22 October, 2021

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What If The UN Had Spoken Out On Sri Lanka?

By Frances Harrison

Frances Harrison

If today the United Nations announced that it had received unconfirmed reports of 50,000 casualties in a war off limits to journalists – wouldn’t the world take notice and try and stop the killings? We now know the UN system had this information in 2009 about Sri Lanka and suppressed it. We know this because of an internal review, commissioned by the UN Secretary General, Ban ki Moon.

It’s a report that concludes that the UN’s conduct at the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka marked a “grave failure” that “should not happen again”. The document cites the UN’s role in Rwanda, saying some lessons there were not learned and proved relevant to Sri Lanka. Let’s hope they’re learned for Syria, but as the author of a book of survivors’ stories from that war in Sri Lanka I am haunted by the thought of what might have been there.

The document concludes that, “in Colombo many senior staff simply did not perceive the prevention of killing of civilians as their responsibility. That’s damning criticism but it’s the nature of how and why they did this that’s very hard to accept.

The UN removed the executive summary that was present in the draft version prepared by Charles Petrie. This said, “Some have argued many deaths could have been averted had the Security Council and the Secretariat, backed by the UN country team, spoken out loudly early on, notably by publicizing casualty numbers”.

Petrie’s report meticulously documents how senior UN officials continuously tried to blame the Tamil Tiger rebels – a proscribed terrorist group – for the killings even while their own international staff told them the Sri Lankan government was responsible for the majority of deaths. It was a bias that has slanted all coverage of the conflict since because it came from such an influential and reliable source – the UN no less.

On 9 March 2009 the UN did not share with a diplomatic briefing a casualty sheet their staff had prepared, “which showed that almost all the civilians casualties recorded by the UN had reportedly been killed by Government fire”. They also failed to mention that two thirds of the killings were taking place inside “safe zones” unilaterally declared by the government, purportedly to protect civilians. Three days later the UN Resident Coordinator in Colombo, Neil Buhne, and several under-secretary generals refused to stand by their own casualty data, claiming thei were not verified. Charles Petrie puts the best gloss on the suppressing of vital casualty information, saying rather euphemistically that the briefings “fail to address the reality” on the ground.

Then when the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, struggled to speak out about potential war crimes by the Sri Lankan government, internal communications in the annexes reveal Ban Ki Moon’s then chef de cabinet, Vijay Nambiar, strongly imploring her to tone down and dilute her statement. He even complained that her statement put the Tamil Tiger rebels and the government on the same footing. At this point Navi Pillay’s statement is quoting figures the UN knew were low – the draft version of this report mentions much higher unconfirmed reports at the time of 5,687 killed and 10,067 injured.

These were figures coming out of the war zone collected by Tamil doctors, priests, NGO workers and the UN’s local employees held hostage by the Tigers. The conflict was off limits to all independent observers so a few brave UN staff decided to set up a long distance data team in Colombo to try and corroborate the reports. They compiled casualty lists but only verified a death if there were three independent sources. The Petrie report says it was a rigorous methodology following best practice. In this way the UN confirmed nearly eight thousand civilian deaths before it became impossible in late April for people under heavy fire to get out of their bunkers and actually verify information.

Senior UN diplomats, still working in posts where they deal with conflict related issues, are cited in the report constantly trying to wriggle out of accepting the casualty data their own staff prepared, undermining it by questioning its reliability. Never mind that these figures were much more carefully checked than death tolls cited for Syria or Afghanistan. Or for that matter, the general death toll the UN always cites in official documents of 100,000 killed in Sri Lanka during the whole course of the war.

Buried in the end of the annexes of the Petrie report is startlingly new casualty information that UN staff received from informants in the field: unconfirmed reports of 17,810 killed and 36,905 injured during 2009. The UN team verified about half of these cases but knew their figure was an undercount.

Surely if the world had been told the scale of the killing at the time, international condemnation might have averted some of the deaths and abuses after the war. Subsequently a UN report has said reports of up to 40,000 civilians killed were credible. The Petrie report increases this to say 70,000 people could possibly have died in those final five months of hell.

That’s little comfort to the shattered broken survivors who watched friends and relatives die in agony, abandoned and betrayed by the international community. Starving, dirty and exhausted, they lived in ditches being pounded by multi barreled rocket fire, only getting out of flimsy shelters in the lulls in fire to bury the human body parts they found lying strewn around their tents to prevent the dogs eating them. Families were so desperate they prayed that if they were to die it would be quickly and all together; loving parents contemplated suicide with their children because they couldn’t see any chance of survival. By May 2009 people were forced to abandon their dead and injured just to save themselves, literally walking over corpses and dodging bullets. They emerged only to be detained in sub-standard internment camps, paid for and built by the United Nations and its donors.

The only way for the UN to set the record straight on Sri Lanka now is for Ban ki Moon to set up an international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka. It was the recommendation of a panel of experts he commissioned to write a report last year but the Secretary General hesitated to take such a step without strong international backing. We now know from this internal review that his own legal department advised him he had the power to do it, but backed off. After the revelations of this inquiry it’s an essential step to restore the UN’s tattered credibility on Sri Lanka. And it’s the very least Ban ki Moon owes the families of the tens of thousands of Tamil victims.

See this infographic chart showing what the UN knew in 2009 about casualty data and what it actually said in public. Read here

*Frances Harrison is a former BBC Correspondent in Sri Lanka and the author of Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War, published by Portobello Books (UK), House of Anansi (Canada) and Penguin ( India). This article is first published in huffingtonpost.co.uk

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    Can Frances Harrison report the death toll in Afganistan . Libya Iraq,and even Pakistan of drone arttacks .? If she cannot so this she better shut her mouth on SL death toll .Did she watch how Bin Laden was killed whe he was unarmed ? Did she watch how Gadaffi was killed . She must be having some kind of Amnesia .

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      Frances Harrison talks about Sri Lanka not about Afghanistan, Libya or Iraq. Those killed in Iraq or Afghanistan immediately comes in western media like BBC or CNN nothing is hidden.

      In Sri Lanka nothing comes out. The Srilankan government asked UN indirectly to exit from war zone (by threatening UN Staff that GOSL will not guarantee to the lives of UN Staff meaning SL Army would target them as well) and they shut the door for reporters, local and international, during the war and even after the war. The war was without any evidence. Reporters were not allowed to war zone even after the war because GOSL wanted to destroy all evidence.

      Sri Lanka itself boasts that it is a Buddhist country. Five precepts of buddhism are;

      1. Do not kill
      2. Do not steal
      3. Do not indulge in sexual misconduct
      4. Do not make false speech
      5. Do not take intoxicants

      In Sri Lanka top from the president to the laymen do not follow any of these precepts.

      Unfortunately you Kumudini also falls into that category by telling false lies.

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        Kabi I am asking questions , not telling lies as you have said . Western media does not count the dead in these war situations . I know that as I live in the west . WHO has told you that they have reported these figures .in which case you will know the figures So give us the total figure that is killed . if you know them clever clocks . You have emphasised the point I am tryinhg to make as Frances harrison is still counting the dead in SL but not in other countries . To-day Israel is attacking the gaza strip with heavy artillery ,WILL HARRISON please go there as well to count the dead .She has better MARKET for selling her book to the west with the UN , Tamil DIASPORA . iNGO’S NGO’S BACKING HER .

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          kumudini

          You again ask a stupid question:

          “WILL HARRISON please go there as well to count the dead”

          Where do you want her to report from, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq or Palestine? As a human being she can only be at one place at a time.

          Please make up your mind.

          There are other reporters already covering the story in Palestine for global media. Why do you think also she must cover it?

          Please note Frances Harrison is only a human being. Sh is not fitted with a flying machine on her bump.

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        The goverment did not threaten them but warned them they cannot guarantee their safety. This is not an intimidation , which has been iterpreted as an intimidation by interested persons with a different agenda. What if any of the journalists or the UN observers were killed ? WHO do you think the blame would go to? Marie colville was a victim of her own folly where she ventured into the danger Zone to be killed . Had she been in SL the finger would have been pointed at the Goverment by Frances Harrison . NGO”S INGO’s Western media , UN Tamil diaspora in fact half the world ! UN workers left for their own safety. Who would be foolish enough to risk thier lives in a war situation .

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          I impressed that government took utmost care on foreign citizens but not on on their own citizens. Whether during the war or after the war reporters had a free hand in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Libya but not in Sri Lanka.

          There was not much to hide in those countries as everything was coming on the media like BBC, CNN and Al-jazeera.

          The media in Sri Lanka and International was contiguously requesting GOSL to grant access to war zone during and after the war but that was denied. Everyone knows what was the reason except like you who have a different understanding on this matter. Not only media personnel but also the members of parliament (TNA & UNP were requesting access) were denied access to Manik Farm and other IDP camps… what were there to hide after war???

          As to the UN staff there were time to time no fire zones (but in reality they were firing targets of Govt.) They could have stayed inside that and seen what was happening.

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      kumudini

      as usual asks a stupid question of which she must be very proud of. He/She deserves pat onthe back:

      “Can Frances Harrison report the death toll in Afganistan . Libya Iraq,and even Pakistan of drone arttacks.?”

      Yes She can.

      “If she cannot so this she better shut her mouth on SL death toll”

      Please check “Drone attack in Pakistan” in google search and you are rest assured you will find approximately 11,700,000 reports. Yet you want Frances Harrison to report from Pakistan. What a waste of time and resources.

      You ask a stupid question again:

      “Did she watch how Gadaffi was killed.”

      Most who had access to TV would not have missed the killing of MR’s good friend Gaddafi. That was a warning shot for all dictators or aspiring ones at that.

      You say:

      “She must be having some kind of Amnesia.”

      Why do you think so?

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        To Native Vedda – Please check “srilanka war crime”
        About 13,400,000 results (0.22 seconds)..don’t make stupid remarks,you don’t even Know ..!!!??what “Report” Or “result”Is.

        gaddafi killing–Its show world new strategy ..without involving in the field(US/NATO Troops) .. supplying mass killing weapons & Ammunition to guerrilla,anti Gov groups Can beet up any Leader(All ready Demolished whole Libya by air-strikes) who against western power..and Ooo yes we can Show it on main stream media we can do..IT!!United nation’s we did it again!

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          Dulan Wijewardana

          Please bear with me because I am bit thick.

          From Tamils and Sinhalese I am learning how not to become a stupid, like them.

          What was your point?

          You naively say:

          “gaddafi killing–Its show world new strategy ..without involving in the field(US/NATO Troops) .. supplying mass killing weapons & Ammunition to guerrilla,anti Gov groups”

          This is not a new strategy.

          This is an old strategy tried and tested by the west(UK & USA) in many countries before, in Afghanistan, Iran, most of the African continent, South America, etc. Sometimes it works but most of the time it backfires.

          Whether old or new the price is paid by the innocent people and you would not give a damn about it since you are only concerned about the strategy than the people who continue to suffer as a consequence.

          Being stupid Tamils and Sinhalese don’t get it.

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      kumudini,
      It is you who has Amnesia.
      You are noted to submit comments in various blogs trying to defend this regime. Why are you worried about Afganistan, Lybia etc.. when your own country’s innocent citizens were butchered ??
      First give priority to your country, then if you can, do anything for the other countries please do so.
      Your comments along with some of you ilk always try to sidetrack the issue. This will not be taken seriously by decent honourable citizens of the world.

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        I am not defending anyone , Merely stating facts . YOu have verified what I said . These NGO’s INGO’s, Human rights gps all focus on SL. Why cannot they have an unbiased view of what is happening and taking place around the world . Why SL alone ? That is exactly my point . When so many atrocities are rampant in the world they pick on a tiny country they know they can bully and get away with it . They never ever take on powerful countries which commit more criminal acts . Have you heard what happened to Julian Assange . Have you ever heard about him who is now trapped in the equadorian embassy for speaking out ?

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          Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.-Thomas Jefferson.

          In Sri Lanka the regime killed its own people not foreign invaders. Isn’t it a crime against humanity??

          With Julian all’s well. He has always been like a camel when he is with his PC- engrossed for weeks.

          You never had seen the Yahoo threads supporting Julian and his cause for transparency so he has not been taken away. Meanwhile, the critics and similar brave men and women you mention are world wide- take a book and read some of them condemning Shrub, bLiar, Pukein, ChiCom.

          Freedom Force: Impotentes defendere libertatem non possunt, which is Latin for “Those without power cannot defend freedom”

          Similarly, how can there be sovereignty without responsibility??
          ;)

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      Different writers write about different countries. Just look up the newspapers or online.

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    UNSG needs to either confirm or deny this report by his staff on the ground. If does not the credibility of the entire UNO and its mission is at stake.

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    I am involved in managing a global business. I use estimating techniques very often in developing strategic business plans. Since our strategic business plans have been quite successfull in an extremely competitive environment, I tend to believe the statistical metholodies we use to base our assumptions to be quite accurate. But non of those take me to 40, 50, 70, and 150 thousand deaths those with vested interests quote when compared against numbers recorded by UN on the ground. It is regretable to see Frances Harrison jumping on to the bandwagon.

    The other point to note is, how did UN ground staff decided that all those 8,000+ killed during 2009 were civilians?

    Who decides whom to be independant to conduct an investigation when so called UN officials pluck numbers from thin air?

    This is a great geo political game which Frances too seems to be playing her part. As for us Sri Lankans, we paid the ultimate price to save our country from dismemberment. We feel the pain of that tragedy more than any outsider (I have enough such painful memories of seen bomb explosions and body part being collected by shovels including people very dear to me and I am lucky to survive). Therefore kindly request from the outsiders to let the country and it’s people to heel & reconcile in their own way.

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      hela;

      IN A WAR INOCENTS PEOPLE GET KILLED BY MISTAKE.
      BUT IN SRI LANKA [OUR HELADIVA], IT WAS NOT HAPPENED BY MISTAKE. THAT IS A SHAME. AND SURRENDERED PRISONERS AND CIVILIANS WERE KILLED AND STILL IT IS CONTINUING IN ALL OVER THE ISLAND.

      thOSE killings cannot be comparable to your so called global bushiness. this is a whole sale killing done by a president not elected by the people but came to power by hijacked election,
      so now on pl do a business of global killing as per a your strategic plan.
      you can get more advise from secretary to defense,
      if you do not have required qualifications,
      because he got a doctorate for that.
      IT IS ASHAMED THAT, YOU USED HELA NAME IN YOUR REPLY AS REAL HELAYO ARE NOT COWARDS LIKE PRESENT RULERS.
      [MALBARI DECENDANTS]
      MAY BE SOME BODY PAYED YOU TO WRITE LIKE THIS.
      YOU SAY THAT;
      YOU have enough such painful memories of seen bomb explosions and body part being collected by shovels including people very dear to me and I am lucky to survive).
      hela.
      you have only painful memories, but we have experiences and near misses, because we live there and scarified most of our lives to save our country.
      so think what is more painful.
      as real Buddhist helas, we feel ashamed of you and your patrons.
      because we feel how other sufferings, but not you and your suckers.
      do not cry croc tears.

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        Amare,

        I am not sure whether you are from the South. The deep South at that. Because they are generally logical and don’t stand on their tails or run around mulberry bushes without addressing the points raised.

        So please re-read what I wrote earlier. Doesn’t matter even 10 times so that your small mind comprehend it. Then we may have a productive discussion.

        Fyi, I have seen and experienced the carnage. I have been to conflict areas to help the sufferers even when authorities warned us not to go and declined to provide security. I have worked as a volunteer for over 1 year from July’83 helping the affected in true Hela spirit. So don’t talk BS with me. Let’s focus on the issue raised, i.e. the numbers game of Frances et al.

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          deep south or deep north is not the point to worry about,
          what is the reality.can you consider about that.
          but this business of killing of our own people wantonly.
          humans are not like strategically planed business materials to kill and deliver like Taliban and Al Qaeda’s doing.
          first instant government got it wrong. so what about all those yankies. THE rulers gave the opportunity
          to manipulate all those numbers and they forgot that the people of this country is the first wealth and resource to protected..
          so better tell your rulers to get somebody who know about statistics properly. not like gilmart samarasingha.
          IT IS PITY THAT WE LOST HON LAKSHMAN KADIRAGAMAR.

          my thinking is,that we have to clean up our dirt and blood first. but are not you aware of what is happening around your society?.

          YOU SAID;
          ” I have worked as a volunteer for over 1 year from July’83 helping the affected in true Hela spirit. So don’t talk BS with me”.
          DO YOU THINK THAT IS ENOUGH TO GET YOUR SO CALLED SEEN AND EXPERIENCED OF CONFLICT AND CARNAGE?.
          NEXt TIME TRY MORE YEARS.

          I AM TELLING THIS, BECAUSE STILL WE SUFFERING THERE SINCE 1978 FOR ABOUT 35 YEARS.
          SO MY FRIEND,
          YOU DO NOT TRY TO TALK B S WITH ME.

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      Hela

      Is your second name stupid?

      “The other point to note is, how did UN ground staff decided that all those 8,000+ killed during 2009 were civilians?”

      The UN had updated the figure to at least 40,000 some time ago. Where you have been when this happened? Even government mouth piece Rajiva accepted the figure of 7,000 on BBC TV show Hardtalk.

      You may be blessed with managing a global business but as a Sinhalese you are biased and cannot see beyond your nose.

      You naively ask:

      “Who decides whom to be independant to conduct an investigation when so called UN officials pluck numbers from thin air?”

      Remember there are spies in the sky. First let the Sri Lankan brutal state decide in principle that it is indeed better to have an independent investigation, then we will suggest the names of those investigators.

      You say:

      “As for us Sri Lankans, we paid the ultimate price to save our country from dismemberment.”

      You didn’t save your country, but it was the International Community whose concerted effort brought the war to a conclusion. You would find it boringly difficult to accept the fact that it was Sri Lankan state constructs and it stupid Sinhala/Buddhist policies which led to the war in the first place.

      You say:

      “We feel the pain of that tragedy more than any outsider”

      Of course as an outsider to those who were killed by the state in the final war in 2009 you could not have felt the pain of that tragedy, because the entire Sinhala/Buddhist nation is in denial.

      You say with the usual Sinhala/Buddhist mindset:

      “Therefore kindly request from the outsiders to let the country and it’s people to heel & reconcile in their own way”

      Please note

      if there is no truth then there is no heeling nor reconciliation.

      Your whole comment is all about you and not about the people who lost everything in the war. Hence I would be surprised if heeling and reconciliation ever take place.

      Please do continue your estimating techniques in developing strategic business plans and leave the people alone.

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    Frances,the world needs more fearless journalists like you. Some fools may ask you to shut your mouth,and you may shut- I mean literally- while writing, but open it when you have to have your say! The truth hurts only those with a guilty conscience!

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      Yes Saman. Frances has just upped the total deaths a wee bit by 10,000. Excellent and fearless no? Can she update the graph on her attachment for ordinary folk like us to understand? The math we learned at A/L doesn’t give a clue.

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        Hela the stupid says:

        “Frances has just upped the total deaths a wee bit by 10,000”

        This is what she said above:

        “Or for that matter, the general death toll the UN always cites in official documents of 100,000 killed in Sri Lanka during the whole course of the war.”

        So Hela the stupid

        tell me how many civilian did the armed forces kill in the final stages of war? Zero casualty perhaps?

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          CORRECT

          GOVERNMENT SAYS OUR HEROES FOUGHT WITH GUN IN ONE HAND AND GENEVA CONVENTION COPY IN THE OTHER HAND.

          I AM VERY PROUD, FEEL LUCKY THAT THE DEFENSE MINISTRY DID NOT GIVE THEM
          COPIES OF ABIHIDHARAMA OR DHAMMAPADA TO CARRY ON THEIR HAND, INSTEED OF THE COPY OF GENEVA CONVENTION

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        Hela,
        So your education is limited to A-Level!
        No wonder.
        Never mind the exact nmber of deaths, still many innocent cilians- women, children and elderly- were killed, in a premeditated war.
        MR had an agenda to be a king? and rule the country with his family.
        The first thing he did was to bribe VP to prevent Tamils voting in the election and even then he won only with a narrow margin of votes.
        He lured opposition MPs to cross over, promissng Cabinet posts and other perks. By this he got 2/3rd majority in parliament and passed
        18th Amendment to the Costitution in a hurry (as an urgent Bill).
        He was helped by the former CJ-Saratn Silva (allowing MPs cross over after being elected), and even by the present CJ -Shirani in passing the Bill (18th Amndt). Thus MR has now become a “KING”.

        Even after 3 years of ending the war, the Tamils in North East are
        controlled by the Military, and some killings, disappearences, white van operations are going on now, not only for Tamils but to independent journalists and any body who does not toe his line.
        He has some clowns in the Cabinet- like Mervin, Wimal and even an ex- Ltte colonel- Karuna, to do his dirty works.
        Where in the world any country has 101 Ministers?, and see how much money is wasted for his pet projects-Hambathota harbour, port, stadium
        etc..while the masses are suffering.

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          Mohammed what you have stated is the stark truth.

          I agree with you .

          I am glad that there is at least one other person

          who thinks like me!

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    UN could not have stopped the killings of thousands of innocent Tamils without the political/military assistance of the international community (US,UK,Australia,NATO,India etc). We saw genuine assistance forthcoming from IC in Serbia/Kosovo,Iraq,Libya,Syria,Rwanda,Afghanistan, East Timor etc.The IC knew what was going on Sri Lanka. They just did not help.

    The reasons for the failure are political machinations that went behind the scenes.

    However,now there are attempts to cover up those political machinations and find “fault” with the “UN”. If the UN could have done what the IC wanted in Serbia/Kosovo,Iraq,Libya,Syria,Rwanda,Afghanistan, East Timor,Sudan etc, the question needs to be raised why wasn’t it the case in Sri Lanka? The UN knew what and how it should have been done.

    Anyway, I support the interventionist theory. Now that the IC “cannot fall again into the trap” set up by the backward Sinhala Buddhist/fascist rulers in Sri Lanka.

    The IC must put into action their next strategy as they did for Yugoslavia with ICTY and Rwanda with ICTY. In that regard the campaign by the likes of Frances Harrison, Gordon Weiss, concerned jurists in Australia etc are extremely important and must be supported.

    The ICTY/ICTR type tribunal for Sri Lanka (which they can call the “International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Sri Lanka” – ICTSL)can have jurisdiction over four categories of crime: (1) grave breaches of the Geneva conventions, (2) violations of the laws or customs of war, (3) genocide, and (4) crimes against humanity.

    In Rwanda,the IC/UN recognized that crimes against humanity do not necessarily involve a “nexus to armed conflict” and took into account legislation specifically enacted by the Rwandan government, the statute of the ICTR limited the jurisdiction of the tribunal to Rwandan leaders, while lower-level defendants were to be tried in domestic courts. I

    There should be an independent judiciary in Sri Lanka for them to try junior military commanders in Sri Lanka. That is why the impeachment against CJ has to be rejected by the IC and the UN must demand Sri Lanka have those types of laws.

    Again the new report shows that things will happen and it’s just matter of time. I am happy.

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    first came the 6000 claim. It didnt work.
    Then came the 10,000 claim. That didnt work either
    Then 15,000 still no joy.
    The Times then came up with 20,000. Assuming 1000 a died a day during the last 2 weeks. The Tamil Nationalist jumped for joy. “Maybe this will clinch it” he thought. But again was dissapointed.
    Then out of a hat came 40,000 which has now been doing the rounds. Results are yet to be seen.
    This lady has hopefully pushed it up even further to 50,000. So please friends use this figure in your future posts. With some luck maybe it will stick.. and there will be a great victory at the UNHRC meeting.
    That is unless you want to go with His Reverence Bishop Rayappu’s rather fancifull claim of 140,000.

    Of course this is all the result of a classic own-goal by Athigaru MARA’s govt. If there wasn’t an attempt to conceal the casualty figures at the end of the war and independent foreign reporters and the UN was allowed into the battleground, a more realistic accounting could have taken place. But they made every effort to conceal the true number of dead, wounded and limbless in their effort to propagate the lie of zero civilian casualties.

    However, it is still possible to conduct a statistical accounting of the number of dead and permanantly maimed. The number of amputees I have heard reliably is close to 4000, from shelling as well as from landmines. If the shelling victims can be identified empirical methods can be used to arrive at a plausible ratio of maimed to dead. Another way is to conduct an extensive survey. This should ideally have been done while the IDPs were in the camps. It is a lot more difficult now as they are widely dispersed. Again the govt is to blame and the UN for not forcing the govt to accept a UN imposed accounting process. A rough idea can also be gained by perhaps selecting 10,000 former IDPs and ascertaining the number of immediate family members killed and extrapolate for the whole IDP population. It is important that an independant body conducts the survey. Certainly not the govt but perhaps the UN.

    Just for comparrison, Only 500 people died in the German bombing of Coventry where the entire city was levelled after being bombed by several waves of bombers each comprising over 1000 heavy bombers.

    An estimated 20,000 lost their lives in Dresden when the Allies firebombed the city again with over a 1000 heavy bombers flying day and night.

    Sri Lanka had about 6 tactical (not heavy) bombers and 40 artillery pieces (according to Jane’s assessment). – Although most military men will confide that the final coastal strip was shelled strategically, but never bombed from the air. Perhaps that might also give an indicator to the number of possible casualties. If the number of shells fired is known.

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      Dingiri,
      Dont you know sinhala budhist army, cold blooded murderers. Dont defend your evil army. we tamils suffering from these killers long before ltte.

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    By the way, I also like the timing of the renewed campaign for war crimes prosecution in Sri Lanka in the background where the IC/UN is throwing full backing to Israeli government in countering the double war crimes committed by the backward and religious Hamas war criminals.

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    Well don Francis Harrison

    You conclusion is the best way forward.

    The only way for the UN to set the record straight on Sri Lanka now is for Ban ki Moon to set up an international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka.

    If Bani-Ki Moon fails to do this, Human Rights Council in March 2013 will do the needfull.

    Sri Lanka get ready to slander those who do not support your killings.

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      This is the game John. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Frances is playing her part. She may have personal reasons too like avenging the death of her buddies like Nadesan.

      But what happens on the ground will determine the ultimate outcome. Everyone under estimate the psyche evolved through 2,000+ years of resistence and defence of motherland and the pride of building a unique civilisation.

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    Words, Words, Word!
    Reports, Reports, Reports!
    Commissions, Commissions, Commissions!
    Nothing Constructive.
    UN, NGOs, Aid Agencies, etc., etc., Wake Up.

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    “What If The UN Had Spoken Out On Sri Lanka?” My answer to you lady…[Edited out]. The LTTE killed over 100,000 civilians UN did nothing. Now why not talk about how your country, the British, have killed 500,000 Iraqis, 125,000 Afghans and 60,000 Libyans. Your former prime minister is declared a war criminal by your own government and did UN speak out about those crimes. No. Look at what is happening in Gaza, does UN talk about that. No. UN is controlled by the imperialists. You keep talking about Sri Lanka so that LTTE will pay you.

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    Well done Francis Harrison. People of your kind will keep humanity
    alive despite everything that the Regime did to carry out a war-
    without-witnesses – the first of the kind in the world?

    The next logical action must be THE RESIGNATION OF UNSG MR. B-K-MOON.

    He remaining in his seat will not serve the principles of the UN
    any more. I hope he is a honorable man and will bow out letting
    his sucessor proceed with the International demand for a the
    investigation into the death of 8000 to 400000+ souls in just
    a couple of months which he was a responsible party to cover-up.

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    Thanks Frances Harrison,

    Continue your good work!

    I feel sorry and angry about for our own intellectuals who shed buckets of tears for the 18A,violent acts against the judiciary and the impeachment of the Chief Justice are silent about the murder of the innocents just because they happened to the defenseless minorities.

    Even after May 2009, the genocide continues in different forms-cultural and structural genocide

    This campaign should be relentlessly pursued until all the criminals are brought ubder the law.

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      SRIKRISHNA.

      Well said, Having read through all comments made by intellectuals I cannot understand all this abuse and mudslinging. Dont you think it would serve amuch better service for the country if everyone worked togeather to stamp out all the corrupt Politician and bring the country back into a free decent democracy by people power. Sri Lanka is not the country I knew from 1970. I have to say no one is above the law not even the ruling President of the country, and its up to the people who elected them to bring them down.

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    Nice to hear the Sinhala hardliners come out against imperialism when ever they have a finger pointing at them!

    Will the modayas ever learn that they are the real fascists after the Nazi’s?

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    Either Frances is extremely stupid, ignorant or suffers from serious memory loss. To her question, “What If The UN Had Spoken Out On Sri Lanka?”, the answer is obvious. It wouldn’t have many any difference whatsoever.

    We all knew that this war would be fought to the death. Fat Boy ensured that as many Tamil civilians as possible would be killed in the final Götterdämmerung.

    As alway, DBS predicted the end in March 2009.

    “The stalemate is simply this.

    The LTTE wants a ceasefire for the ostensible purpose of ensuring civilian safety and security. It would be easier to do that by evacuating the civilians but the tigers will not agree because if the people go the tigers are vulnerable.

    When the LTTE and pro-tiger lobby calls for a ceasefire the international community counters it by saying-let’s have a temporary one to get the people out.

    To this the LTTE wont agree. If there’s a permanent ceasefire there is no need to evacuate the civilians is the counter argument.

    The Government too is wary about a truce as it sees itself on the verge of winning the conventional war. Colombo does not want the LTTE to wriggle out through a ceasefire permanent or temporary.

    If one were to dispense with the “concern” displayed for entrapped civilians and appraise the situation realistically what Colombo and the International community are asking the tigers to do is to commit politico-military “hara-kiri”.

    Given the track record of the LTTE it is impossible that the organization would do so. For that matter no entity in the world is likely to let itself be led to the slaughter willingly.

    If necessary the LTTE will go down fighting to the very end and also take down a large number of civilians with them. But they wont let the people go.

    As for the government, the Rajapakse regime will not be concerned of civilian life and limb if firmly resolved to capture the remaining LTTE territory. Eggs have to be cracked to make an omelette. The situation has steadily deteriorated. Civilians are dying or getting injured on a daily basis. The worst is yet to come.

    If and when Colombo decides to end the current “stand-off” state of affairs and embark on an all out, no-holds barred offensive to capture what remains of tiger territory, the LTTE is also likely to offer determined resistance.

    In such an environment there is very likely to be large scale civilian casualties. That would be a humanitarian catastrophe of gigantic proportions. In a worst-case scenario around 15,000 civilians at least could die during the military push. I fervently hope and pray that such a situation will not come to pass.”
    http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/235

    The situation he predicted came to pass. The responsibility for large scale civilian deaths lies at the hands of the LTTE and their supporters and funders.

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      Mango, ICTY has just accepted that Croatian generals (who were accused of war crimes in Balkan war) are entitled to the “just war” defence meaning they carried out the acts of violence for liberation of their nation. In my view, LTTE is entitled to claim this defence as will be done by the other nations in future including liberation struggles assisted by the IC/UN.

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        Dear Loka,
        This is an excellent defence. Let the remaining LTTE leaders throw themselves at the mercy of the ICC in Hague. The Croatian Generals who are representatives of an existing country (i.e. Croatia). The LTTE generals are the representatives of an non-existent country, so should be easily arrested and sent to trial.
        I’m disappointed that int’l HR groups aren’t chasing after the West-based LTTE leaders for their complicity in war crimes.

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      Mango

      Remember VP (the Fat Boy) was India’s baby born out of Sinhala/Buddhist chauvinism.

      Where is Prabaharan’s wife?

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        Veddha,
        Like a stuck record, you keep the same question about the whereabouts of dead LTTE leaders’ wives, most of whom are also dead. Have you got some sort of hidden desire for them ?

        The only surviving wife is Soosai’s wife, who’s living somewhere in Trinco. If you’ve got the hots for her, go there and meet her.

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      • The following was stated over Tamil 24 hr radios in Australia for banned and censored long before it was committed to writing on August 13th, 2007 at 12:33 pm, in DBSJ’s Tamil week website that still continues.

      Paradise Gained and Lost: The Indo-Lanka Accord and Tamils
      August 10th, 2007 By D.B.S. Jeyaraj
      “Nallathor Veenai Seithe – athai
      Nalangkedap Puluthiyil Erivathundo?”
      • 75. Mahul.C.Spencer | August 13th, 2007 at 12:33 pm
      Even though I had known Thilai Jeyakumar (TJ) since the 80?s I did not get involved with the TCC (LTTE) until 93 when I wanted answers to questions of financial misdoings by the Melb-TCC raised in a pamphlet by one Chandraguptha. TJ wanted and gave me to play a larger role but was edged out by one Murgesu Paramanathan (who was brought into the TCC inner circle by me through my friendship with TJ). Since the 2002 LTTE-GOSL peace talks began under the guidance of their “Mathi Urangnar” AB I have told the listeners of a 24 hour Narrow Area Service (1/8 FM bandwidth) Tamil Radio that Sadham Hussein ’s fates awaits the ?thesiathalivar? (VP) once India and the GOSL have had enough use of him.

      It is a happy coincidence and am grateful for your having given written expression most my spoken words over two 24 hr Tamil Radio stations with great difficulties in being censored, censured, insulted and humiliated by derogatory remarks aimed personally at me (for being a 63 year old single celibate) and being drowned and garbled by a voice over and at times being abruptly disconnected from the air.
      I was unaware of this article and its reader’s responses when I took part last weekend during their talk back sessions. .
      I am now questioning the usefulness of my participations in these Tamil radios.

      As a way out of our quagmire, I have suggested over these radios that VP step aside or be an adviser below the radar whilst apologising to Sonia and the GOI along with requesting help to save the Tamils from yet another unprecedented bloodbath for prejudices, ignorance stupidity and lack of knowledge of both regional and international geo-political realities.

      Even if Sonia and the GOI do nothing, still it will serve to salve VP’s his family and our consciences’ for acting more horribly than some animals that tend to demonstrate greater altruism and gratitude than what AB, VP and some Tamils & Singhalese have shown to-date.
      • 84. Mahulchandran (Mal). C.Spencer | August 14th, 2007 at 11:56 am

      Based on this presentation, Jane’s Intelligence Review and your other analytical articles dealing with the laterally inverted mirror image of the roots of the people of India and SriLanka. It appears that the LTTE and VP like some other non grassroots people’s movements has lost its original vision and mission of claiming to be solely freedom fighters and is today having more in common (partly due to the film idol MGR being made to misidentify himself with VP) with the not dissimilar beginnings and functions of the then Sicilian (Clannish) Mafia that still exists in other metamorphosed forms in other countries. So too will the LTTE vested interests change for its dependents for monetary and other benefits.

      As it happens the messenger/s may be shot for the unwelcome retaliatory violent messages but consequent and subsequent happenings do try to find a compromise solution to redress and address the causes of the contentions. Hence with and/or without the LTTE, the long overdue matters too will have to come to some form of conclusion (though transitory) hopefully in the not too distant future.
      MCS

      • 86. Mahulchandran (Mal). C.Spencer | August 15th, 2007 at 12:35 am
      Based on this thoroughly well thought out presentation, Janes Intelligence Review, yours and over the years others like Adrian Wijeyamane and Brian Seniviratne’s analytical and insightful writings and articles dealing with the laterally inverted mirror image of the roots of the people of India and SriLankan. And also from my personal experiences with them since 93, the two so-called Tamil Radio stations that suppress any non pro LTTE thoughts and comments but use it mainly to propagandise (through news, interviews and talk back) false and unrealistic hopes for a Tamil Elam that seems to be around the corner now for well over two generations.

      It appears that the LTTE and VP like some other still realistically non grassroots people’s movements have lost their original vision and mission of claiming to be solely freedom fighters and are today having more in common (partly due to the film idol MGR being mislead to misidentify himself with VP) with the not dissimilar beginnings, spreading and functions of the then Sicilian (Clannish) Mafia that still exists in other metamorphosed forms in other countries. So too will the LTTE vested interests change for its dependents for financial profit and other personal benefits.

      As it happens the messenger/s may be shot for all the unwelcome retaliatory violent messages brought about primarily by self serving British, Indian, Chauvinistic both Singhalese and Tamil politicians to date. Yet historically consequent and subsequent happenings do try to find a compromise solution to redress and address the causes of the basic contentions. Hence with or without the LTTE, the long outstanding and overdue matters too will have to come to some form of conclusion (however transitory like in the recent Eritrean history) hopefully in the near future.

      I will send to your e-mail address some of my past behind the scenes correspondences to substantiate some the statements I have made in these two responses.• mcs

      91. Mahulchandran (Mal). C.Spencer | August 15th, 2007 at 11:16 pm
      the following quote from George Orwell as is applicable in all it’s roots to all the players.

      “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”
      -George Orwell

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    What if BBC had taken steps to protect children, who were victimized its employees? Shouldn’t Ms Harris writes about this as well. The British House of Commons is probing the BBC’s handling of the charges against Jimmy Saville,along with the London Metropolitan Police, with two arrests already made, and many more likely. The BBC has been too careless about these child-molesters and who knows how many more are there as reporters working in other countries. The crisis has grown so big, especially about the BBC’s and the flagship Newsnight’s own credibility, leading to the recent resignation of BBC Director General George Entwistle, amid tough questions over the network’s handling of an escalating child sex abuse scandal. I am looking forward to reading some investigative reporting from Ms Harris and other journalist of this news organization which must be accountable to those innocent children who had been victimized by the BBC employees.

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      You see house of commons investigating, metropolitan police investigating and everything comes in media. One day justice prevails in this country UK.

      Think about your country Sri Lanka, will any news come out even if 1000s die? will people get proper justice?

      How one can talk about UK which much better than our banana republic where;

      a person who ties a man in front of camera function as a minister
      a person who threatens a magistrate is a minister
      a person who speak filthy to a reporter is a defense Secretary
      almost all of the member of parliament are corrupt

      while having all these in your country you dare to talk about a country which is million times better than Sri Lanka.

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        Kabi,
        All excellent points. The UK is indeed a law-abiding paradise compared to SL. Yet, I’ve yet to see any official GoSL advice to the UK’s on resolving its internal matters, or its constant war-mongering in the Middle East. Yet the UK always feels the need demand, threaten, advice and cajole its former colonial possession. Why do you think this is?

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          Because they think we are yet ‘Natives’ , while they have become more ‘Exotic’ , despite losing their empire and their industries. They have right to feel exotic because they yet uphold democracy. We, the natives ( the ‘Gamayas’) have of course not learned to be democratic yet, despite monkeying them in many other worthless aspects of our lives.

          Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

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    Yes thats correct UN must set up an Investigation Commission to find out the truth and punish those responsible for the murders,rape,abduction,sexual abuses,mass murders and so on.The whole problem is no country or even UN is not interested in our problem,that is anything related to tamils,merely because Tamils dont have a Government or country of their own and their masters sinhalese and Aryans tell the UN and other countries tamils come under them and dont interfere with them.So instead of talking about investigation and so on,Help the Tamils to get back the Tamil Kingdom taken over by the sinhalese in 1940s.That kingdom will deal with these things.

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    Francis is a [Edited out]
    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    http://colombotelegraph.com/comments-policy/

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    The question that should be asked is: why the UN didn’t speak out? Do you think that Rajapaksa asked the Chinese to buy out the entire international community? Come on. The West and consequentely the UN dind’t intervene because they had vested interests, from the Indian side and also from other countries, the UK in particular. We are juggling figures in an empty debate because the facts are clear: a carnage of civilians. And at present the international community has no interest bring accountability and justice. Maybe it’s convenient in the short term, but we are selling out other future tragedy that could be avoided.

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    Frances is syncronised & blinkered for a purpose so that she is unable to observe, hear or see anything that is happening around us.

    Marie Colvin… [Edited out]
    BBC… thats hilarious. Phaedeophiling taking place within its premises during the same time they were distorting facts on Sri Lanka.

    AS FOR HARRISON,SHE IS WHITE & WEST… OH’ BETTER WE LISTEN TO THEM. WHAT THE WHITES FROM THE WEST SAY WE NEED TO BELIEVE.
    WE NEED TO BELIEVE WHAT THEY SAY & WRITE NOT WHAT WE HEAR AND SEE.

    But this what Emil sais. when they were armed with bows and arrowsand wearing donned in animal skins hunting, our queens & concubines were draped in Silks & Gold living in places.

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    Frances says //The only way for the UN to set the record straight on Sri Lanka now is for Ban ki Moon to set up an international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka.//

    Great ! Let Ban set up an International investigation whatever :)

    Who’s gonna to give visas to [Edited out] to visit here ? Frances ??? :D

    Anyway same fate that befell on Darusman Panel will fall on any investigative body.
    It would be quite useless. They will produce a voluminous report that no one will take seriously.

    TGTE will fatten its kitty from donations from gullible Tamils doing menial jobs in the West , western politicians will get a few more votes. But that’s it.
    Remember now even US President Obama wants to have good relations with Myanmar in USA’s race against Chinese influence.

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      Brian de Bois Guilbert,
      What are you trying to say:
      “Remember now even US President Obama wants to have good relations
      with Myanmar in USA’s race against Chinese influence”.
      You mean to say we are safe against all acusations of war crimes as long as we are friendly with China?
      What is the cost to our future generations, who will have to settle
      the loans obtained from China, which was really wasted on unwanted projects like Hambanthota Harbour, Airport, Stadium, Super Highways
      etc.. at the expence of our poor citizens who cannot have even two meals a day?
      This regime will always invent some distraction for the masses, and play on racial hate of Tamils, since the villager does not understand
      what the regime is upto.

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    Reply to Frances Harrison/ [Edited out]

    @Charles, please write here and shouldn’t post links. Part of this comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    http://colombotelegraph.com/comments-policy/

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