23 October, 2020

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Tricks Or Treat? Transitional Justice For Postwar Sri Lanka 

By Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka

Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka

Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka

It must surely be thought odd that I am even undertaking an effort to intervene here on a subject that requires comment by lawyers or political scientists. But as a concerned citizen-observer I have some worries and since I have not seen any debate whatsoever in the media, I want to raise some questions and hopefully contribute to an informed public discussion.

When and who decided that what Sri Lanka needed in the post-war period was ‘Transitional Justice’? Where and on what basis did they decide that?

My curiosity about this was aroused after a conversation with an overseas visitor to our home, representing a major UN related agency, who admitted that the concept of Transitional Justice (TJ) derived from a Latin American context, the criteria for its applicability had not been fully developed, and that even at the UN it had been used inappropriately and indiscriminately, and in quite a few cases to little benefit.

My other conversations with staff working for INGOs revealed that the overseas funding was earmarked and plentiful for projects that involved Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka, which does not make for the most conducive atmosphere for awkward questions of local applicability.

It became a serious issue when the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recommended Transitional Justice mechanisms for Sri Lanka and our Ambassador in Geneva thanked the international community for their assistance with Transitional Justice at the ongoing (September) 33rd session of the UNHRC.

My concern is that, from what I can gather from the literature, Transitional Justice is applied either when military dictatorships or totalitarian regimes are overthrown by people fighting for freedom and democracy or when civil wars draw to a negotiated end after a “hurting stalemate”. In the latter case, the full package of Transitional Justice is not invoked. Transitional Justice seems to apply mainly in times of radical political transformation from a non-democratic or authoritarian political system to a democratic political order, and not merely a more liberal political culture or style of governance.

Examples given in an Oxford University Press book on Transitional Justice leaves no ambiguity as to what exactly this means: “Transition from communist rule in East and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union” and “…repressive military rule in Latin America and Africa.” (‘Transitional Justice’ by Ruti G. Teitel). It also says: “The problem of Transitional Justice arises within the distinctive context of transition- a shift in political orders.” In short, Transitional Justice is relevant to a qualitative or systemic discontinuity; a macro change.

Does a democratically held general election at which the (combined) opposition won a majority and formed a coalition government with a dissident section of the former democratically elected government, qualify? Where’s the shift in “political order”? It is the same essentially democratic multiparty political order, before and after.

There have been multiple changes of style of government and/or political culture at the general elections over the decades. There have been issues of Law and Order under each of those administrations. All those changes took place under essentially the same political order. So it was, most recently as well. There’s a new experiment in governance, a temporary coalition government with a different set of ideas and ideology, but that is hardly a change in political order or a radical political transformation.

Is it a “shift” of the political order in which we found ourselves, after the elected government of the day militarily defeated a terrorist force engaging in warfare to establish a separate state? After its victory, the democratically elected government proceeded to hold elections in the areas formerly under terrorist control and also hold general elections at which it got re-elected under the same political order as before the victory. That government was eventually voted out of office under the same political order, without any preceding rupture in it or dissolution or overthrow of it. So that doesn’t seem to qualify.

Is Transitional Justice to do with accountability for alleged crimes committed during the last stages of a 30 year war? There are relevant mechanisms to deal with these issues. Does justice seeking and accountability for such alleged crimes necessarily bring into play “Transitional Justice”?

Transitional Justice applied in Latin America where there was a transitioning from an authoritarian military dictatorship engaging in grave violations of human rights in previous decades, to an electoral democracy. That is clearly a political transformation—a transformation or shift in the political order, which is much more than an electoral change. Is that remotely like what happened in Sri Lanka?

What is my objection? It is that when “Transitional Justice” is invoked, it seems to my non-lawyer’s mind, to assume or imply that it is against a non-democratic, authoritarian regime from which the citizenry at large sought to free themselves, and did so after the war. This was manifestly not the case. Indeed it was the opposite, where a majority of citizens exhorted the government to fulfill their obligation to protect them from daily threat of terror and only one leadership or administration listened, and the citizens were grateful for it. This is why the existing leadership was re-elected in 2010, which is hardly evidence of the overthrow of the postwar regime.

What is significant about the term Transitional Justice? What makes it different from existing notions of law and order, crime and punishment, justice and accountability? It introduces or implies the idea of collective victimhood and systemic violations, over a long period, by the state. That is why a ‘transition’ is needed. This shifts the ground from the issue of individual crimes and punishment. It looks to me like an attempt is being made to introduce and accept through semantics, the charge of war crimes and crimes against humanity or grave violations of human rights, against the Sri Lankan military, the earlier administration, and the last war.

If we are made to believe through constant invocation of this term, that there’s been a transition of great magnitude, we are logically made to believe that there was an earlier political order that was undemocratic as a system—whereas the reality is that what we had since Independence was a democratic political order, with its periodic elections and multiparty system, which order and system were preserved by the state by fighting against totalitarian terrorist non-state actors, North and South.

In addition, all the improvements to the system and process of Justice are made, and accountability for individual crimes committed are being addressed, under the same democratic order we’ve had for decades.

This is why I was dismayed to hear our ambassador in Geneva thank the international community for their assistance with Transitional Justice. Yes, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid insisted that we implement Transitional Justice mechanisms. But then the same UN High Commissioner not only unquestioningly adopted the Darusman Panel’s report and declared his horror at its (unsubstantiated) findings but proceeded to recommend in his written Report, prosecution under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction in all 193 UN member states, of Sri Lankans against whom there are “credible allegations”.

At UNESCO’s annual Café Philo, the Philosophy Day event in Paris in 2011, the glamorous Slovenian Ambassador, a Professor of Philosophy, intervened memorably in a discussion to say that “Terms that are used to describe something are important and are neither innocent nor neutral”. She urged, “Never let other people define you!” It is important for us to understand what happened, achieve clarity, and not fall for propaganda. Our citizens must not be victims of psychological warfare. So, is Transitional Justice a treat, a trick or a trap for Sri Lanka?

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Latest comments

  • 25
    1

    Sanja – This sounds uncannily like your husband’s usual rhetoric – so much so, that unless you are a clone with his mindset this sure seems like another juvenile ploy the Dr (of Spin) is trying to foist on us readers of CT.

    Do you mind enlightening us with your academic background and/or what sort of experience you have with international affairs, so that we can make an assessment whether we should take you seriously, or if you are simply a convenient mouthpiece for your husband, who never fails to attract abuse and saner views critical of his obviously partisan arguments – full of misquotes (to boost his prejudices).

    • 17
      1

      Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka ,

      You don’t need to be a rocket scientist, or need any technical jargon, or splitting hair to find why Sri Lanka needs to go through a transitional justice after the war.

      Sri Lanka has a history of two waves of mass murders of Sinhala youth with no accountability at all.

      The war with the LTTE was based on the several decades of systemic discrimination against Tamils, and even genocidal assaults on Tamils periodically culminating in genocide in Vanni near the end of the war.

      Therefore there is dire need to make the Sri Lankan state and its Sinhalese rulers accountable for their actions.

      The international community, without their help Sri Lanka could not have won the war, wants to put a stop to this perennial lack of accountability of Sri Lankan state and its rulers for the future.

      They believe this is the best way to ensure the rule of law and abidance to international human rights laws.

      • 6
        3

        Get a life Babe!

        Has not one told you that Tamils, Muslims and JVP youth which was victimized during the Mahinda Jarapassa regime are CITIZENS OF SRI LANKAN and want JUSTICE and TRUTH!

        You can call it TJ – I call it my RIGHT to INFORMATION and the Truth as i know that I live in a Miracle of Modayas!

      • 4
        2

        Get a life Babe!

        Has no one told you that Tamils, Muslims and JVP youth victimized during the Mahinda Jarapassa regime are CITIZENS OF SRI LANKAN? and THEY want JUSTICE and TRUTH?!

        You can call it TJ or some other fancy name. I call it Aththa not Boru.

        As a by stander in a war that I detested, I have a RIGHT to INFORMATION and the TRUTH. I know that I live in a Miracle of Modayas!

  • 5
    35

    Well, back in 1974 an event known as “Tamil Research conference” was held in Jaffna. A radical Tamil politician from Tamil Nadu who was banned from entering Sri Lanka was on stage inciting hatred.

    The cops proceeded to arrest the guy. In the ensuing melee an electric pylon fell and killed 9 people.

    It was the Tamil organisors who broke the law. Most cops who were present those days including the top rankers were cops too. Anyway the TULF and their followers spread Sinhala people were responsible for killing 9 Tamils. The local and international media also heighted it along these lines.

    Now, when one look at almost all “Tamil grievances” from 1930s they are all incredibly similar. The latest hoax being “last phase of the war”. None have any truth, most have been either completely twisted or exaggerated to such an extent people who were actually present are amazed at the ability of these Tamils to spread utter lies.

    The Tamils who lie and spread hoaxes are Phd holders, Catholic and Anglican priests, university lectures, doctors and engineers. The ones on the govt side are mostly clerks and small time operators whom have absolutely no capability to confront and bare these hoaxes with any credibility.

    This continue to happen to this day. It requires a comprehensive strategy, with competent people who knows Sri Lankan history, the political claims with electronic and social media experts to combat effectively.

    Why so? The economic cost these Tamils continue to do so in lost time and productivity must run into billions of dollars. None of the political claims and aspirations have any basis either.

    • 15
      3

      Sinhala Man “Well, back in 1974 an event known as “Tamil Research conference” was held in Jaffna. A radical Tamil politician from Tamil Nadu who was banned from entering Sri Lanka was on stage inciting hatred. The cops proceeded to arrest the guy. In the ensuing melee an electric pylon fell and killed 9 people. “

      Now there is a new war against the Tamils by the Sinhala people. Rewrite the Tamil history with lies and twist.

      The above is a good example.
      Now for the truth:

      It was the 4th International Tamil Conference and seminar.
      The seminar was conducted mainly in the Veerasingam Hall and Tamil scholars from all over the world submitted papers at the conference that lasted almost ten days.

      The whole of Jaffna peninsula was in a festival mood through out the period while the conference was taking place. All roads and lanes were decorated with Banana plants, coconut trees, casuarina branches etc. Pandals were erected on the roads and the traditional Thoranams were hung along the roads for miles and miles. People behaved as if a wedding was taking place in their own homes

      On the last day a public meeting was arranged by the organisers to enable the public to listen to the speeches by the scholars. A massive stage was erected in front of the Veerasingam Hall and over fifty thousand people congregated on the esplanade.

      It was a great experience to listen to the speeches by the scholars, as their utterances were very informative.

      Those who filled the arena felt proud to hear that Tamil was one the three oldest languages of the world we live in. Every Tamil who listened to the lectures felt proud to be born a Tamil.

      Sinhala Man “A radical Tamil politician from Tamil Nadu who was banned from entering Sri Lanka was on stage inciting hatred. “

      On the contrary it was Professor Naina Mohamed from India who was delivering his lecture when the tragedy struck. The police did not go to the satge to arrest him.

      Instead.

      Several vans and jeeps filled with armed policemen drove in and started shooting at random and hitting people with their batons and riffle butts. People began to run aimlessly. There was a stampede.

      A policeman deliberately shot at the electric wires that fell on the crowd.

      All this because one prominent Sinhala Politician was jealous that Tamils have International Tamil Conference. There is no such conference celebrating the Sinhala language

      This is exactly the problem with Sinhala Man.

      you can read the commissions report on here:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1974_Tamil_conference_incident

      • 2
        11

        Well, I learnt of the events directly from the party involved.

        The excerpt of that story below. His narrative is quite different to yours.

        Unfortunately, the link no longer works – but I can assure you what you said is a fairy tale.

        /*

        Great escapade, Dr.R. Janarthanan relives the great thriller of 1974. It was all about the Tamil Conference by the International Association of Tamil Research held in Jaffna from 03 January 1974 to 10 January 1974. He narrates how he being a person black listed by the Sri Lankan Government managed to enter Sri Lanka and escaped without being arrested. He unravels a mystery which would tend to fill in a gaping hole in the contemporary history of the country.

        • 11
          1

          De Silva

          Its not just Dr.R. Janarthanan who evaded arrest by the Sri Lankan govt. Anton Balasingham evaded Sri Lanan army and Navy and Airforce to flee the country for medical treatment.

          You are quoting out of context. So what are you trying to prove ? the inefficiency of the Sri Lankan govt.

          You and Sinhala man and Sinhala politician wants to rewrite the and twist and hijack the truth.

          The link works for me. !
          The link will never work for you!

        • 12
          2

          I was present on that meeting De Silva. It was the Sinhalese police who fired the electric wire. First the final day meeting was supposed to happen in the Jaffna stadium but the Major of Jaffna Municipal council did not give permission on the orders of the Govt. Later the police inspector was promoted for doing that cowardly act.

          • 1
            5

            Ajith
            Go back and help fix the problems then instead of luxuriating in the West.

        • 0
          0

          Lie Lie Lie. – That is the national language of you know who.
          Have some courage to tell the truth at least once.
          Your quote a link – Mam it is a Sri Lankan link. Please believe them they don’t lie. Ok

      • 1
        13

        /*

        – A policeman deliberately shot at the electric wires that fell on the crowd.

        – All this because one prominent Sinhala Politician was jealous that Tamils have International Tamil Conference.

        */

        Don’t be delusional.

        • 12
          2

          “Don’t be delusional. “

          keep your head buried in the sand

        • 7
          1

          De Silva, the only expert on Sangam Literature

          A book was published containing various papers presented at the conference.

          At the conference a paper was presented by a retired principal of Panadura by the name of D D Nanayakara, titled Sinhala-Thamil Orrumai (Sinhala-Tamil unity).

          When you hear voices in your head please ask the voices to recite this paper.

        • 0
          0

          – A policeman deliberately shot at the electric wires that fell on the crowd.

          He must have been a crack shot to achieve it in all that melee.

      • 1
        0

        Rajash or Rajesh

        “Now there is a new war against the Tamils by the Sinhala people. Rewrite the Tamil history with lies and twist.”

        A Very good opportunity to re-write the Para-Sinhala, Para-Tamil and Other Para history in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, with data based on genetics and science, about the origin of the Paras from India.

        Let the Truth be known about the Paras, and bust the myths.

        Mitochondrial DNA history of Sri Lankan ethnic people: their relations within the island and with the Indian subcontinental populations

        Journal of Human Genetics (2014) 59, 28–36; doi:10.1038/jhg.2013.112; published online 7 November 2013

        Through a comparison with the mtDNA HVS-1 and part of HVS-2 of Indian database, both Tamils and Sinhalese clusters were affiliated with Indian subcontinent populations than Vedda people who are believed to be the native population of the island of Sri Lanka.

        http://www.nature.com/jhg/journal/v59/n1/full/jhg2013112a.html

    • 4
      1

      Not Sinhala Man
      I mean De Silva

    • 5
      1

      @ De Silva

      Why the hell you bring this 1974 Tamil research conference now ?
      Such conferences were held in Kuala Lumpur ,Paris ,Mauritius without any incidents .

      BTW do you know that Sinhalese police superindent who entered in the cowed unnecessarily which caused the deaths of many Tamils was promoted by racist PM Srimavo Bandaranayake?

      Why not describe burning Tamils alive and danced around him by your great grand father,grand father and your father from 1956 to 1983 .

      Even your name has no connection with this country and you comment here ,the right place for you is Portugal where people with your DNA are living got it?

      If you think Sinhalese can treat Tamils like slaves and can rule them by card board Sinhala army you are badly mistaken .

      Where were you till 2009 May ,hiding under bed hugging your wife?

      Can you slap Karuna who is walking in Colombo freely ? Do you have an ounce of guts to do this coward?

      Cheers

  • 7
    0

    [Edited out] what do you call the past regime? a democratic .non oppressive , non racist , non bigotry peoples government ?

  • 14
    3

    Oh no…. isnt this the better half of our famous Dr. J and fittingly she use the De Silva Jayathileka last name and curiously we know now its Mervin De Silva’s daughter in law. ( always had doubts of Dr. J have the same DNA as that famous scribe of yesteryear)

    That apart., its a shame this duo had to leave romantic Parisian life with free flow of cognac/Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes only after kicked out by the ex-royal pimp and baggage boy Sajja Vaas, not to worry Dr. J as not slapped in public and got a better accusation like cheated money on some building improvement work.

    Isnt it the ex-Raja also accused that Dr. J was a NGO dude in a BBQ interview? then this shameless soul went after the ex-Raja at the Nugegoda meeting and start the licking the back until now?

  • 11
    0

    ah I see the different angles the Jayatilleka’s are usingon behlaf on Mahida. Dayan has realised he is become too associated with the sinhala nationalist angle, so the wife is trying to make the same points without too much an ethnic slant. She doesn’t mention Sinhala once in the article.

    Both Jayatillekas seem to suffer from the same issue. They aren’t as clever as they think they are, and only Mahinda will give them a job when he is desperate for someone to bring some cliché political jargon in English (especially).

  • 13
    0

    Buy ‘ONE’
    Get ‘ONE’ Free

    She is following in her husband’s footsteps. What a fidelity!!!!

    • 4
      1

      love “Buy ‘ONE’ Get ‘ONE’ Free “

      No rather “passed shelf life” and expired “use by date”

      Chuck it in the bin

      • 3
        1

        why do you worry

        nowadays its 3 for the price of 2 within expiry date.
        Nothing like all 3 in one.

        The humbugs of buddhism are 3- wealth, fame and power.

  • 5
    0

    “Transitional Justice”

    Is this what you talk with him in your romantic moments? Oh boy! I would give anything to be a fly on the wall for this one!

    Anyway, you sound too smart to fall for a smart-patriot. Only God knows why women fall for some men. l’amour est aveugle. I suppose it’s true of all of us!

    • 3
      0

      “” Oh boy! I would give anything to be a fly on the wall for this one!”

      how slime fly’s.

      whats up? no orchids for miss violet??

  • 3
    1

    You want your land and home back back in the NE.
    Have some transitional justice instead.
    Its good for you!

  • 3
    1

    “” Tricks Or Treat? Transitional Justice For Postwar Sri Lanka “

    local is always been a joint `Trick`(Halloween 2016-Oct 31) for ethnic and faith – bumkin-sinhala-buddhist

    all minorities should await the american election on November 8 2016.

    the smallest minority is the individual and folk who don’t offer individual rights will never be the guardians of minority.

    it was `settler`liberal democrat President Harry Truman who partitioned and created the mess of the `picturesque island` and it was against Churchill’s will.

    If Trump wins he has promised (November 2015) to undo the spin.

    If Hillary wins you can be assured to have MR3 from MR2.

    Republican Hindu Congress the main funders of Trump Campaign.

  • 4
    1

    “Is Transitional Justice to do with accountability for alleged crimes committed during the last stages of a 30 year war? There are relevant mechanisms to deal with these issues. Does justice seeking and accountability for such alleged crimes necessarily bring into play “Transitional Justice”?

    Transitional justice consists of judicial and non-judicial measures implemented in order to redress legacies of human rights abuses. Such measures “include criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations programs, and various kinds of institutional reforms”.

    The answer to the question is:Yes, Justice and accountability seeking is very important at this juncture. It is not only for last 30 years war between LTTE and Sri Lanka but also the things happened 30 years for since independence and things happened after 2009 . It is a well known fact the democracy was misused and it was almost reached towards a near military dictatorships or totalitarian regime between 2009 and 2015. freedom of speeach was totally colapsed, rule of law was completely out and justice system was fully under control of a family decisions, parliamentarians were allowed to open their mouth just to say yes and raise their hands when they were ordered.
    In otherwords “dictatorship covered with the layer of democracy” similar to the “massacre of innocentcivilians covered with the layer of liberating people from Terrorism”. It is true that the regime was thrown away democratically with a “coup by the People of the Nation”.

  • 3
    1

    This shows as to how desperate the self-proclaimed political scientist is!

    He, Dayan De Silva, encouraged and egged on the post-war triumphalism; he supported the despicable despot MR who embezzled and looted the country while safeguarding the murders and thugs; made abysmal prediction that MR would rule for a foreseeable time; tried to cover up all the war crimes and war against humanity. He implicitly aids and abets to promote Sinhala supremacy. This guy has no shame at all; he now let loose his wife; how pathetic!

  • 1
    0

    “Sri Lanka has a history of two waves of mass murders of Sinhala youth with no accountability at all.- Thiru

    Yeap……….. past UNP regimes.
    Need to inform the AHRC’s Basil F’do who is working hard against past HR violations in Sri Lanka.

    • 4
      1

      Yeap……….. past UNP regimes.
      -thondamannay

      In 1971 its was Siri Mao who unleashed her hunting dogs on youth, she was the leader of SLFP.

      Between 2005 and 2010, it was MR who unleashed the satanic forces on civilians.

      In between MR championed human rights at Geneva.

      The self-confessed war monger Dayan took hypocrisy to a dizzying height when he attempted to defend unsuccessfully, Sri Lanka’s record on war crime and crime against humanity. Later his boss branded him as an NGO employee.

      Behind the scene Hindia and USA with the support of other countries seen pulling the strings.

      He was a fugitive in this island and a collaborator of Tamil Terrorism, but lived in Hindia for some time protecting his bump from JR’s mad dogs.

  • 4
    1

    [Edited out]
    It is a shame to distort the facts about the meeting and the intentional killing of innocent Tamils at the meeting.

    I was there at the meeting. It was an intentional act on the part of the Police. The police received the nod from their top brass to shoot the electric wires down killing these innocent Tamils.

    Later, during the Ealam war, this was referred to as a classic tactic used by the Sri Lanka’s ruling regime to nip any uprising. Therefore, don’t distort facts and spread blatant lies

  • 3
    0

    Dear Sanja De Silva Jayetilleka.
    ‘Sonja my love there will be songs to sing’
    Dr. Zhivago-The box office shattering film

    “It must surely be thought odd that I am even undertaking an effort to intervene here on a subject that requires comment by lawyers or political scientists”.
    Not at all .DJ loves you DJ motivates you –simple,

    When and who decided that what Sri Lanka needed in the post-war period was ‘Transitional Justice’? Where and on what basis did they decide that?
    I think in this case the majority in this country, and the diaspora together with the major part of the UN and all concerned decent folk around the world and all those NGOO around the world that normally get involved in such activity. The usual suspects

    “My other conversations with staff working for INGOs revealed that the dictatorship engaging in grave violations of human rights in previous decades, to an electoral democracy.” overseas funding was earmarked and plentiful for projects that involved Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka,”
    What’s wrong with that? There are many who earn an honest buck selling other people’s misfortunes.

    “My concern is that, from what I can gather from the literature, Transitional Justice is applied either when military dictatorships or totalitarian regimes are overthrown by people fighting for freedom and democracy or when civil wars draw to a negotiated end after a “hurting stalemate”. In the latter case, the full package of Transitional Justice is not invoked. Transitional Justice seems to apply mainly in times of radical political transformation from a non-democratic or authoritarian political system to a democratic political order, and not merely a more liberal political culture or style of governance.”
    Wrong again Sanja, what happened in South Africa? What happened in Chile? What happened in Timor Leste?

    “It is the same essentially democratic multiparty political order, before and after”.
    This assumption Sanja, is to put an Ass between U & Me. I Sri Lanka the change very clearly is from militaristic authoritarian govt. working with Army of impunity VS Yahapalanism, faulty but Yahapalanism nevertheless.
    .”” That government was eventually voted out of office under the same political order, without any preceding rupture in it or dissolution or overthrow of it. So that doesn’t seem to qualify.”
    Another of your lousy assumptions-There is a qualitative change in governance even though they have their quota of scumbags like Arjuna Mahendran &co.

    “Is Transitional Justice to do with accountability for alleged crimes committed during the last stages of a 30 year war? There are relevant mechanisms to deal with these issues. “
    There are many mechanisms to deal with this problem Sanja including TJ as Ajith puts it we can choose our package and also the sequencing as well but invariably we have to deal with all four pillars sooner or later. In my case I want to know the Truth .Because the truth shall make you free.So let us have the truth commission first. Accountability can come later.

    ‘Transitional Justice applied in Latin America where there was a transitioning from an authoritarian military
    That is in Latin America- but we are more interested in Asian and African experiences .TJ has taken place in many countries 68 to be exact!

    “What is significant about the term Transitional Justice?”
    It is a methodology my dear that has many variants as there have been countries.

    ,” we are logically made to believe that there was an earlier political order that was undemocratic as a system”—
    Yeah right! Damn right! Was not that the reality? Hello are we living in the same planet?

    “In addition, all the improvements to the system and process of Justice are made, and accountability for individual crimes committed are being addressed, under the same democratic order we’ve had for decades”.
    -So what’s the gripe Sanja –Hard times .We had worse times before –Please ask DJ to give the Kanatta story when he was disrobed very harshly at Denzils Aiyyas funeral.

    *This is why I was dismayed to hear our ambassador in Geneva thank the international community for their assistance with Transitional Justice. “
    Well we were happy and many decent people all over the world –the truth is nothing much will happen -only rhetoric if at all.
    So Sanja thanks for the attempt but you must be more fastidious in preparing the next pro Mahinda Chinthanaya spin attack.

  • 6
    2

    Like for many other concepts, it is true that there is no authoritative academic definition for ‘transitional justice.’ However, Ruti Teitel, that the author has quoted, gave initially a very narrow interpretation in her “Transitional Justice” (2000). More correctly, she underlined where the concept/practice became applied by that time. However, she published a new book “Globalizing Transitional Justice” in 2014 with an expanded scope where she said “a remarkable amount of experience and experimentation has by now occurred with transitional justice.”

    In 2004, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan gave a clear definition, perhaps the author unaware of, which is largely used by the UN organizations and many others. It means, according to that definition, “The full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempts to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses, in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation.” The definition also outlined necessary/possible mechanisms and processes.

    I have no hesitation to accept that ‘definition’ and the need for transitional justice considering that Sri Lanka has to come to terms with the legacy of large scale past abuses from all sides in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation.

    It is partially true that the transitional justice was applied in the past in countries where there was no democracy or there had been peace agreements after conflicts. The author appears to argue that Sri Lanka is not in that category because (1) there was democracy (?) and (2) there was a war victory. First one is only partially true and the second, may I say chauvinist!

    The call for justice, accountability and reconciliation has been long standing in this country. The formation of the Movement for Inter-Racial Justice and Equality (MIRJE) dates back to late 1970s. A major catalyst bringing a democratic change in 2015 was Ven. Sobitha Thero led the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ).

    If there is any partiality or imbalance in the application of transitional justice in Sri Lanka or any country, that has to be rectified. This is a task for the present government. Total rejection of transitional justice is a justification of past abuses from all sides.

    • 2
      1

      Well said DR LF.

      Jayatellikes are still consumed by triumphalism! seeking justice is the true form of finding peace. Sri Lanka must strive to seek justice and deliver justice to all sides. Only on this basis, peace can emerge.

    • 0
      0

      Good explanation Dr Laksiri Fernando.

      I hope Sanja will not entertain any more doubt as to what ‘transitional justice’ stands for.

      However Sri Lanka is not ready for ‘Transitional Justice’ just yet. The barbarians still rule the roost and is not going to be easily pacified.

    • 0
      0

      Can the apologist Dr LF elaborate why the so called “transitional justice” only applies to the last stages of war?

  • 1
    4

    UNHCR is a political organization manned by the West, particularly USA. Bedoin Prince is running the CIA agenda there. For them the “Transient Justice” is screwing up and making those countries sort of establishing the justice the way they want.

    Because of China and Indian Ocean being major sea traffic route important than the Atlantic route between Europe and america are concerns to the wanna be only super power. So Sri lanka is caught in that but Sri lankan Yahapalana leaders are LGBT members and their experience old economics theories, agriculture, lingerie design, and education in france in private schools.

    What they want is Sri lanka to be subjugated to their needs to get them to do what they want. there are lot of on going CIA projects in Sri lanka.

    Mahinda Rajapakse was stupid in not controlling his family members, extended family, and the cabinet. All ganged to steal the country.

    Otherwise, Mahinda rajapakse had a good foreing policy. Yahapalanaya foreign policy is athe same old policy of bending to the colonial masters.

    There are many small countries that does not care UN. Sri lanka also should curtail the relationship with UN.

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    Excellently written and very logical questioning.

    But the answer is already there…. “conversations with staff working for INGOs revealed that the overseas funding was earmarked and plentiful for projects that involved Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka, which does not make for the most conducive atmosphere for awkward questions of local applicability”.

    This is driven by the masters of those INGOs who fund them. It is aimed at converting Sri Lanka to a vassal state of Imperial powers. That is the “transition” sought. I feel sorry for SL ambassador who has to toe the line of his master’s of yahapalana and say stuff against his conscience. A reason I decided not to work in SL public sector long time ago.

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    Transitional Justice= Justice to get a govt that is Euro/uS centric.

    Milosevic exonerated:

    pundits have been telling us at every possible opportunity, that Milosevic (a democratically elected leader in a country where over 20 political parties freely operated) was an evil genocidal dictator who was to blame for ALL the deaths in the Balkans in the 1990s.

    Anyone who dared to challenge the NATO line was labeled a “Milosevic apologist”, or worse still, a “genocide denier”.

    “Eighty percent of the prosecution’s opening statements would have been dismissed by a British court as hearsay.”

    The lurid claims made by the US and its allies about genocide and hundreds of thousands being killed, catalogued by the great John Pilger here, had been shown to be false. In September 2001, a UN court officially held that there had been no genocide in Kosovo.

    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/354362-slobodan-milosevic-exonerated-us-nato/

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    Sanja what’s your point? That international law can’t be applied to criminals that are elected? What a bizarre concept.

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      Alex, can you please elaborate re applicable “international law” in SL case.

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    [Edited out]

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    I am no lawyer either, but I defer with the writer. I’ve studied it and actually ‘Transitional Justice is invoked amongst other, when genocide has been committed, amounting to mass atrocity crimes – whether the citizenry at large agrees with its government which committed the crimes (like the writer here) or not.

    As for what are ‘transitional justice issues’, the International Center for Transitional Justice is a good place to get some insights into what it really means: It lists Criminal Justice, Reparations, Truth and Memory, Institutional Reform, Gender Issues and Children and Youth as ‘transitional justice issues’ which for us are very critical for an honest peace and reconciliation process:

    Criminal Justice: The investigation and prosecution of international crimes—including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes—is a fundamental component of transitional justice.
    Reparations: Reparation initiatives seek to recognize and address the harms suffered by victims of human rights violations. They can be designed in many ways, and may include symbolic as well as financial or practical measures.
    Truth and Memory: Truth seeking initiatives can play a powerful role in documenting and acknowledging human rights violations. Memory initiatives also contribute to public understanding of past abuses.
    Institutional Reform: Institutional reform is the process of reviewing and restructuring state institutions so that they respect human rights, preserve the rule of law, and are accountable to their constituents.
    Gender Justice: ICTJ’s gender justice program seeks to promote truth, justice and accountability for gender-based human rights violations committed in the context of large-scale or systematic abuse.
    Children and Youth: Children and youth are seriously affected by gross human rights violations in conflict and under repressive regimes; transitional justice measures must uniquely consider and protect their rights.

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