Sir Desmond’s opinion: Prof. Peiris alleges attempt to confuse public
Posted on October 24th, 2015

Courtesy The Island

Former External Affairs Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday alleged that an attempt was being made to confuse the public regarding an opinion expressed by Sir Desmond de Silva on the issue of wartime accountability.

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Prof. Peiris said: “There is an opinion by Sir Desmond de Silva, QC which was submitted to the Commission on Missing Persons. This is an opinion which was published in the Oct 18 issue of The Island.

This opinion is exceedingly useful for the purpose of establishing that no form of criminal liability can be imposed on armed forces of Sri Lanka for any action by them during the closing stages of the war.

The gist of this opinion is that the armed forces acted entirely within the parameters of established principles of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Sir Desmond de Silva specifically concludes: ‘It is my opinion that a war crime cannot be ascribed to the government’.

Sir Desmond in his legal opinion refers to the context in which the armed forces were compelled to take action. He says ‘it was occasioned in the process of the security forces fighting to overwhelm and defeat the LTTE who had taken hostages in such large numbers that this may well be considered to be one of the largest hostage takings in history. The stakes were colossal, considering that the hostages were being murdered if they tried to escape. The end result of saving some 290,000 hostage lives and the defeat of the ruthless LTTE were legitimate military and humanitarian objectives”.

Sir Desmond goes on to state that the action by the armed forces ‘wholly consistent with the humanitarian imperatives that prevailed at that grim time.’

Prof. Peiris: “We are totally at a loss to understand why this material which is obviously of the greatest value in protecting the country’s armed forces is being suppressed by the government. It should receive the widest possible exposure. Sir Desmond’s opinion contains a wealth of legal considerations which rule out any blame or culpability on the part of our security forces. This should have been placed fairly and squarely before the UNHRC and the member states.

Far from conceding any criminal responsibility involving the armed forces and talking of measures to ensure ‘non-recurrence’, the government should have taken it upon itself to demonstrate before the bar of world opinion that our armed forces acted as they should have done in a manner entirely permitted by international law to rid this country of terrorism’.

11 Responses to “Sir Desmond’s opinion: Prof. Peiris alleges attempt to confuse public”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Agree with Prof Pieris.

    In addition to presenting ALL THREE REPORTS on the last war with the LTTE, a FILM ought to be made on how the SL Armed Forces helped the rescued ‘human shield’ of over 300,000 Tamil civilians. Also, how the rehabilitation of saved LTTE cadre too. VISUAL proof is powerful, whether shown in Lanka or UN and other places abroad.

    I heard from a friend in America that prime time Amazon tv had shown the LTTE version of the war on tv there !

    How slowly Lanka govt. moves on this matter …. what a pity.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Prof Peiris has clarified the matter.

    Hopefully it ends here.

    How long we have to waste time for this nonsense? Who cares who died as long as SL has peace.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    Too many have died from both Sinhala & Tamil ‘sides’. All those who died are human beings. How can such things happen in a predominently Buddhist country ?
    It is high time we took steps to stop all death in terrorism and war in Lanka – aim for a permanent Peace and some Prosperity for all.

  4. Dilrook Says:

    There is confusion about this. Unfortunately the good professor is not helping.

    There are 2 distinct issues. One is about the events concerning before May 18, 2009. Darusman report blames Sri Lankan troops and their political command for war crimes and killing an imaginary 40,000. Paranagama report rejects it fully.

    The second issue is about the events concerning the alleged killing of LTTE leaders. Darusman report blames troops and political higher ups for war crimes. Paranagama report blames soldiers and army officers for (possible) war crimes but exonerates the political leadership of war crimes.

    This will divide security forces personnel from the political hierarchy and each will try to implicate the other in a war crimes judicial process. Politicians have access to expensive legal practitioners whereas soldiers and officers of the army don’t. A classic example is the plight of war hero Sunil Ratnayake. Therefore the outcome of this process is certain. It must be avoided.

    Paranagama report must be released to the public and translate into Sinhala if not done so already. Then people will know without any confusion what it does and doesn’t say.

  5. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Fran Diaz, your first comment. The station you refer to is pay tv station, mainly used by Tamils living in Boston area. Your Lanka Government will not protest because RANIL PUNK’s supporters put it there.

  6. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Dilrook, what are you suggesting? What Professor G.L is addressing is a current event that needed to be addressed by today’s events and not what happed in 2014 or before. He is commenting on what Sir Desmond’s statement. Then I totally agree with G.L. that Killing the Tamil terrorists with civilians were justified. What you imagine is that the Armed forces will be divided. YES, it is already divided. That is why Sarath Fonseka was reinstated. Now armed forces under the command of Field Marshal. I do not see why you cannot see this clearly. How much you write articles about the past is not valued today because no one can over ride RANIL PUNK. Field Marshal can remove any member of the military from the Private to the major General and send to Jail. Field Marshal does not have to conduct a court Martial trail. Give me an answer to the question! Why did MUSLIM OBAMA appoint a MUSLIM to be the US ambassador SL and Maldives it is to get at the former president and charge him. Now the whole economy of Maldives are at a stand still. OBAMA gave instructions to Atul Ketch sap to help Iran establish set of mosques to get Sharia law passed and included in the RANIL PUNK constitution that will be LAW in December. Can Dilrook stop it I think he can if he wants to by writing how to over throw this illegal OBAMA government.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    SL Army soldiers MUST be protected, either by the State or through the Public. We HAVE to Honor those who protected us.

    If any soldier is to be prosecuted, that must be done through Military Courts. That is the time honored way in all democracies. Trying soldiers in Civil Courts and going on for nearly 10 yrs is most unusual, as done in Sunil Ratnayake’s case. This case ought to be handled properly by Army authorites and the Ministries of Justice, and Defense.

    Over 27,000 soldiers died to save Lanka from terrorism : “Think about that” said MR in a recent video interview. It is no small matter for a Nation which is only 25,000 sq miles in size.

    Now that the war is over, the Colombian weird politicos are sitting on top, dictating to and playing the fool with the rest of Lanka, not attending to the problems of the country, to please whom ? Certainly not the People of Lanka, and they are ones who really matter.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    Agree with Dilrook and Fran.

    Army MUST be protected.

    Looks like the FORMER 3 day ACTING DEFENCE MINISTER (Maru Sira) is trying to save his own backside by agreeing to USA, Endia, etc.

  9. Nimal Says:

    We can go along with Sir Desmond and IC respect him.

  10. Independent Says:

    Lsankaputra,
    But our field marshal is powerless. Only enjoys luxury that came with the title.

  11. Sooriarachi Says:

    Sir Desmond’s report is not favourable to LTTE activists and their sympathisers. A recent statement released by TNA leader Sampanthan, to discredit Sir Desmond, shows that the TNA and anti Sri Lankan elements are shamelessly stooping to gutter politics and ready only to accept reports that echo their unsubstantiated allegations, such as the Dharusman and Petrie reports to UNSG and the Yasmin Sooka report to the UNHCR. None of these 3 LTTE friendly reports are credible, as they have no witnesses and fail to site verifiable evidence and therefore, one cannot blame anyone who might think allegations in these 3 reports have been simply manufactured. If there is an iota of truth, then they should reveal the witnesses, without hiding behind the hilarious claim of possible persecution of kith and kin living in Sri Lanka.

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