War crimes allegations against Sri Lanka
Posted on March 1st, 2012

Herbert A. Aponso, Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics, University of Peradeniya-Courtesy The Island 

February 29, 2012, 7:34 pm


A protest against the US resolution against SriLanka to be moved at the UNHRC session now on in Geneva. (File photo)

The present situation regarding the alleged violation of human rights / war crimes has reached a crisis, and the time has come for the people of our country, of whatever complexion – political, religious, ethnic, etc “”…” to stand against the tyranny of the mighty. We are reminded of our bounden duty to do so as challenged by great men such as Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein. Mahathma Gandhi, and others

“We shall have to regret in this generation, not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked people, but for the appalling silence of the good people”””‚ Martin Luther King Jr

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men”””‚ Abraham Lincoln

It appears to us that the mighty countries seem to have double standards in their foreign affairs. We shall not refer to the ravages and war crimes of the past “”…” be it Hiroshima or the Holocaust, or similar brutalities; those were before the UN agreements on Human Rights and the civilised conduct of wars. However, one cannot forget the awful violations in recent times, be it in Iraq (where the collateral direct and indirect civilian casualties for the publicly proclaimed destruction of weapons of mass destruction that were never found, was enormous), Libya, or Afghanistan, which the whole world is well aware of ; these do not need to be further elaborated or reiterated..

It has been said that the Sri Lankan Military, in their final battle to liberate the country of a 30 year tyranny, have been guilty of killing innocent men, women and children, and that the armed forces had been ruthless in the treatment of those who were surrendering. Has one calculated the hundreds of thousands of the fleeing civilians who were protected and taken to safety during that assault when they were being used as human shields by their so-called protectors? Has every country that is accusing Sri Lanka of war crimes, critically and scientifically examined the veracity of the Channel 4 video, and such propaganda material?

Today, it can be said that the whole country, whether in the South or the North, is living without the fear of terrorist attacks. It cannot be denied that there may have been lapses on the part of the fighting forces, just as much as similar or worse incidents have occurred in those of “holier than thou” countries. Psychologists understand these behaviours which occur under severe emotional stresses. Would armed men burn the Holy Quran if they were in a sane moment? What is sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. And, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. ..

We believe that it is because the Government of Sri Lanka is concerned about any such mishaps and misdeeds that the LLRC was appointed. The logical conclusion is that the recommendations of the LLRC should be given sincere consideration. We further believe that other countries should also have Commissions similar to our LLRC, and restore a respected image of their country in the eyes of the whole world.

We should support the state to ensure that all people of Sri Lanka must have equal rights, irrespective of their class, creed or ethnicity, and no one should feel that he/she is a second class citizen. This is the urgent duty / responsibility of the Government.

Herbert A. Aponso,
Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics,
University of Peradeniya

4 Responses to “War crimes allegations against Sri Lanka”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    There is no need for RECONCILIAITON.

    What is needed is INTEGRATION.

    Rename the LLRC, LLIC.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    “RECONCILIATION” is the wrong word to use to apply to the post war rehabilitation and reconstruction phase in Sri Lanka. That word implies equal culpability on both sides. However, defeating a murderous terrorist movement is never viewed as a illegitimate action for which an elected government supported by the vast majority of its people, can be held “culpable”. Sri Lanka must NEVER apologize for defeating terrorists and rescuing its people from three decades of horror.

    Therefore, EXPUNGE the word RECONCILIATION with Eelamists from the GOSL Lexicon; REPLACE it with REHABILITATION of the innocent victims of war, and the RECONSTRUCTION of their societies and essential. INFRASTRUCTURE!

    Let us LAUNCH a campaign to convince the International Community why RECONCILIATION with Murderous Terrorists is NOT The WAY FORWARD, but is the surest way to insuring continued conflict in Sri Lanka.

    Instead, REHABILITATION, RECONSTRUCTION and REINTEGRATION of all peoples of Sri Lanka AGAIN into ONE Nation, of ONE People sharing ONE Destiny, free of communal divisions, and protected by one body of law, should be our National Goal.

  3. Ben_silva Says:

    Well said Prof. People need to stand up and protest against war crime allagations brought about by imperialists who have committed very serious crimes against the human race such as slavery, nuclear bombing, use of chemical weapons etc.

  4. LankaLover Says:

    Sri Lanka’s L.L.R.C. Report and U.K.’s “Bloody Sunday” Report
    By Albert J. Fernando, Canada
    Britain, out of the various Western countries, had taken a leading role in criticizing and condemning Sri Lanka for alleged human rights abuses, and alleged war crimes, including alleged shooting down unarmed civilians.
    Before the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (L.L.R.C.) was appointed, it asked Sri Lanka why there is no such inquiry panel appointed; but when it was appointed, London was worried that the Commission was taking a long time to complete the hearings and issuing the report. After the Report was issued, British Government, while thanking the Sri Lanka Government for making the report public, declared its concern that the findings are rather disappointing.
    L.L.R. Commission was appointed by Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse in May 2010 to look into the Eelam conflict that was prevalent in Sri Lanka from late 1970’s to 2009 and to make recommendations for healing and peace building. The 8-member Commission, chaired by former Attorney General C. R. De Silva, submitted its report to the President on November 15, 2011 and was issued to the public on December 16, 2011.
    The “Bloody Sunday” Report of United Kingdom
    It is relevant to compare the performance of the UK Government with regard to the “Bloody Sunday” inquiry and report. For readers who are not familiar with this subject, this is a massacre that took place on January 30, 1972, in Northern Ireland. There was a protest march by Catholic civilians against the suppression of human rights by the Protestant-dominated UK authorities. It took place in Derry neighbourhood of Bogside. Troops of the elite First Parachute Regiment soon descended on the peaceful march by Catholics and started firing at them, resulting in 14 deaths of Catholics. Some were shot as they were fleeing from the troops. That is why it came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.”
    A 3-member tribunal was appointed by the British Government to find out what exactly happened and to make suitable recommendations. The Chairman of the tribunal was Lord Saville, Justice of the Supreme Court of United Kingdom and hence the final document was referred to as “Saville Report.” However, it came to be popularly known as “Bloody Sunday Report.”
    Here’s great news for the British Government: Saville Tribunal was appointed only in 1998, 26 years after the Derry massacre! This is the Government trying to express concern about the sad situation in Sri Lanka!
    Hold on, there is more exciting news for British Government that showed much impatience that Sri Lanka’s L.L.R.C was taking a long time to complete the findings and issuing the report. For those bigwigs in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, let me remind you that L.L.R.C. heard evidence from hundreds of witnesses and issued the report in 18 months. On the other hand, the “Bloody Sunday” Report was issued only in June, 2010, that is 12 years later!
    Some findings of “Bloody Sunday” Report
    Here are some startling conclusions revealed in the “Bloody Sunday” Report:
    · “None of the casualties shot by soldiers of Support Company was armed with a firearm or (with the probable exception of Gerald Donaghey) a bomb of any description. None was posing any threat of causing death or serious injury. In no case was any warning given before the soldiers opened fire.”
    · The Report also said, “Many of the soldiers have knowingly put forward false accounts in order to justify their firings.”
    Col. Richard Kemp of the British Army responding to the Report said, “I think the actions we have heard described are like the actions of Nazi stormtroopers than British paratroopers.” (“Bloody Sunday soldiers acted like Nazi stormtroopers, says ex-Army Commander.” The Telegraph, June 16, 2010).
    So this is the very same UK Government that said, following the release of Sri Lanka’s L.L.R.C. report:
    “The British Government is, on the whole, disappointed, by the report’s findings and recommendations on accountability.” Alistair Burt, Minister with responsibility for Sri Lanka. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. January 12, 2012.
    “Bloody Sunday” or Saville Report was issued in 2010, 38 years after the massacre (1972) and 12 years after the Tribunal was set up (1998).
    What happened to the soldiers who shot unarmed civilians without giving even a warning? Your guess is as good as mine.

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