Accountability: Only God Knows!
Posted on June 12th, 2012

 By  Gomin Dayasri

 Statistics are like bikinis. What they expose is revealing what they conceal is suggestive.

 Accountability is to reach an authenticated number of civilians dead and not act silly with fairy tales of a zero civilian casualty number or become traumatized with horror stories of over 40,000 civilian deaths. In war, civilian casualties are inevitable but it is no war crime, unless civilians are intentionally targeted and fire power utilized is beyond the limits of proportionality.

Numbers disclosed in the researched UN Country Team Report (2009) challenge allegations that “tens of thousands” of civilians were killed in the last days of the war against LTTE terrorism. Country Team Report placed killings at 7,721 and injured at 18,479 from August 2008 up to 13 May 2009. This includes civilians killed / injured by the LTTE and LTTE cadres killed and injured. The terminal date of the Country Team Report is placed at 13 May 2009 (war extended until 19 May) as the count thereafter became “too difficult” to manage. This report has value, to test the veracity on competing figures originating from government and pro LTTE sources.  Ironically Ban-kin Moon has failed to release the much sought after UN document to assist in determining accountability. Notwithstanding the concealed Country Team Report, Ban- kin Moon in Mumbai (28.4.2012/Indrani Bagehi of TNN) claimed “tens of thousands people were killed”. Understandably he desires to suppress the UN Report that makes such pronouncements stupid.

However, Moon did hand the undisclosed Country Team Report, to his three-member Panel of Experts (POE) chaired by Darusman which compiled the controversial Darusman Report. Naturally the Team Report did not satisfy Moon’s POE in their valiant attempt to justify 40,000 civilian deaths were caused by Sri Lankan Forces without supporting evidence; solely based on conjecture. Moon’s POE reached the 40,000 casualty mark on a vague assumption which they explained in their Report:

“A number of credible sources have estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths. Two years after the end of the war, there is still no available figure for civilian deaths, but multiple sources of information indicate that a range of up to 40,000 civilians cannot be ruled out at this stage”.

 Contradictions galore “”…” as Darusman Report asserts “there is still no available figures for civilian deaths” and then conjures “40,000 civilian deaths cannot be ruled out at this stage”, without a reference to the Country Team Report’s conclusion that had clinically arrived at a number after months of research on a  compilation based on an organized framework.

UN Country Team was an “Internal Crisis Operation Group” set to UN standards using national staff of the UN, NGO’s and Government officials in Wanni. An incident logged required verification from triple sources or double counted. They neither accepted reports from Government or Tamil Net, both were deemed biased.

The County Team Report number of 7,721 was a problem in reaching “tens of thousands” bench mark; a gap it had to overcome since it was too great to bridge. Significantly the Darusman Report exhibited 23 formal letters, most of no worth as annexure; yet failed to make the Country Team Report as an exhibit “”…”being the solitary UN assembled contemporaneous on-the-spot ground report on accountability with numbers indicating death and injury respectively. UN Country Team Report still remains unknown in the public domain. Moon and his Panel failed to reveal comprehensively the Country Team Report in their custody preferring to stretch their hand to deflate and discredit the number of 7,721 civilian deaths- placing reliance on uninformed sources without an iota of material evidence collected on a scientific basis and arrived at 40,000 dubious civilian deaths. To use a current clichƒÆ’†’© the basis possibly was in a realm where “only god knows”.

Darusman Report had to debunk the Country Team Report to keep alive the 40,000 civilian death symbol. Why? UN Country Team Report did not reach the anticipated aggregate of around 40,000 civilian deaths-so it had to be discarded!   Darusman Report sought to give credence to unidentified sources: UN Country Team’s 7,721 deaths and 18,479 injuries was an embarrassment that needed a by-pass. Darusman Report failed to adduce a reason for accepting unnamed sources that placed civilian deaths at 40,000 instead presented two feeble grounds to reject the UN Country Team Report.

 Firstly, it is alleged “it only accounts for that were actually observed by the network of observers who were operational in LTTE controlled areas”. (That work- out is consistent with the “best evidence rule” using observers deep in LTTE controlled areas in the midst of live action: surely preferable to hearsay material originating from a territory outside the war zone); Secondly, they held out “after the UN stopped counting on 13 May the number of civilian casualties grew rapidly”. (Wrong again, there was an exodus during the period from the LTTE controlled areas to government controlled areas. Facts speak for themselves as arrivals to government controlled areas are available in the month of May “”…” 13th 401, 14th 3,805, 15th 9,927, 16th 7,289 and 17th 80,455 aggregating to 101,877. Would such large numbers trek if civilians did not feel secure or were likely to be killed or maimed?) Are these acceptable reasons for rejecting outright a contemporaneous Report by UN officials’ resident in the vicinity of the fighting and accept numbers from undisclosed sources without supporting evidence compiled beyond the seas. Undoubtedly the UN Country Team Report was in Moon’s unwanted list.

 Last 5 days of war would increase the figure of 7,721 civilian deaths but the toll did not to reach even ten thousand as revealed on the enumeration conducted by the Department of Census & Statistics. Significance is the weird methodology utilized in the Darusman Report to take the unsubstantiated 40,000 figure as the preferred option to the calculations done on a recognized basis in the UN Country Team Report.

 UN Country Team Report of 7,721 killed from August 2008 to 13 May 2009 is broadly consistent with the Department of Census & Statistics enumerated number of 7,896 of deaths in the Northern Province during the period of 1 January to 31 May 2009.  Enumeration was carried out mainly by Tamil School Teachers resident in the North. Table attached  shows the total death toll in the Northern Province between January and May which reads 8,998 deaths of which old / sickness / natural disasters account for 1,122 deaths [old / sick 1,067, natural disasters 35] while the rest amounts to 7,896 deaths [ accident 454, others 6,858, not stated 584].

Month of Occurrence of Death

Total

Cause of Death

Old / Sick

Natural Disaster

Accident

Other

Not Stated

January

889

180

0

42

612

55

February

1,758

176

5

95

1,369

113

March 

3,066

205

20

147

2,514

180

April

1,991

251

7

101

1,514

118

May

1,294

255

3

69

849

118

Total

8,998

1,067

35

454

6,858

584

                                                                                                                   ——-      7896—————————-

(Source: Department of Census & Statistics)                                                                                             

Placing civilian deaths at 7,896 outside natural causes would also include LTTE cadres killed in action, civilians killed by the LTTE while escaping, civilians killed in crossfire, civilians who escaped from the conflict area and are now living in other parts of Sri Lanka or abroad and those found alive. 

Food was supplied to 305,000 people on a population estimate provided by the Government Agent, Wanni while the UN World Food Programme called for food for 250,000, UN Resident Coordinator placed maximum population at 180,000. Numbers that did the crossing from LTTE held areas are recorded at 293,826 which is the largest human rescue operation undertaken.

On a conservative estimate 7,000 “”…” 8,000 civilians including LTTE combatants met with untimely death. Indeed a long distance away from the figure of 40000 relied by Moon and Darusman.

7 Responses to “Accountability: Only God Knows!”

  1. S de Silva Says:

    Thank you Gomin D for the revealing statics (though published not for the first time). The 40k casualty figure is wilfully being still repeated by all those who wish to slander Sri Lanka, including CH4. When will the GoSL wake up and sue them for compensation? – That indeed is the ONLY language all those falsely accusing SL will understand – S de Silva @ London

  2. May182009 Says:

    The following LTTE brigades were annihilated in the last stages of the war. 11,000 LTTE terrorists who were captured were ad hoc recruits in the last stages of the war.

    1. Malathi Brigade – annihilated

    2. Sothiya Brigade – annihilated

    3. Charles Anthony Regiment – annihilated

    4. Imran Pandian Regiment – annihilated

    5. Jeyanthan Brigade – annihilated

    6. Sea Tigers – annihilated

    7. Suicide Bomber Brigade – annihilated

    8. Victor Artillery Brigade – annihilated

    9. Kutti Sri Motar Brigade – annihilated

    10. Ellalan Force – annihilated

    11. Air Tigers and other ancillary brigades – annihilated

    If each of these had 700 each, that is 7,700 terrorists dead. If each of these had 3,500 each that is 40,000 terrorists.

  3. nandimitra Says:

    All this Human Rights abuse is nothing but a western plan of subjugation of Sri Lanka Ie dominate the economy, Prevent china having any influence and a long term plan of deviding Sri Lanka with a view to deviding India. They have succeeded IMF advice is followed, More debt from Ponzi money, attendance at Shangrila conference, submission by GLP to Clinton of some plan (country is kept ignorant) So I think articles like these are of very little use now it is time to ask MR to be transparent.

  4. AnuD Says:

    Some where else, I read, that Robert Blake did not want LTTE annihilated. US wanted LTTE to survive and escape to some other third country. Robert Blake had threatened the govt if the govt did not listen to what he/they wanted, govt would have to face the repercussions such as war crime investigations. Remember, he was saying that SLDFs would defeat LTTE. Norway, also had similar goals.

  5. AnuD Says:

    I think all the problems are solved if Sri Lanka become pro-american (remember last time, LTTE came into life because of the same reason) and work in order to please them.

    USA had imposed sanctions long ago for us. That was when USA was a powerful country and was one of the super powers. It is not very different now.

    I read, Chinese people consider USA only as a regional competitor and not as a global power.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    What could peace loving Sri Lankans have done in the past to avoid all or at least some of the problems stated by Mr Dayasiri, and beyond ?

    We suggest putting out the real Facts on any matter to the public, good or bad, and face the facts. Truth/truth is so powerful. In the end, truth/Truth wins, for any country, any people, anywhere on earth. Handle the Economy so that we are as Self Sufficient as possible, in every way possible. That way, there need to be no dependencies or less dependencies. Be proactive and identify troubled spots before it becomes difficult to handle, and solve social problems before matters get out of hand – in other words, govern wisely. It is somewhat like managing a family with wisdom, but on a much large scale.
    If others hand us ‘lemons’, make ‘lemon aide’ and enjoy it !

    A Sinhala Centre as a cultural repository and a Research Centre for Sinhale a must to put out the truth.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    The Sinhala Centre can have books and photos, not necessarily actual objects or artworks.

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