the crimes happened since 1987 and before. There are unhealed wounds too.”

      I have been kicking and screaming for many years demanding an independent investigation into all war crimes committed by all parties covering the period from 5th April 1971 to date modeled on South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    • 0
      0

      You ask about crimes committed “since 1987 and before.” That includes all crimes ever committed except for those committed in 1987.

  • 4
    1

    Now that the NPC has proposed, all that needs to be done is to find a guilty Sri Lankan that admits he is guilty.

  • 2
    3

    Excellent suggestion.

    This is what happened in South Africa.

  • 2
    3

    Very good and practical approach, it is also extremely important to keep the identity of such people discreet ,but have a strong tap on such individuals movements and behavior at large for the sake of the entire society. ”

    You can not penalise only our Soldiers and let go free ,not just ex LTTE members ,who are also today MPS (wanna LMAO) , and many others too from all communities who have committed even worse crimes against humanity .

    So let us forgive and forget and bring our a new and effective law and system, after all everyone deserves a second chance.

    After this reconciliation is achieved ,let us make sure anyone who commits atrocities against humanity will be hanged if viden c are correct and true.

    So let us move on.

  • 4
    2

    The J.V.P were granted a amnesty and were rehabilitated. The LTTE were granted an amnesty and were rehabilitated. The IPKF crimes were forgotten. An Amnesty for war times crimes under duress and fear of life and rehabilitation is a must. Also for negligence and for corruption of subordinates their has to be a amnesty and rehabilitation.

  • 2
    2

    Does this apply to you as well, Sir?

  • 3
    5

    LTTE would have committed crimes But over the time they evolved to run a government and tried to be just and fair with the human rights and child right awareness. Most of the crimes ltte had been accused of were committed by the 31 militant groups prevalent during this era. Various foreign Intelligent agencies have been behind these groups. Even Prime minister Rajeeve’s murder has lot of unanswered questions but the media worldwide put the blame on the LTTE. It is always welcome that the crimes of the LTTE should be looked into. I am sure that LTTE would relieved from many of the accusations.

  • 5
    2

    Nice try.
    Another attempt to hide the truth from the poor Silly Lankans and divert attention. Solve the immediate and serious threats & problems like the disappeared arms from the forces armouries, coup attempt on the 9th of Jan.2015 and the disappearances of Prageeth, Kugan and others…..stolen money in overseas banks and wealth acquired after Jarapassas became soul proprietors of Sorry Lanka. Act now or face the consequences.
    Coup attempt prosecution is the ‘Top Priority’. So many arms and ammunition unaccounted for and distributed by the Rajapaksa dealers with the help of KP, Karuna, Pilleyan and who knows what to expect. Prevention is better than cure. Let SF finish the job he started. Mangala can take care of the frauds/stolen assets.

  • 4
    1

    Excellent idea. How many Tamils abroad are going to admit funding the LTTE in exchange for forgiveness?

    • 3
      3

      Taraki

      “How many Tamils abroad are going to admit funding the LTTE in exchange for forgiveness?”

      Just hang on a minute.

      How many countries were involved in war crimes and crime against humanity perpetrated in this island from 5th April 1971 to date?

      Will you demand those countries submit themselves to all investigating commission?

      The countries involved in and supported the state include

      Hindia

      USA

      UK

      South Africa

      Israel

      China

      Pakistan

      …..

      …..

      …..

      and all those who supplied arms, training ….. and logistics to all parties.

      In 1971 and between 1987 and 1991 USA, UK, Hindia were heavily involved.

      • 1
        2

        ‘….and all those who supplied arms, training ….. and logistics to all parties. In 1971 and between 1987 and 1991 USA, UK, Hindia were heavily involved’

        Precisely. That is why this US war crimes crap will never hold water. TNA & diaspora are wasting their time. Realpolitik will be the result of all this. Just ask Mangala.

  • 2
    0

    This is a wonderful suggestion and I hope it is promoted and implemented along with the rest of the TRC recommendations. The introduction of the TRC was a magnanimous gesture by the Rajapakse regime but they gave it no teeth. The UN’s bone of contention is that the TRC recommendations are not implemented. I do not see the problem if the previous administration had nothing to hide.

  • 1
    0

    Good intentions aside, akin to a Hail Mary Pass. A nod to our ” culture of impunity “.

    • 1
      0

      still could not find sources for your historical claims ?:P

      • 0
        0

        Hey Sach, how how, all ok ?

  • 0
    4

    NPC says : “Due to the difficulty of obtaining evidence that meets the standard of criminal law”

    So this is an admission by one of the “evidence” providers to Ban-ki Moon’s 2011 panel that NO real evidence actually exists and what they have used is stuff they heard, i.e. made up and repeated, tell a lie over and over again it becomes truth. Asks Tamils about it, they repeated the lie about “discrimination” and it became a truth. they are now repeating a lie about “genocide” no doubt hoping soon it too will be accepted as a truth (why not, everything else they keep saying over and over again is accepting at face value hikz).

    • 0
      0

      The only way that this statement [ “Due to the difficulty of obtaining evidence that meets the standard of criminal law”] can be read as an admission “that NO real evidence actually exists” is by misreading it. You go on to say that Tamil claims of discrimination against them are “lies” — which reinforces the impression that facts are simply unimportant to you.

  • 1
    0

    No domestic tribunal can immunize anyone from the application of international law. I would think that a confession made to any such tribunal would be admissible in evidence in the International Criminal Court
    in The Hague. If I am right on both counts, it bears thinking about. The South African TRC was not dealing with events being considered for prosecution as war crimes, and so its focus was confined to domestic matters. That
    is a crucial difference between the two situations. Unlike the South African Commission, an analogous Sri Lankan commission could not afford to ignore the potential for prosecution by an international body.

  • 0
    0

    “21 Responses to Sri Lanka War Crimes; Grant Amnesty Where The Accused Accepts His Guilt: NPC”
    How many of you actually faced LTTE terrorists in the war? Have you all forgotten what they did to our country? Please open your eyes, thanks to the brave soldiers and right decisions we have peace in our motherland. LTTE started the war they paid the price. This is a lesson for everyone.

    • 0
      0

      Seyed Rizan, In the eyes of the UNHCR the only people on the dock right now is the Sri Lankan Military and the Sri Lankan Government. That is because they are concentrating on the final few days of the conflict when the LTTE was already cornered. This is the reason I want the new government to change the Terms of Reference of the UN Report to extend to all 26 years of the conflict when the atrocities of the LTTE were at their height.

  • 1
    0

    Perfect. Kill 40,000 people and say ‘Sorry Guys. Let’s go out and have a beer’. Is that what you mean?

    • 2
      0

      Donald R

      “Kill 40,000 people and say ‘Sorry Guys. Let’s go out and have a beer’. Is that what you mean?”

      killing in this island for one reason or another goes on un abated and will never stop.

      However the point is that as long as all parties to war crimes (committed from 5th April 1971) account for and own up all criminal acts, say sorry and beg mercy (pardon from the victims or their relatives who seek justice) that is more than sufficient to close war crime issues.

      Then the rest depends on how the current government intent to deal with the political issues of devolution of powers.
      Then the political

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