Not Investigating LTTE is Disastrous for Sri Lanka at the UNHRC and Elsewhere
Posted on January 30th, 2014

Dilrook Kannangara

There is broad consensus on the need for an independent domestic investigation into the happenings in Sri Lanka leading to the conclusion of the war (May 2009). However, some argue against investigating the LTTE in the same process. Scales of justice will be uneven and it will be a mockery of justice and investigation if LTTE is left out. When talking about war excessed, LTTE is the elephant in the room and its involvement must be investigated. Leaving out LTTE acts from an investigation is a disaster for Sri Lanka. If LTTE is not investigated, it is better not to do a (biased) investigation at all as the war had not one but two parties.
 
 There is no need to have the LTTE defend itself or stand as an accused. An investigation can proceed without the LTTE party being present or remaining ‘alive’ to face consequences.
 
 The government in response to UNHRC resolutions plans to table the result of the census into the disappeared and the dead in war in March this year. However, it falls well short of an independent domestic investigation. As such it will not satisfy the members. Another resolution will result. The aim seems to be to postpone accountability issues as in 2009 for temporary relief. It does not work as can be seen from the tightening of UNHRC reprimand of Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013. The longer it is put off, the more political demands need to be granted. What should happen is to address all accountability issues promptly and stand firm against all political demands concerning devolution and demilitarisation which are strictly internal matters.
 
 Not just the security forces and the LTTE but also the connected role of the ‘LTTE Rump’ (Tamil Diaspora sections), NGOs, Tamil racist political parties, India and other connected parties must be investigated by a single body.
 
 (1)                Thousands of Unsolved Deaths Not Acceptable in Any Accountability Process
 
 UNHRC’s concern is the cause of death of and the culpability for those deaths of thousands of humans died in the last stages of the war and possibly over a hundred thousand died in the full length of the war. LTTE caused most of these and without investigating its crimes an investigation will not address accountability for most deaths. Investigating only the conduct of the security forces will not account for most deaths. An investigation is not a criminal trial trying to find whether the accused (or the one in the dock) is culpable or not. It is rather a fact finding mission to find the reasons for and the accused of the deaths of a large number of humans. Unsolved murder mysteries of thousands of war dead in Sri Lanka is not something the UNHRC is willing to tolerate. If government troops didn’t cause their deaths and human rights violations, who did it? LTTE would not become automatically liable. It must be evidenced by a proper domestic investigation.
 
 There is no need for two separate investigations ” one for security forces and another for the LTTE. One credible investigation of one panel must investigate all these activities.
 
 Rehabilitation of LTTE cadres doesn’t absolve them from accountability issues and crimes. Ideally rehabilitation happens only following judicial determination of culpability of the persons concerned. No such trial took place in Sri Lanka into most rehabilitated persons. It is long overdue.
 
 (2)                Responsibility for Firing into NFZs and Medical Centres and Restriction of Humanitarian Access Fall on Government Troops
 
 Crimes of the LTTE and innocence of security forces are intricately interwoven.
 
 During the last stages of the war areas unilaterally declared as NFZs were attacked by government troops to neutralise LTTE gun positions therein. It is not a crime as no NFZ was agreed by both parties and LTTE moved its cadres, leaders and weapons in to the NFZ. In the absence of an investigation into LTTE activities, the responsibility for violating its own NFZ falls on the government. Tamil groups claim that government declared NFZs were nothing less than death traps. Such allegations cannot be rebutted without investigating the LTTE.
 
 Tamil Terrorists hid their artillery guns around medical centres and fired at advancing troops and escaping civilians from the LTTE human shield. These guns had to be destroyed. In the process these medical centres also suffered some damage. If LTTE crime of misusing medical centres to attack the enemy is not investigated, the responsibility for firing at medical centres falls on government troops.
 
 Humanitarian access was blocked time to time to ensure safety of humanitarian service providers and to carryout military operations. It is not a crime as it was the LTTE that showed no regard for humanitarian services. Even Tamil ‘moderate’ politicians like the TULF leader were more concerned about a last minute political solution than humanitarian assistance! Government declared 72 hours of ceasefire for civilians to escape war and humanitarian agencies to help civilians. However, nothing as expected happened. Unashamedly an extension was demanded by these agencies without doing anything in the 72 hours. Obviously it was demanded by the LTTE to save itself. LTTE also blocked humanitarian assistance as it tightened its grip on its human shield. Without investigating LTTE’s conduct that led to these restrictions, all responsibility falls on government troops.
 
(3)                Without Investigating LTTE Crimes, Responsibility for Civilian Deaths Fall on the Government
 
 Possibly a large number of civilians died trapped in the crossfire. LTTE made several requests to halt hostilities but the government (for good reasons) rejected all these. Government made several appeals for the LTTE to lay down weapons and surrender but the terror outfit rejected all these. War continued killing civilians and combatants. LTTE used these ceasefires to further their plans to hold civilians hostage, place guns near civilian temporary dwellings and sabotage humanitarian assistance. Unless these are proven, the continuation of war becomes the government’s sole responsibility. LTTE used civilians in direct and indirect combat missions against government troops. As a result these civilians died. It is no crime to have committed their deaths. LTTE acts of engaging them must be investigated to completely absolve the government troops of the liability of causing their deaths.
 
 (4)                Tying European and American Nations to the Onus of Restricting Terror Activities of Tamils
 
 At present Sri Lanka is a human rights dumping ground of European and American nations. They vote against Sri Lanka at every resolution. Their vociferous Tamil vote base also pushes them to do so. However, they have their share of responsibility to LTTE crimes. Unless LTTE acts are investigated and its crimes against humanity are proven, these countries will continue to act irresponsibly.
 
 According to Resolution 1373 (2001), 1455 (2003) and 1456 (2003) of the UN Security Council which were passed unanimously, all UN members are required to monitor, prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism. Consequent to its passage and LTTE killing the then Foreign Minister, restrictions were placed around the world on Tamil fund raising activities financing LTTE terror. However, there is evidence to show LTTE continued to collect money from the Tamil Diaspora and purchase weapons in ship loads. Funds were collected in Western European countries, Canada, USA and Australia where there is a large Tamil community resides. Weapons so procured were used by the LTTE to commit Crimes Against Humanity. These must be investigated so that culpability can be fair and squarely be placed on the LTTE, ‘LTTE Rump’ (Tamil Diaspora sections), their host nations that did little to monitor, prevent and suppress financing of terror and connected entities that are at the forefront of discrediting Sri Lanka today.
 
 Interestingly these countries are the ones pushing for war crimes investigations and UNHRC resolutions against Sri Lanka.
 
 Investigating LTTE conduct will bring them into the fold of responsible entities to ensure human rights are ensured in Sri Lanka. That will stop them from pointing the accusing finger at Sri Lanka. To bring them into the realm of responsibility away from their current irresponsible conduct, it is imperative to investigate LTTE conduct as part of the domestic investigation.
 
In addition Eastern European countries (that inherited a large Warsaw stockpile of weapons after the collapse of the Soviet Union) were supplying weapons to the LTTE. They too vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. An investigation can bring them into senses to co-operate with Sri Lanka.
 
 (5)                Indian Responsibility for LTTE Crimes and Other Excesses in the Conflict
 
 At the UNHRC India has conducted in a highly irresponsible manner despite its horrendous war crimes against Tamils during its troop occupation in the island (1987-90) and in training and arming the LTTE (1970s to 1987). However, India can continue its irresponsible conduct voting against Sri Lanka and demanding interference in domestic affairs through the UNHRC unless its involvement is investigated. India may not vote for a resolution that imposes an international investigation as it can easily backfire on Kashmir and grossly goes against Indian policy of non-interference.
 
 Sri Lanka Sitting on a Goldmine
 
 This is a fabulous opportunity not to be missed. An independent domestic investigation into the conduct of security forces, most importantly the LTTE, LTTE Rump, Tamil political parties, India, NGOs and other connected parties will not only put the war crimes issue to permanent rest but also turn the tide in Lanka’s favour. TNA involvement can also be established which will force it to agree to a compromised settlement. There will be no need to offer political concessions to the Tamil lobby, Tamil Nadu and Tamil National Alliance to ward off war crimes accusations. The issues of demilitarisation and devolution will be seen as obstacles to security of civilians as opposed to requirements for tranquil civilian life. This opportunity must not be missed.
 
War crimes investigations should be held in the town of Vadukoddai, Jaffna which is infamous for passing the Vadukoddai Resolution in 1976 which instigated Tamil youth to ‘fight’ for ‘Tamil Elam’ triggering war. Nazi war trials were held in Nuremberg (after the World War 2 ended in 1945). Nuremberg Resolution (1935) was passed in Nuremberg by the Nazis calling for war and violence to establish their desired state.
 
 Marketing Campaigns Without Worthy Substance Will Surely Fail With Disastrous Consequences
 
 It is highly unwise to rely on marketing campaigns to convince UNHRC members to vote for Sri Lanka or abstain from voting with nothing worth to ‘sell’/offer and nothing worth for them to buy into. A biased investigation only into the security forces’ conduct will not answer their questions and concerns about alleged civilian casualties and other allegations of destruction and obstruction. Since LTTE is responsible for most of these, any meaningful investigation must look into the conduct of the LTTE.
 
 On the other hand, if LTTE crimes are investigated, its accessories can be linked to them which in turn can be used as an attractive negotiation tool. All Western European countries, Canada, USA, Australia and India will not point the accusing finger at Sri Lanka following such an investigation. It will compel them to do some soul-searching, improve their own monitoring systems and co-operate with Sri Lanka. US and UNHRC officials have made it very clear they want LTTE atrocities also investigated though their resolutions were not so straightforward.

11 Responses to “Not Investigating LTTE is Disastrous for Sri Lanka at the UNHRC and Elsewhere”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Why not? Who is holding the govt. back from doing these?

    Even the MOD is REDUCED to a statement issuing place with NO ACTION. Govt. FEARS TNA, Tamil racist Diaspora.

    Dissolving the NPC is the first step.

  2. Nanda Says:

    Jan 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party (UNP) says that the resolution adopted by the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) to urge for an international probe on alleged war crimes is illegal.

    UNP parliamentarian, President’s Counsel Wijedasa Rajapakshe told a news conference that the Council had overstepped its mandate by adopting such a resolution.
    He explained that the provincial councils were not vested with powers over international affairs.
    He added that the provincial councils set up under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution do not have the power to pass resolutions calling for an international probe.
    According to Rajapaksa, while the government could dissolve the NPC over the illegal resolution, it could fuel the call for a self-rule in the Northern Province.

    – Even Colombians appear to be better than the Government now !

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    DISSOLVE the damn NPC now.

    Whatever investigation should NOT be done by the ministry of just-ice. The minister is HACK-HIM a well known terrorist supporter. Google to find his foto with VP.

  4. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Colombo should do an independent study of the actions of LITE, including their genocidal acts, the acts of terrorism, vandalism, and assassinations of political entities. In addition Colombo should add to this those in New Delhi to Chennai who were and still are in power who used India’s secret service agency RAW to train, fund, give logistics, and shelter to the LITE during the war to the current actions of pro LITE movements in London to the EU as a potential existential threat.

    Have this dossier backed up by China and Russia, both nations who are members of the Security Council, and other nations who supported Sri Lanka when she was accused twice of human rights violations against the cabal of nations including India, the US, UK and other EU nations. Sri Lanka needs the support of China and Russia to push the issue of human rights violations to crimes against humanity that were supported by Indian politicians against the sovereign nation of Sri Lanka as a counter to the accusations heaped upon Sri Lanka’s military by the cabal of nations already mentioned.

    Only Sri Lanka and her strategic allies can bring some balance to this politically motivated human rights accusations. Of all nations India should be singled out for she orchestrated the civil war from the very beginning and is now continuing the process under the guise of human rights. She alone must be exposed of her role in the war and her support of crimes against humanity carried out by her terrorist organization the LITE. It must be made clear that no progress can be achieved till all those involved in the carnage of the Civil war are brought to justice.

    If India is exempt from such accusations then Colombo should stand firm against those who selectively choose to accuse the Sri Lankan military and continue to accuse Colombo even after four years have passed since the end of the civil war. Indian criminals in political garb are still in power when they should be facing the Hague for crimes against humanity.

    Finally it is blatantly hypocritical of New Delhi to demand the demilitarization of the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka when she has a massive military presence in the Indian state of Kashmir where human rights are violated on a daily basis and that massive military presence has been in Kashmir for decades.

  5. jayasiri Says:

    Thanks Dilrook & others who responded. I am sure Dilrook will contact Chanaka Bandarge -Lawyer from Australia, who has forwarded a plan of action & volunteered to MONITOR progress in Geneva.

    Many patriots have suggested that LANKA should present a COUNTER RESOLUTION to the USA/UK one for March 2014. In tofay’s Asian Tribune one Mr. Raj Gnsakera (or someone ) has pblished an article TO INVESTIGATE atrocities done by LTTE /TNA from 1975 or 1983 toconclusion of war.

    A counter resolution is ONE way of getting the guilty parties to conduct an UNBIASED investigation. With regards to INDIA, we all know but our Govt. is too worried. If at this point OUR GOVT. faiil to STAND UP for Sri Lanka, we might as well ALLOW INDIA to push us around for ever.

    I feel like minded Sri Lankans all over the world should CONTRIBUTE to the efforts of few who have taken some initiative to influence HE President & other leaders to RALLY AROUND SRI LANKA………….J

  6. Nanda Says:

    Lets demand
    1.Dissolution of NPC and arrest of Ananthi terrorist Councillor and send to for interrogation and prosecution NOT rehabilitation. persecution of the WEAKEST individual is the best tactic.

    2. Appoint a Tribunal ( a panel of patriotic judges- majority should be Sinhala Buddhist) to investigate war crimes since 1971 to 2009. Let whoever want to complain make it official.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    It is the LTTE atrocities that needs to be probed by the International Community. There are thousands of crimes by the LTTE with no accountability by anyone. No one in the IC has proposed investigations into the LTTE crimes book. Why ?

    Lanka’s dilemma is that India calls all the moves !

  8. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Fran Diaz Says:
    “Lanka’s dilemma is that India calls all the moves”. I would add to that the US as well. But the US is facing resistance from her own allies such as Saudi Arabia who recently snubbed the US delegation and India is facing the growing powers of China and Pakistan… India is not infallible. In fact India is very vulnerable for a litany of issues ranging from human rights violations, entrenched poverty, and an equally entrenched corruption. Pakistan and China have proved the limitations of India. It is time for Sri Lanka to do the same. I now will paste an article regarding the deteriorating relationship between Saudi Arabia, a once stalwart ally of the US and the US:

    Saudis snub US congressional delegation

    Saudi Arabian diplomats and military officials refused to meet with a bipartisan delegation of senior congressional staffers who visited the Middle Eastern country last week, an unusual snub that suggests increased tension between the U.S. and a key ally.
    “Everyone on the trip definitely took it as a snub,” one of the staffers who went on the trip, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Washington Examiner. The delegation was comprised of “high level” staff from three House committees: Intelligence, Homeland Security, and Armed Services.
    The staffer said that the delegation asked to meet with representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and Defense Ministry during the weeklong trip, but the Saudis denied both requests. The rejection is especially unusual because the Saudis paid for the delegation’s visit, but did not allow them to talk to their most natural counterparts in the Saudi Arabian government. The aide, who has visited the country multiple times on such delegations, said every previous trip featured a meeting with at least one of the two ministries.
    The snub stems from Saudi anger over what they see as President Obama’s weak response to the Syrian civil war and U.S. attempts to get a nuclear deal with Iran, according to the staffer. The Iranian negotiations are most troubling to the Saudis, according to the aide, saying they think Obama is being “shortsighted” in his strategy for preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
    Gulf Arab states have been watching with grave concern Obama’s hopes to negotiate an end to Iran’s nuclear program, even as the regime gets closer to obtaining a weapon. Many, especially Saudi Arabia, see Iran’s ambitions as an existential threat.
    “Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas — including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles — from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, wrote in a report on global threats delivered Wednesday to the Senate Intelligence Committee. “These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.

  9. Lorenzo Says:

    Fran,

    “Lanka’s dilemma is that India calls all the moves !”

    This is the problem.

    SL cannot have its own way what is good for SL.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    BW,

    Here are some facts as I see them :

    UK calls more ‘shots’ on Lanka than USA. USA follows the cue from UK. UK is the second boss for Lanka, after India.
    But, India listens also to both UK & USA on some matters.

    Britain (UK) had earlier colonized USA, India & Sri Lanka.

    So, for Lanka, who is the biggest boss of all here ?

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    Pity poor countries earlier Colonised by the big colonizers. All these countries are still floundering on a morass of confusion re religion, economy, life styles, etc.

    Only redeeming factors are world language English and some Sc&Tech. with some modern education systems.

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