mechanism for justice or revenge?
Posted on August 13th, 2016

By Shivanthi Ranasinghe Courtesy Ceylon Today

Whether we agree or not, Hybrid Courts may be a reality that we have to accept. Obviously, abusive or excessive force, or irregularities cannot be tolerated – even in war. However, the true intention of the proposed hybrid courts comes to question when the Human Rights Council is only interested in specific incidents alleged to have been committed by the Sri Lankan security forces. The terrorists’ role in the war crimes committed systematically and on a mass scale has not come into question. Thus, the military and legal opinion of many respective bodies is that the Hybrid Courts’ objective is to seek revenge while dismantling the national security of the country.

One person who advocates Hybrid Courts’ is Dr. Nihal Jayawickrema. “HRC had not said to investigate the conduct of the war,” he explains. “They have identified certain events and have asked these to be investigated. For example, they have identified the recruitment of child soldiers before and after Karuna Amman defected – that means, after he was made a minister.

“Then, they have identified certain deaths such as the killing of the people who had communicated to the government that they wanted to surrender and the killing of the TV announcer. Then certain deaths that were supposed to have occurred after the war. They also talk of disappearances, which have been reported since early 2000 and of summary executions

Evidence
“Who’s going to investigate these charges? And who’s going to present the evidence to whatever tribunal is established?
“Clearly, they have not been investigated all these years. Police were most probably instructed not to pursue these matters. Now, we ask them to go ahead. I don’t know whether they have the capacity to investigate these offenses that have taken place many years ago.

“Attorney-General’s Department officers regularly went before the HRC and refuted very strongly all claims that crimes against humanity or war crimes were taking place. On disappearances, Mohan Peiris said that to his knowledge Ekneligoda is in some foreign country.
“Now we are expecting the same people to take a completely different line and argue that there is credible evidence that these acts were committed.”

The list of crimes allegedly committed by the military is of isolated incidents. Conversely, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) committed crimes against humanity systematically and on a mass scale. For instance, during the final months, they forcibly held over 300,000 civilians as a human buffer against the advancing Army. Their purpose was to detract the military onslaught and to use the collateral damage as evidence of war crimes.
The military stands accused of shooting and killing two notable terrorists – Balasingham Nadesan and Pulidevan, while surrendering to the military with a white flag. Though the veracity is not established, the charge has earned the opprobrium of the West-led international community. However, the same community is not overtly concerned with the 600 plus Police personnel massacred in 1990 by the LTTE after the then government forced them to surrender.
“Of course, these may amount to war crimes,” agrees Dr. Jayawickrema. “But who are you going to investigate? Who are you going to bring to Court, who are you going to take to trial?”
Separatists organizations
As Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera states, only the separatists organizations’ terrorist arm was destroyed. Its brains and claws are intact and alive in the West. For instance, Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, has functioned as a legal advisor to the LTTE terrorists since 2002. Now as a New York based lawyer, he has represented thousands of LTTE bogus refugees. Since the annihilation of the terrorist arm, he has appointed himself as the PM of the so-called Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam.
“Was Rudrakumaran involved in combat?” asks Dr. Jayawickrema.” In criminal liability, you can’t find a person guilty of a crime unless that person committed an act with the intention of committing that act.”

Can the pro-LTTE sympathizes who raised funds, often forcibly, and provided other vital support to the terrorist and subversive activities back in Sri Lanka be excused on the basis that they were not in the battle grounds? After all, fundraisers knew monies were not raised to build schools or develop agriculture, but to kill civilian men, women and children of all ages, ethnic groups and creed and to wage war against a legitimate government.

Conflicts
“There was a conflict,” states Dr. Jayawickrema. “There are rules governing conflicts. The Geneva Convention applies to domestic conflicts as well. There would have been violations – maybe from both sides. The question is what happens now. Are we going to conduct a general inquiry into the whole conflict?

“The HRC says that certain serious violations of Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws were committed by both sides. So, there must be accountability. Now, as far as what the LTTE did, if you can produce people who were responsible for those acts, I think they must answer for them, but who’s there to do that?
“If those who gave orders to hold 300,000 hostages survived, then they can be held accountable. You have to identify the individuals. You can’t bring a man from Washington or some place and say he must be investigated.
“Normally, in post-conflict criminal proceedings, it is not the foot soldiers who are held accountable. It is the people up the chain of command who gave the orders. That’s the normal practice.
“Now somebody may have given an order that people instructed to carry a white cloth should be killed. Did someone from Colombo give such an order? If not, did some very senior officer on the spot take the decision to kill people who were seeking to surrender? Were the commanders on the ground informed that certain people wanted to surrender? Those are the questions that have arisen.

Accountability
“That’s where accountability comes in. I don’t think it extends to people who raised funds abroad or people who formed so-called governments and so on. Unfortunately, there’s no one surviving in the LTTE. If Prabhakaran was alive, he’ll have to account for thousands of deaths. But, none of those leaders are alive now. You can’t bring a dead person for trial. A person who is brought to trial has a right to defend himself.”

If the victims of terrorists cannot seek justice simply on the basis that the perpetrators did not survive, trying those who ushered in peace and unity to the country, merely because they survived is callous and partial to the terrorists.
After the World War II, it is alleged that over 160,000 German women were sexually assaulted by the Allied forces. Likewise, a catastrophic humanitarian crisis was created when atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after firebombing hundreds of Japanese towns with absolutely no military significance. Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city. During July 1943, firebombing by the Allied Forces killed 42,600 civilians and wounded 37,000, virtually destroying most of the city.

Chemical warfare
The Vietnam War was a chemical warfare. Its effects, just as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, remain gruesome to date with high rates of stillborn, deformed children and radiation induced diseases such as cancer.
War crimes committed in Iraq, Afghanistan and the washing-off-hands after the Libyan mess and their current role in Syria shows that the West not only have failed to accept responsibility for their actions, but also refuse to learn from their atrocities.
The ‘New York Times’ makes interesting observations on Barack Obama’s visit as the first American President to the Hiroshima memorial site. Obama notes, “Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us, such technology requires a moral revolution as well.” Still, despite the victims’ pressure to apologize for the mass scale atrocity, ‘Obama did not apologize, he made clear that Japan, despite a highly advanced culture, was to blame for the war.’

Japan’s deepest wound
“Leaders in both China and South Korea worry that Obama’s visit to Japan’s deepest wound could be taken by the Japanese as an endpoint to their country’s efforts to come to grips with their own wartime atrocities.
“Many historians believe that the bombings on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki, which together took the lives of more than 200,000 people, saved lives since an invasion of the islands would have led to far greater bloodshed.

“A short inscription on the park’s memorial arch reads, in part, “We shall not repeat the evil.” Which evil – the bombing or the conflict itself – and who is to blame are left unsaid. Such failures by the Japanese to acknowledge their own role in the bombings have long bothered the Chinese, Koreans and others who suffered under the empire’s rule. “The Chinese Government suggested that the wartime atrocities committed by Japan on Chinese soil, notably in the city of Nanjing, deserved more attention than the bombing of Hiroshima.”
In Sri Lanka, the scale of atrocities is lower, but the parallelism cannot be denied. The LTTE lost the right to claim any legitimate grievances as reasons for terrorism when they spurned political solutions offered by India in the late 1980s as well as the lucrative ‘package’ offered by President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 2005.
The Japanese WW II record is terrible. So is the conduct of the LTTE during its entire existence. Thus, the war was brought on by the LTTE itself. The United Nations and the West-led international community failed to pressurize the fund raisers and supportive sympathizers in the West to curtail the terrorist activities of the LTTE.
While collateral damage remains a disputed topic, the benefits of ending the war are remarkable.

Specific allegations
Yet, HRC is highlighting only specific allegations, like the so-called white flag case, even after it was retracted by the very person who propagated it. The clear intention is to bring criminal charges against the accused. Hasn’t HRC thereby wittingly or unwittingly taken the LTTE atrocities out of the picture?
These allegations are currently being investigated. It should be, but with due consideration that is sorely lacking presently. Military personnel over the killing of politician and HR lawyer Nadarajah Raviraj, were the first to be detained, followed by the detention of nine military intelligence personnel for the disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda. A few months later, one-time hardcore LTTE terrorist Pillayan who ditched terrorism for mainstream politics was arrested over the killing of MP for the Batticaloa District Joseph Pararajasingham. Recently, another intelligence officer was taken in for the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunga.
Interestingly though, the suspect for Wickrematunga’s killing is the sole survivor of the Millennium City fiasco. Separatists have a score to settle with Pillayan for his defection and direct involvement in bringing the terrorist outfit down. Those taken for Ekneligoda’s case were involved in the highly sensitive Operation Double Edge, where terrorists who escaped capture were convinced to work with government forces to prevent a recurrence of terrorism, instead of regrouping. The government has failed to understand the damage caused to the Military Intelligence, which is a country’s first line of defence, by the clumsy investigations. Post-independent Sri Lankan history reveals that successive governments have failed to appreciate the importance of intelligence services, even as the LTTE did. The LTTE provided a vital clue in this regard in the infamous Ceasefire Agreement signed in 2002 when they demanded cessation of such operations. After the war, one-time high-ranking LTTE terrorist, ‘Col’ Thamilini, too mentions in her memoirs the lethal effect military intelligence had on their operations. Yet, even with the benefit of hindsight, the penny has not yet dropped.

5 Responses to “mechanism for justice or revenge?”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    This is revenge on those who won the war.

  2. Wetta Says:

    Quote “That’s where accountability comes in. I don’t think it extends to people who raised funds abroad or people who formed so-called governments and so on. Unfortunately, there’s no one surviving in the LTTE. If Prabhakaran was alive, he’ll have to account for thousands of deaths. But, none of those leaders are alive now. You can’t bring a dead person for trial. A person who is brought to trial has a right to defend himself.”

    Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic was poisoned and killed by CIA in his prison cell in 2002, yet his war crimes case proceeded until 2016 ! (Fortunately for Slobodan Milosevic, the court ruled that Slobodan Milosevic has not committed any war crimes) But it doesn’t matter now that the USA led evil states killed him and got the “revenge” they wanted.

    Strangely, at that time for the west, it didn’t matter if the accused was alive or not for court case to go ahead. I like to see Mr. Jayawickrama explains why the west didn’t drop the court case when Slobodan was killed in 2002, or whether Mr. Solobodan’s avatar came and defended himself at the trial.

  3. plumblossom Says:

    The missing persons commission, the name is a misnomer. it should be called ‘those combatants on all sides who died in the war i.e. Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force. Civil Defence Forces, IPKF, Tamil Armed Groups against the LTTE and the LTTE terrorists themselves and whose bodies have not be found’. Therefore the name itself is wrong and invented by the UNHRC to tarnish the image of the armed forces of Sri Lanka.

    The missing persons commission to date has receive 24,000 complaints from 1983-2009 period. Of this number over 5,000 are regarding missing Sri Lankan Forces members, whereabouts unknown, almost certainly executed by the LTTE terrorists. Over 12,000 complaints are against the LTTE itself recruiting young persons by coercion. Therefore over 70% of complaints are against the LTTE itself which amounts to over 17,000 complaints. The rest of the complaints are I am sure about the whereabouts of LTTE combatants or terrorists who died while fighting but whose bodies have not been found.

    My question is, why cannot the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India accept that Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force, Civil Defence Forces, IPKF, Tamil Armed Groups against the LTTE and the LTTE terrorists themselves died fighting in this war and leave it at that. What is the point in looking for these combatants now? Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India never ever talk about the over 35,000 Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force, civil Defence Force members who died in the war? or the 1,200 IPKF members or the over 2,000 Tamils Armed Groups against the LTTE members who died in the war? or the over 6,000-7,000 Sinhala civilians and even Muslims civilians who were massacred by the LTTE? or the around (my estimate) over 3,000 Tamil civilians massacred by the LTTE?

    Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India is not concerned about the over 10,000 Sri Lankan Forces members permanently disabled by the war, or the over 23,000 Sri Lankan Forces members both temporarily and permanently disabled by the war? or the over 136,000 Sri Lankan Forces members who were injured due to the war?

    Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India not concerned about the over 65,000 Sinhala people and over 75,000 muslims ethnically cleansed from the North?

    Why is it that the only the around 35,000 LTTE terrorists who died inclusive of Prabhakaran are the concern of the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India? Perhaps this missing persons commission should answer that question first.

  4. plumblossom Says:

    The missing persons, the name itself is a misnomer. When a soldier or an LTTE terrorist died in combat and a body was not found due to let us say the other side burying the body, the combatant is considered missing in action. Therefore the name of this commission should be ‘Those who died in the war on all sides and whose bodies have not been found’. Therefore now looking for all of these combatants whether LTTE terrorists or Sri Lanka Forces members is useless since it is a complete waste of time. Also what about all the navy personnel or even LTTE terrorists who died at sea, their bodies certainly would not have been found. So all of these combatants are missing in action.

    The missing persons commission to date has receive 24,000 complaints from 1983-2009 period. Of this number over 5,000 are regarding missing Sri Lankan Forces members, whereabouts unknown, almost certainly executed by the LTTE terrorists. Over 12,000 complaints are against the LTTE itself recruiting young persons by coercion. Therefore over 70% of complaints are against the LTTE itself which amounts to over 17,000 complaints. The rest of the complaints are I am sure about the whereabouts of LTTE combatants or terrorists who died while fighting but whose bodies have not been found.

    Therefore it is extremely clear that it is the LTTE which should be questioned about these missing persons and this treacherous yahapalanaya has placed our Sri Lankan Armed Forces in deep trouble for no reason as usual.

  5. plumblossom Says:

    In the missing persons act, a relative or a friend can make an official complaint to the OMP by e-mail the whereabouts of their relative or friend. There are over 8 lakhs to 10 lakhs Tamil diaspora asylum seekers (actually economic migrants), a majority of whom support the separatist terrorist LTTE and its aim of a separate state.

    If even 40,000 of these Tamil diaspora who support the separatist terrorist LTTE write bogus emails to the OMP inquiring the whereabouts of their friend or relative (but this friend or relative is actually living alongside them in these countries i.e. the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) these inquiries will officially be accepted by the OMP as 40,000 missing persons.

    In the OMP Act, even if the OMP inquires after these let us say 40,000 and finds out that these are all bogus inquiries and that all these 40,000 persons are actually living alongside the inquirer i.e. their relative or friend and these complaints about these persons being missing are all bogus, the missing persons, now found by the OMP, can request that their whereabouts not be revealed to their relative or friend or be made public. So officially these 40,000 persons will still be missing!!!

    Then the OMP will use these bogus 40,000 missing persons (who are actually living comfortably in the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) as ‘evidence’ that war crimes happened in Sri Lanka (and all these bogus inquiries will state that these persons went missing during the 2006-2009 period) and our Sri Lankan Forces will be persecuted for committing war crimes by a judicial process using these bogus email inquiries.

    The missing persons act states specifically that if the missing person who is found requests that the fact that they are found not be revealed to the public that person will remain as missing as far as the OMP is concerned. This is how the OMP will manufacture bogus evidence of 40,000 missing persons so that the Sri Lankan Armed Forces can be persecuted for committing bogus war crimes.

    The OMP emails cannot be checked by any outside body as stated in the act since all evidence (almost all bogus) gathered by the OMP remains confidential. The OMP cannot be taken to the supreme court on this issue. However OMP should be taken to the supreme court regarding what I have written above which is what would happen when this OMP is set up.

    The OMP will become a bogus evidence manufacturing machine which will gather such bogus inquiries via email from those members of the Tamil diaspora who are supportive of the LTTE terrorists and who will send bogus email inquiries in their thousands. All these bogus inquiries (of people who are actually living in in the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) will then be used as missing persons inquiries.

    I did not realize that the Sinhalese were this stupid as to allow such a process within the missing persons act which can be blatantly misused in order to manufacture bogus evidence like this. The OMP process is not transparent, it will happen in totally secrecy, no one in Sri Lanka will be able to question it, not our police, our courts, Sri Lankan citizens, nobody. All the OMP will do is gather bogus email ‘evidence’ such as described above to try the Sri Lankan Armed Forces for bogus war crimes which they never committed.

    The OMP process as described above must be stopped immediately. If a relative or a friend really and genuinely wants to find out about their genuinely missing relative or friend, they can make a complain to the OMP in person in public. This is the only way that Sri Lanka and the world will know that this inquiry is genuine. This was the methodology followed by the earlier Paranagama Commission which then received 24,000 complaints from relatives or friends of the missing persons but they complained in public in person to the commission. Even some of these complaints may be bogus too.

    The OMP should be stopped immediately since it is not a transparent process at all as described above. If the UNHRC, the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India, the TNA and the separatist terrorists genuinely want to find out about perished LTTE terrorists, this yahapalanaya government could expand the scope of the Paranagama Commission in order to make such inquiries. This process should be totally following Sri Lankan Law, within Sri Lankan jurisdiction, paid for totally by the Sri Lankan Government only and with only Sri Lankan citizens appointed as commission members and investigators. In fact the entire staff should be Sri Lankan citizens only. The process should be a totally domestic process with no interference or input whatsoever from foreign countries. Most importantly, all complaints should be made in person by relatives and friends in public if their complaint is genuine.

    The missing persons act as it is totally dangerous as pointed out above and should be dismissed totally as it is highly dangerous and a totally secretive process as described above to manufacture bogus evidence against the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

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