‘The wise give up the idea of victory and defeat’ Response to Friday Forum
Posted on April 20th, 2012

By Gamini Gunawardane Courtesy The Island

April 19, 2012, 7:16 pm

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By Gamini Gunawardane

As much as the Friday Forum had articulated their point of view in their article titled The wise give up the idea of victory and defeat” published in “ƒ”¹…”The Island’ of 16th March I believe other mortals who are not in that forum too have room to express their views on some of the matters stated therein. After all, Friday Forum’s could not be the last word on this matter as much as mine could not be either. Hence this attempt.

LLRC

The LLRC was appointed by the President of this Country to advise him on certain matters pertaining to armed conflict that was concluded in mid May 2009, a conflict that raged over 30 years. I believe the LLRC was required, by and large, to analyse the problem and make recommendations that may help preventing recurrence of such a situation and also measures desirable towards reconciliation. They were asked to make recommendations to HIM (President) and not to the UNHRC or to any one else. But the President Rajapaksa presented this report in Parliament. It was not sent to any one else as far we know, not to the UNHRC or to the prime mover of this contentious Resolution, the US government. It is this report that the UNHRC unseen by them that is required to be implemented. How come? It is unlikely that the contents of this Report was studied by those who voted for, abstained or voted against it. Again how come that they exercised their vote on something that they did not know?

The LLRC Report was presented in Parliament only in mid November. Notice that this Resolution was to be presented was given, in 2012 February. Why did the countries that voted for the Resolution assume within 3 months, that the President will not be implementing it, when in fact in the same month he had declared that he would implement it? Is it because the Cabinet appointed IAAC for the implementation of the interim recommendations of the LLRC proved to be unproductive? It is for that Committee to explain why they failed in their mission. As far as the government is concerned it is clear that they intended to implement them. Hence on what grounds did the mover of this Resolution and those who voted for it assume that the President’s intention was not to implement it, to think that he needed to be pushed by the UNHRC? If on the other hand, the government had done nothing after at least an year such a push may have had some justification. Then there, is an argument that nothing had happened for 3 years. Government had spent those years taking some important preliminary steps to bring relief to the people who had suffered under this armed conflict which was considered to be of higher priority. The magnitude, speed and results of such moves are to be seen by any one visiting the Northern and Eastern Provinces and even in Colombo. This is apart from appointing the LRRC to look into longer term issues. I say this in the context of what other countries had done in similar situations like the UK which took over 20 years to deliver the Report on such an inquiry, the manner in which US, the prime mover of this Resolution acted in the case of various allegations against that were made against their soldiers fighting, not in their country but those of others!

Recommendations

Incidentally, the Forum in passing says that the LLRC ” report did not meet all our expectations”. It would have been useful to know what those expectations were, in order to see whether those expectations were the same as that of the rest of the country. There had been several other parties who had expressed their dissatisfaction with the recommendations for varying reasons. In fact it is learnt that a report submitted by the US State Department to the Congress had even questioned the constitution of the Commissioners of the LLRC itself though of course they had no such problems with the constitution of the members of the Darusman commission.

Implementation

In regard to implementation of the recommendations of the various Commissions, it has to be accepted that the record of the various regimes have not been exemplary as much as in some other countries. For instance, the report of Shirani Thilakawardane Commission on the alleged corruption charges on the former Navy Commander Daya Sandagiri was never released by President Rajapaksa saying that it is not in the inertest of state security. This was amidst the fighting. However, recently there was a notification that he is again appointed to head some state organization! President Chandrika Kumaratunga, released the Buddhist Commission Report but never implemented any of its recommendations. President R. Premadasa implemented some of the recommendations of his Youth Commission appointed after the 1988/90 JVP uprising and nearly lost his presidency in an Impeachment motion where some of his MPs supported it because they found that they could not even appoint a peon to an office! Hence at a practical level it is tricky business which calls for a lot of political acumen. Yet on the other hand President Jayawardane promptly implemented the findings of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to send Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Felix Dias Bandaranaike, the political opponents whom he feared most, out of business. His argument was that the Presidential Commission Act left no option to him! In such circumstances the Forum might find some justification in saying that UNHRC needed to push the government with a Resolution despite the UN Charter article 2.7 which forbids the UN from interfering in the internal affairs of any member country.

Accountability

It is the position of the Forum that Sri Lanka is accountable to the UNHRC by reason of the fact that she has accepted the UN Charter & and related treaties, is left with no other option than to implement them .”None of this is seen as interference in our international affairs or as a violation of our sovereignty”. My position is this. Whatever infirmities there may be in our Constitution, our President is elected to that office by the individual votes of the people of this country unlike Saddam Hussein, Muhammar Quathafi, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt or Assad of Syria or some other leaders of some Middle Eastern countries or even unlike the Military Junta of Myanmar. And sovereignty lies with the people. It is inalienable. Thus, it is not to be shared with or subordinated to the UN or UNHRC. Our President therefore he is directly & primarily accountable to the people of this country. If he does not perform to our satisfaction we will deal with him at the next presidential election. Therefore it would mean that the LRRC was appointed for the people. Nobody opposed it. The discretion of implementing its recommendation fully or in part or not at all, is his discretion. He acts in trust reposed on him by the People and not by Some People. Therefore it is only the people of this country who have to decide whether or what part of the recommendations are to be implemented or not. It is a transaction between the President and his people, not with the international community or with its neighbours. We accordingly trust that our President will exercise his discretion responsibly in the matter of implementing or not implementing these recommendations and that he will do it in consultation with the people and be accountable to us primarily.

Part II Tomorrow

2 Responses to “‘The wise give up the idea of victory and defeat’ Response to Friday Forum”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    The wise make use of the victory to make the country a better place while the unwise languish in DEFEAT and backpain FOREVER!

  2. Dham Says:

    The wise give up the idea of victory and defeat and achive victory.
    The unwise induldge in the idea of victory or mourn defeat forever and end up loosing everything.

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