27 May, 2022

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Time To Sanction Sri Lankan Generals Under UK Global Magnitsky Act: Human Rights Groups

British Tamils and human rights groups are urging the UK Government to use the Global Magnitsky Act to sanction Sri Lankan Generals with command responsibility for alleged war crimes in the final stages of the civil war in 2009.

This comes as the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) sent the UK Government’s sanctions department a 100-page submission on a second Sri Lankan General – former Army Commander, Jagath Jayasuriya. In 2021, the ITJP submitted a file on the current Army Commander, General Shavendra Silva, who is already designated for gross violations of human rights in the United States[1]. Silva was a brigade commander subordinate to Jayasuriya during the 2009 war, in which a UN investigation found reasonable grounds to say the Sri Lankan Army committed war crimes and crimes against humanity[2].

“The British government has a duty to protect the rights of the hundreds of Tamil victims of these Sri Lankan Generals who are now living in the United Kingdom; the Tamil community’s calls for Magnitsky sanctions to extend to Sri Lanka need to be heard by British politicians who solicit their votes in future,” said Yasmin Sooka, executive director of the ITJP. “Britain is the pen holder for the Geneva process on Sri Lanka which led to the establishment of the evidence gathering mechanism precisely to support accountability steps but this is not enough; the UK needs to extend accountability initiatives to sanctions and universal jurisdiction cases, as called upon by the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It would be a travesty for the UK to lead the accountability process but then fail to set a good example itself.”

Media reports say Jayasuriya is the current Chairman of the National Boxing Selection Committee of Sri Lanka, which is focusing on competing in the 2022 Commonwealth Games due to be held in Birmingham, England.

“The very least the UK can do is to open an investigation, in anticipation of arresting Jayasuriya under universal jurisdiction if he attends the Commonwealth games this year with his team,” said Sen Kandiah of Tamils for Labour.

For a year British Tamils have been meeting scores of members of parliament, who have written to the Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office asking why Magnitsky sanctions have yet to be applied to Shavendra Silva.

“It is time the government stop prevaricating on this matter and actually deliver some sanctions for alleged war criminals,” said Gajen Raj of British Tamil Conservatives. “This is not the criminal accountability victims deserve but sanctions are a first step towards recognition of what our community has suffered at the hands of these men who now flaunt their impunity.”

“Sanctioning Jagath Jayasuriya, a coward who fled from justice in Latin America is an easy first step,” said LibDem Councillor Thay Thayalan, “He is retired and holds no official position – the political cost for UK is minimal but for our community it would be a huge morale boost and gesture of solidarity.”

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils has also come out in support of action on Sri Lanka under the UK Global Magnitsky Act. “We urge all our members to write to the FCDO to ask them to apply sanctions to army officers, some of whom are already designated in other countries. We must act if we want to maintain the trust and loyalty of the extensive and influential Tamil community in this country,” said the Chair of the APPGT, Elliot Colburn. “I will be calling on all my colleagues in Westminster to reaffirm that it’s time to sanction Sri Lanka when they make their annual Thai Pongal or Tamil Harvest Festival messages of support to the Tamil community next week.”

“Given the UK’s leadership on accountability for Sri Lanka, it’s time the government looked at these submissions carefully – after all there was enough of a prima facie case for the United States to designate Shavendra Silva, and for Chile to appoint a prosecutor to look into the complaint against Jagath Jayasuriya” said Charlie Loudon, International Legal Adviser at Redress, which runs the Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Magnitsky Sanctions.

“These two Generals should be just the beginning – there is a case to be made against several others involved in alleged war crimes in 2009 and now holding key positions in the current government,” added Melissa Dring, Campaign Director of Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice.

 Background

General Jagath Jayasuriya was the Vanni Security Force Commander from 2007-9, who by his own admission oversaw the entire conduct of the final phase of the war, during which Tamil civilians were indiscriminately shelled and bombed and hospitals targeted in Sri Lanka. General Jayasuriya was also based in one of Sri Lanka’s most notorious torture sites, the Vanni Security Force Headquarters, commonly known as “Joseph Camp”. This site had purpose-built torture chambers, equipped with manacles and chains, pulleys for hoisting detainees upside down, bars for handcuffing them to the ceiling and underground holding cells.

In 2017 the ITJP and local partners filed several universal jurisdiction cases against Jagath Jayasuriya who was posted as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Latin America[3]. Instead of remaining in Brazil to defend himself in legal proceedings, General Jayasuriya fled and returned to Sri Lanka, where no further investigation was initiated. In an interview after his return home, Jayasuriya did not deny torture took place in “Joseph Camp” but rather suggested it was not his responsibility as the senior most officer in the base[4]. In the interview, he appeared to acknowledge that extrajudicial executions, sexual violence against prisoners of war, and mutilation of female corpses may have occurred at the frontline in the final days of the war[5] but claimed he was not aware of them, even though he has been photographed inspecting piles of corpses there. It is worth noting that Jayasuriya was appointed Army Commander two months after the war ended and could have initiated a credible criminal investigation; in the interview he said he was too busy with other things[6].

Jayasuriya also confirmed in the interview that frontline commanders reported directly to the defence secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is now President of Sri Lanka.

“Given the men whom the United Nations has named for alleged war crimes in 2009 are now running Sri Lanka, it is no surprise that there has been no genuine will to hold anyone accountable,” commented Ms. Sooka.


[1] Under Section 7031c of the Department of State Foreign Relations and Related Programs the Appropriations Act.

[2] https://itjpsl.com/reports/shavendra-silva

[3] https://itjpsl.com/reports/the-case-against-jagath-jayasuriya

[4] 3 Sep. 2017, Ceylon Today. Interview Jagath Jayasuriya.

https://web.archive.org/web/20170909174426/http://www.ceylontoday.lk/print20170401CT20170630.php?id=29100

“A: That allegations came up since intelligence were there and maybe they held interrogations inside. That is why it is interpreted that way.”

“? So you’re saying you were not responsible for any torture?

A: How can I be responsible if somebody else was doing it? The entire complex was not under my command.

? So basically you did not know what was going on in that part of the camp?

A: No.”

[5] Ibid, “A: I have seen those videos, but I am not aware of these incident. Those things may have had happened on the frontline at the last minute I think. I am not personally aware of these things”.

[6] “Why didn’t you at least investigate to know whether it was true or false?

A: No. I don’t think we have done that.”

 

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Latest comments

  • 4
    14

    The bigger issue is to prevent this happening again by dividing the island into 3 mono ethnic nations and relocating people based on ethnicity. Otherwise this will be just another event that will be repeated.

    Government will take revenge on local minorities for any such thing. Same thing over and over again.

    • 5
      12

      GATAM,
      “…dividing the island into 3 mono ethnic nations and relocating people based on ethnicity.”
      —-
      Best solution is to send camels who have entered the tent of indigenous Sinhalayo to their respective ancestral homelands.

  • 5
    26

    “British Tamils and human rights groups are urging the UK Government to use the Global Magnitsky Act to sanction Sri Lankan Generals with command responsibility for alleged war crimes in the final stages of the civil war in 2009.”

    What kind of crackpots are these guys to ask the UK Government to use the Global Magnitsky Act to sanction Sri Lankan Generals with command responsibility for ‘ALLEGED’ war crimes in the final stages of the civil war in 2009.
    —-
    According to Merriam-Webster dictionary the meaning of the word ‘Alleged’ is:
    “accused but not proven or convicted”
    Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alleged

    • 11
      1

      EE, why should those military ‘deshapremiyo’ go begging visa to visit the country of colonial masters anyway? Such deshapremiyo should be ashamed to move even their foot on the land of ‘para suddo’, shouldnt they EE?

  • 26
    1

    The Goat man will protect and support his war criminals. After all they were following HIS orders. We should be embarrassed that these war criminals have been given top jobs in the administration, and that they represent this country. They have the blood of thousands of civilians on their hands, and they are given prominence, and put on pedestals, by the Rajapaksa regime, as a big thank you.

  • 15
    0

    Fair enough, the Tamil diaspora wanting justice for war crimes committed by the SL Military but lets not forget the LTTE was also responsible for such crimes & some of those high ranking LTTE members are now best buddies with same regime that defeated them. Were those responsible for the crimes acted on their own or were they following orders? If so, who gave the orders to take no prisoners?
    I am in favor for the UK govt. (or any other body) to conduct an investigation into war crimes of both sides & those convicted should be punished, at least, with the issuing of international arrest warrants, including on those who have been given sanctuary in UK & other countries as well.

    • 3
      12

      Raj-UK,
      “…those who have been given sanctuary in UK & other countries as well.”
      —-
      While bringing up fabricated war crime charges against the Government of Sri Lanka and Armed Forces these countries are protecting war criminals who are hiding under new identities. Height of hypocrisy!!!

      • 7
        0

        Eagle Eye

        You seem to be dumb as well as blind. Whether allegations are fabricated or not, let the courts decide based on the facts provided by the prosecution & the defence. If SL has done no wrong, what’s the problem? Do you think the world is against SL & the judgement will be biased? Isn’t SL capable of defending itself? Why has SL never prosecuted any high profile terrorists, apart from resorting to kangaroo court justice?

        Anybody fleeing from prosecution is a refugee & criminals are able to manipulate the system. It’s up to the SL govt. to go after such criminals & bring them to trial, Many who are now domiciled abroad maybe sympathisers but not necessarily criminals. Therefore, a court of law should decide but if countries continue to provide refuge even after conviction, then we can accuse them of hypocrisy. By the way, how did GR & Basil get their US Green Cards? Certainly it can’t be based on their level of education according to the US Immigration policy or did they win the green card lottery?

    • 7
      1

      The UK government together with INDIA. China. Pakistan and USA gave their blessings and Physical/Arms support to Srilanka to fight the Tamils.UK in particularly had the responsibility to ensure that the Tamils were restored the status quo enjoyed by them prior to 1833. They failed and continued to fail. India for that matter, had the opportunity to restore the position together with UK .Now India is crying over Chlna’s encroachment into Srilanka and particularly the NORTH of Srilanka. They are also responsible for the human rights violation during the war by turning a blind eye. That is why they are soft pedaling the Issue. In fact it was said that the best way of keeping China at bay was to Keep the tigers ‘alive’.

  • 6
    10

    In order to appropriately reciprocate the Government should appoint a commission to investigate the present TNA leaders who functioned as the political wing of LTTE , assisted in arms purchase and shipment through their members in the diaspora and promoted LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamils.

    Soma

    • 2
      9

      Soma,
      “Government should appoint a commission to investigate the present TNA leaders who functioned as the political wing of LTTE,…”

      There is no need to appoint commissions. These people who promoted separatism and supported terrorism have violated the Constitution of Sri Lanka. Punishment is stripping their civic rights and confiscating their movable and immovable property.

      In the new Constitution, they should introduce harsher punishments.

    • 3
      8

      Soma,
      Instead of punishing, ‘Yahapalana’ Government gave the guy who took a leading role to pass Vaddukoddai Resolution to create a separate State within Sri Lanka and declared war against the Government of Sri Lanka and Sinhala Nation a luxury house in Colombo 7 with all the expenses paid by Sinhala tax payers.

    • 2
      0

      Soma,
      Have you got the list?
      What about MIC Deal?

      • 0
        0

        Hi Ajith,
        That’s a good one, indeed. Do you mean MIG deal (MIC deal)??
        The The Magnitsky Act is only “crimes against humanity”.
        Quote
        WHICH APPLIES GLOBALLY, AUTHORIZES THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TO SANCTION THOSE IT SEES AS HUMAN RIGHTS OFFENDERS, FREEZE THEIR ASSETS, AND BAN THEM FROM ENTERING THE U.S
        Unquote
        The MIG deal is not, unless as extension you could prove it caused human Rights violation!!!
        It would be a hard ask??
        When it was used by then government to prosecute a valuable cause, “Humanitarian Cause War to liberate the Tamils from the treacherous LTTE”???
        Think about it as it would be near impossible!
        Therefore does not qualify

  • 20
    1

    I understand that Jagath Jayasuriya schooled at Royal College, which now stands disgraced by his dishonourable conduct.

    I don’t know where Shavendra schooled, but Gota is a product of Ananda College, the premier boys’ school in Sri Lanka. These two institutions too stand disgraced by the persistence of the evil stench left behind by these two vicious thugs.

    Basil and Mahinda flunked the GCE ‘O’ Level exams, which says a lot. Mahinda was kicked out from Nalanda College, went to Thurstan and was also booted out of there. There is some saving grace remaining in these institutions, for they acted decisively once they smelled the stark lack of intellect and evil sported by these two buffoons.

    These brothers terrible learnt their lessons early, stealing cattle from neighbours and become village thugs. One must question the character of their parents for having supported these acts of societal lawlessness, even in a village setting in Weerawila.

    But even if invoked, what will Magnitsky do, to curb these villains aside from perhaps barring them entry to the UK? Will they be any less greedy? Any less crooked? One suspects they will be laughing all the way to Santorini, Dubai, Uganda or the Seychelles in their spanking new blue jet, to live out their days in grand splendour, and enjoying the vistas of prosperity bestowed on them by a spineless, clueless and racist mob of 6.9 million bandicoots.

    • 7
      0

      ES, the absolute truth very well said, summed up in the last sentence! I’d add one more point – all these world class cattle stealers were accorded to the throne in this banana republic by a huge gang of equally utterly corrupt yellow robed shitheads! They are an ideal complement to the 6.9 million bandicoots!

    • 3
      0

      ES,
      The so called 6.9 million Bandicoots will in my estimation do it again, to decimate them!
      What is needed is needed is Rs. 5000.00, ¼ Bottk=le of Gal Arrack and Chicken Biriyani Election!!
      JOB ACCOMPLISHED!
      Mindless!!!

    • 0
      0

      ES,
      The so called 6.9 million Bandicoots will in my estimation do it again, to decimate them!
      What is needed is needed is Rs. 5000.00, ¼ Bottle of Gal Arrack and Chicken Biriyani Election!!
      JOB ACCOMPLISHED!
      Mindless!!!

  • 10
    1

    Things have worked out well for Gota and his Generals in the photograph in the front ……… now, that VP and the LTTE is no more, they can come out of under their beds and sleep on them ……. but the people are still dodging bombs ….. self-home-delivered to the kitchen ……..

    That’s a luxury of efficiency VP never had …………. suicide-bombers were old hat …………

    • 6
      1

      …. been busy, advising the Queen ……. she has called for help ………. her war-hero son is in a bit of bother ………

      She asked, how the Lankans handled the foreigners who came after our war-heroes.

      ….. said, no matter what her son has done, to portray it as a wile Yankee foriegn-plot to grab her war-hero son …….. and offer to go to the electric chair herself. ……… She was a bit taken aback, but was assured, the offer will never be accepted. Since she can be sure, the offer will be rejected, to play it up to her heart’s content. Only thing she has to worry about is the patriotic fervour: how to handle the outpouring of love, affection and adulation.

      Then she said Boris might beat her to the punch ……… then I said why worry, they might actually take up on the offer ……. end of her bete noire …….. two birds killed with one ……….

  • 5
    0

    What happened exactly in the war-torn areas are known only to those who faced it and not outsiders. Just as much as there are much publicized statements and other papers about the atrocities committed on the civilian population, there are not so much publicized statements giving a different picture. The reality is all these foreign “governments” do not care a tuppence regarding the activities that took place thousands of miles away, but they are interested in the domestic political pressure that can be created by people now domiciled in those countries. The politicians over there look greedily at the donations they receive for the political fund. The day that such funding dwindles, so will the value of diaspora in the respective countries. Duplicity is the name of the game not to address those suffered. These powerful nations on earth too have committed gross abuses of human rights and they use the same as a bargaining ploy to secure the subservience of lesser mortals.

  • 12
    3

    We are truly a nation of murders with absolutely no conscience. This fact was proven the day 6.9 million scoundrels voted into power those who perpetrated this genocide. This 6.9m reek of racism, intolerance and down right vicious nastiness. Some of this lot have even managed to ingratiate them selves into countries that are bastions of democracy and tolerance by hoodwinking these western nations into granting them citizenship and permanent residency. How do you think Sri Lanka is going to prosper under such vile nasty leaders? What is unfolding in the country is karma for what you lot have done. Don’t worry when the gods punish they make sure it is done right. No amount of Gnanakkas, Tirupathies Ruwanweli seyas are going to hood wink the gods. The game is up. See, this lot of scoundrels are so arrogant that they think they can get even the gods to dance to their tunes thru inducement and bribery.

  • 3
    1

    I am not against this type of action suggested to the British Government. But the proponents must be alert not to thaw the Thayaka Tamils & Diaspora. It could be a dangerous illusion if proponents think these can make any change in the minds of Rowdy Royals or UNP. Neither it cannot advance even an inch the space towards a solution for Tamils. Old Rowdy is cackling a lot that he has made a massive new comeback, after the Chinese FAM visit. Recently, at the new, war memorial Buddhist shrine opening, Old Rowdy said that the British prime minister told him that LTTE has a territory of its own, how are you going to invade breaking international norms. But he did exactly what the prime minister didn’t want to do and showed Britain that he doesn’t care for them. War was carried out by the massive Hitlaristic Establishment. Shaking it up will not be achieved preventing a war criminal entering one or two countries. This process has to be organized to encircle North America, the EU, Britain, Australia, Japan & other democratic countries. Jehan PhD like Sinhala Intellectuals has started their campaign aiming at UNHRC.

  • 5
    3

    Sumanthiran and Sampanthan Aiyya are distracting Tamils with their lame donkey, 13A. In the next election. If there is one, if Tamils remove TNA from provincial councils, they won’t beat on the knee of Tamils like this and make Tamils limp forever with 13A. Sampanthan Aiyya must know when Royals wanted to annihilate Tamils, they used the traitorous Tamil Kadirgamar to put together 32 countries to help them. But Sumanthiran is saying India is the only country has political solution for Tamils.

    • 5
      1

      “India is the only country has political solution for the Tamils”? What a statement By Sumanthiran? India is the only country who will laugh with the Tamils, Modi would quote from Thirukkral and finally cut the ground under their feet.

  • 3
    7

    If even one of our diplomats are touched, the British ambassador to Sri Lanka can expect the same in return. He will be brought to Welikada and be given the Rice and Pol mallun Prison lunch. And he can expect to eat that for a very long time.

    • 2
      0

      ReginaldShamalPerera
      Yap, Under PTA, all three meals have to be given or else, inmate will break the prison. But many, outside of prison, has nothing to break even.

    • 7
      0

      Reginald Shameless Pererass

      Did you just fall?
      Or, were you just checking if gravity still works.

    • 3
      0

      Well said Reggi
      Also may have to ban all British Navy Ships from entering Sri Lankan territorial waters.

      • 1
        0

        Stop them with what??
        Premadasa’s Bamboo pole for the Rail crossings and an unemployed ‘Rasthiadu’ as a guardian of the Territorial waters?
        you make me laugh!!!!!!!!!!
        The British navy ships need not open fire!!!!!
        Just continue sailing and SLN would be at the bottom – on the seabed!

        • 1
          0

          Mahila,

          First of all Mr Premadasa’s bamboo pole rail crossing gate was a pragmatic solution by the President of SL to save lives as a short term solution.

          The British do not rule the waves any more.

          You should try and comprehend this reality..

          The days Britannia engauged in gun boat diplomacy is over.

          A full scale diplomatic row will be detrimentle to both sides.

          This is the reality.

          Let the British boats come
          Lets see who will have the last laugh.

          • 2
            0

            Sargent Nallathambi,
            My comment was in response to the claim that
            Quote,
            The SL Navy will endevour to stop the British Royal Navy, if they attempt to enter the territorial or economic zine of SL.
            Unquote
            i believe it has been taken out of context.
            I was only comparing the size and nature of the assets of the 2 navies that would encounter. True the Royal Navy does not enjoy the supremacy it enjoyed up to the middle of the last century, when Britain ceased to rule the waves!!!!!!!!.
            If it ever eventuated it would be heightened DPL ’Brouhaha’, and nothing else!
            It might end up like the 1987 Indian Navy ships anchoring in SL ports and respective commanders exchanging greetings
            Thus the use of the Railway crossing poles, meaning antiquated or out of date assets!!!!!!!

    • 1
      0

      RSP,
      Why do you waste time. Bring the President and former President to Welikada and do the same?

  • 1
    0

    Mallaiyuran is speaking through his hat. Sampanthan and Sumanthiran have repeatedly claimed that 13A is not the solution to the ethnic conflict. The TNA manifestos never spoke anything about 13A. TNA has put forward a quasi-federal government structure within a united and undivided country where the Tamil speaking people are in a majority. 13A is the starting point, and it had to be fully implemented to make devolution more democratic and just.

  • 3
    0

    Peaceful and united co existance is the only way.
    Before prosecutng military officers for human rights violations.
    Politicians who orcestrate communal and religious disharmony should be brought to book and kicked out of office.

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