Need to rebrand SL conflict
Posted on October 25th, 2016

By Neville Ladduwahetty Courtesy The Island

Decades prior to May 2009, when the ‘armed conflict’ in Sri Lanka ended, the conflict had been branded as an ‘ethnic’ one. Subsequently, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission in their report categorized it as a conflict between a state and a non-state actor. The Army in its report covering the period July 2006 to May 2009 branded the conflict as a Humanitarian Operation. The Darusman report and the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OISL), branded the conflict as an ‘armed conflict’ as per Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention since the LTTE had reached the threshold needed to qualify as a party to a Non-International Armed Conflict.

Despite the fact that the conflict is commonly referred to as an armed conflict, the defeat of the LTTE continues to be referred to as the defeat of a ruthless fascist terrorist outfit by some well informed and knowledgeable analysts and commentators. The question that needs to be addressed is: Which branding would enable Sri Lanka to honourably address the challenges from Geneva? Should it be categorized as a ‘separatist armed conflict’ governed by International Humanitarian Law, or as one defeating terrorism even though there is NO internationally accepted definition of terrorism?

IMPACT of PERSPECTIVES on ACCOUNTABILITY

The LTTE, like all terrorists, resorted to terrorism to instill fear and intimidate the public. Notwithstanding this reality, the Tamil community and in particular those in the diaspora, have succeeded in portraying the LTTE as ‘freedom fighters’ engaged in the task of establishing a separate state, as resolved in Vaddukodai in 1976. This has enabled the LTTE to gain the sympathy of the International Community, a.k.a the West, to the extent that the West sees them as victims and not as terrorists. This perspective has skewed the judgment of the West. The success with which the Tamil diaspora has played the “victim card” is evident from the remarks made last week by a Brooklyn Judge, while reducing the sentences by 10yr. of three persons convicted by the US for providing material support to a terrorist organization per UN Resolution 1373.

Federal Judge, Raymond Dearie is reported to have stated:

“I just believe in my heart of hearts that an injustice has been done and I can’t correct it…Now that we’ve become a little bit more sophisticated in our thinking about what is and is not terrorism, now that we know a lot more about the conflict in Sri Lanka and the horrors visited upon these people, perhaps there’s a way to provide a fair measure of justice to all without condemning these men to essentially a life behind bars” (Daily Mirror, October 14, 2016).

The foregoing reflects the mood in the West. That mood is that horrors were visited on the Tamil people. Altering the narratives propagated by the nearly million strong Tamil diaspora over decades is no easy task for any government, even if supported by expensive PR firms. Therefore, these efforts should be abandoned. Relief for having defeated a ruthless fascist terrorist outfit and contributing towards making the world safer, as commented by the UN Secretary General during his recent visit to Sri Lanka, is not going to change the mood in the West either. The only realistic and credible way out is through a legal approach that relies on the full provisions of International Humanitarian Law applicable to Non-International Armed Conflicts.

INTERNATIONAL PARAMETERS

The OISL report acknowledges that the international parameters that should guide accountability issues should be those relating to Non-International Armed Conflict, recognized as part of Customary Law.

Paragraphs 182 and 183 of the OISL report states:

182. “Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions relating to conflicts not of an international character is applicable to the situation in Sri Lanka, with all parties to the conflict being bound to respect the guarantees pertaining to the treatment of civilians and persons hors de combat contained therein. Common Article 3 binds all parties to the conflict to respect, as a minimum, that persons taking no direct part in hostilities as well as those placed hors de combat shall be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction”.

183. “In addition, the Government and armed groups that are parties to the conflict are bound alike by the relevant rules of customary international law applicable in non-international armed conflicts”

If the LTTE and the security forces are “bound alike”, to “respect the guarantees pertaining to the treatment of civilians” and to abide by the “relevant rules of customary international law”, why should the full focus on accountability be on the Government of Sri Lanka, with hardly any accountability being placed on the LTTE? One possible reason could be the failure of advisors to successive Sri Lankan governments to address issues of accountability based on the full scope of International Humanitarian Law. Unless these positions are re-visited there is little or no relief for those who gave their full measure of devotion, through life and limb, and the rest of the country through its treasure, to make the nation whole again.

Therefore, it is imperative that the conflict be rebranded as a “Separatist Armed Conflict”, in order to position Sri Lanka to take the stand that measures adopted were legitimate, given the unprecedented and extraordinary challenges presented by the LTTE when they took >350,000 civilians hostage as a “human shield”, and engaged nearly 6000 child soldiers to be combatants, in complete violation of customary international law. Furthermore, measures adopted by the Sri Lankan Government and its security forces were legitimate, because they were engaged in the task to “defend the national unity and territorial integrity of the state” in keeping with Article 3 of UN Additional Protocol II of 1977.

BUILD-UP TOWARDS the ARMED  CONFLICT

The strategy adopted by the LTTE was to commit acts of terrorism coupled with a propaganda campaign that the “war was unwinnable”. This campaign was carried out both nationally and internationally with a view to demoralizing the public and weakening the resolve of the political establishment into signing a Cease Fire Agreement. The campaign that the war was unwinnable became so convincing that the LTTE came to believe in its own invincibility: a fact evident from the scope of the Interim Self Governing Authority submitted by them. This mindset prompted the LTTE to equip itself to launch an all out campaign to militarily defeat the Sri Lankan State and establish the separate state of Tamil Eelam. Thus, issues relating to the conflict should be addressed from the stand point that it was a Separatist Armed Conflict rather than from the standpoint of defeating a ruthless fascist terrorist outfit.

The validation of the conflict as an ‘armed conflict’ by the OISL entitles Sri Lanka to deploy the full range of International Humanitarian Law developed over the years by the very agents who insist that Sri Lanka be held accountable for strategies adopted during the conflict. Such an approach would entitle Sri Lanka to exploit the full range of the provisions of International Humanitarian Law under provisions of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol II of 1977. This would give Sri Lanka the opportunity to meet challenges presented using customary rules set by the International Community, without having to plead our case before prejudiced arbitrators.

COUNTING CIVILIAN DEATHS

The principal charge against Sri Lanka is the number of civilian deaths. Given below are extracts from the OISL report that gives an idea of the background in which these deaths occurred:

Paragraph 86: “By the end of January 2009, the LTTE was severely diminished as a fighting force…and had to rely on new and ill-trained recruits to fill its ranks”.

Paragraph 87: “This period was marked by the … forced recruitment of adult and children by the LTTE and coercive measures to stop civilians leaving the conflict area”.

Paragraph 1267: “counting or estimating the exact number of civilian casualties during the different stages of the armed conflict is impossible …”.

This background together with the two principal rules governing International Humanitarian Law of DISTINCTION and PROPORTIONALITY should guide Sri Lanka to explain the circumstances with which issues of accountability should be addressed. The following is based on ICRC Customary law, Vol. 87, March 2005:

The Principles of Distinction

Rule 1: “The parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilians and combatants. Attacks may only be directed against combatants. Attacks must not be directed against civilians”.

Rule 2: “Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited”.

Rule 3: “All members of the armed forces of a party to the conflict are combatants, except medical and religious personnel”.

Rule 4: “The armed forces of a party to the conflict consist of all organized armed forces, groups and units which are under a command responsible to that party for the conduct of its subordinates”.

Rule 5: “Civilians are persons who are not members of the armed forces. The civilian population comprises all persons who are civilians”.

Rule 6: “Civilians are protected against attack, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities”.

Proportionality in Attack

Rule 14: “Launching an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated, is prohibited”.

There is irrefutable evidence in UN and other reports that as a policy the LTTE took measures to discard their distinguishing uniforms thereby obscuring distinction between them and civilians. There is also irrefutable evidence that civilians participated as combatants; some voluntarily and others under coercion. In addition, civilians also directly participated in support of the hostilities. Consequently, all of them lose the right of protection by being combatants one way or another. In such a background, it is humanly not possible to identify who is a combatant and who is not, whether during the armed conflict or afterwards, because it would be impossible to distinguish between combatants and bona fide noncombatants and if distinguishing a civilian from a combatant was impossible, it follows that it is also not possible to ascertain whether the military advantage gained by the planned attack was proportionate or not. Furthermore, it is also not possible to determine who among the dead was a civilian and who was a combatant. In view of the particularities of the circumstances that prevailed, in particular after >350,000 civilians were taken hostage, the principle of proportionality becomes inapplicable.

VIOLATION of PRINCIPLES of DISTINCTION and PROPORTIONALITY

Paragraph 184 of the OISL report states:

“International humanitarian law prohibits direct attacks on persons not taking direct part in hostilities …Obligations of parties to the conflict in the conduct of hostilities are governed by the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution at all times”.

It must be granted that as a strategy, violating the principle of distinction was to the advantage of the LTTE. Therefore, it is natural to expect the LTTE to present themselves as civilians, conveying the impression that they were “not taking direct part in hostilities”. It must then follow that a strategy where combatants conceal themselves as civilians would result in the violation of principles of proportionality, because of the inability to distinguish between those who took direct part in hostilities and those who did not.

In addition to violating principles of distinction with consequences on principles on proportionality, other violations such as locating military hardware in the vicinity of civilians and hospitals also compromised the safety of civilians. All of these actions should be understood in the context that the LTTE was fully aware that their military capabilities were severely diminished; a condition that would naturally have forced them to resort to whatever diabolical means possible, to test the ultimate resolve of the Sri Lankan Government and the Defense Forces. Attempting to hold Sri Lanka accountable for meeting such extraordinary challenges through a judicial process is unjustifiable because the physical circumstances in which they happened cannot be recreated. Furthermore, attempting to continue with a judicial process would in the circumstances be based only on the subjectivity of the narrator. Therefore, in the name of Justice itself, the Geneva process should be abandoned.

The question to successive governments and security forces is why these legitimate arguments were not presented during any of the discourses in Geneva or in any other national or international forums. The approach that Sri Lanka should take is to present its case founded on principles of International Humanitarian Law, and call on Geneva to refute the legitimacy of the arguments. Unless such a bold initiative is adopted, the fate of the soldiers who defended the integrity of the State would be in jeopardy – an unacceptable situation for any sovereign nation.

CONCLUSION

Although Sri Lanka and many other nations saw the defeat of the LTTE as the defeat of a ruthless fascist terrorist outfit, the Tamil diaspora in the West has succeeded in convincing the International Community that members of the LTTE were freedom fighters. Such perceptions have even affected the Halls of Justice in the USA, judging from the remarks of a Federal Judge Raymond Dearie, who stated: “I just believe in my heart of hearts that an injustice has been done and I can’t correct it…Now that we’ve become a little bit more sophisticated in our thinking about what is and is not terrorism, now that we know a lot more about the conflict in Sri Lanka and the horrors visited upon these people, perhaps there’s a way to provide a fair measure of justice to all without condemning these men to essentially a life behind bars” (Daily Mirror, October 14, 2016). The result of this perception was to reduce a 25 year prison term by 10 years for providing material support to the LTTE.

Therefore, hoping to find relief on grounds that Sri Lanka made the world safe by defeating the world’s most ruthless outfit is futile. Instead, the approach should be to present the factual circumstances and the extraordinary challenges that the security forces had t o face because of the violation of nearly every tenet of International Humanitarian Law by the LTTE including complete disregard for principles of Distinction and Proportionality that are the very foundation of Armed Conflict. What happened in Sri Lanka was precipitated by the actions of the LTTE who as a party to the conflict violated every possible rule under the Rules of International Humanitarian Law, and for the security forces to overcome those challenges and restore the national unity and territorial integrity of the State as endorsed by Article 3 of Additional Protocol II of 1977. Attempts to hold judicial inquiries are unacceptable because if justice is to be served, it would require the recreation of the unprecedented circumstances that had existed before these actions are judged. Since these circumstances cannot be recreated, the Geneva process should be abandoned.

What is taking place in Sri Lanka is no different to what is happening in UK, where “Former soldiers have claimed that they have been hounded through courts on unfounded claims and there are growing calls for the Ihat (Iraq Historic Allegations Team) to be shut down” (British Guardian, quoted in Sunday Times, October 16, 2016). A Downing Street statement issued recently stated: “The Prime Minister spoke of her pride in the UK armed forces and praised the work they do to keep our nation safe. She said that every effort must be made to prevent any abuse of the legal system, and restated her determination to protect the armed forces against any instances of vexatious complaints” (Ibid).

Clearly, the entire approach of Geneva to Sri Lanka has been nothing but a collection of politically motivated “vexatious complaints” – more reason as to why the Geneva initiated accountability process should be abandoned.

According to Article 3 of the Additional Protocol II, nothing shall be invoked to affect a sovereign State from using “all legitimate means” to “defend the national unity and territorial integrity of that State”. The threshold for what is legitimate when it comes to defending the national unity and the territorial integrity of a State should be lower than what is legitimate when it comes to invading countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya. This difference is reflected in the immortal words of the Gettysburg address wherein President Abraham Lincoln “dedicated a portion of that field as a final resting place FOR THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES THAT THAT NATION MIGHT LIVE” (emphasis mine). Having dedicated a portion of the field as a final resting place ONLY to those gave their lives so that the nation might live, for a US State Dept. official to kneel and lay a wreath for those who attempted to dismember the nation of Sri Lanka, reflects confused perspectives.

13 Responses to “Need to rebrand SL conflict”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Neville

    Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the Additional Protocol II (for good reasons) and therefore cannot use it for and against.

    This is not true.

    [Although Sri Lanka and many other nations saw the defeat of the LTTE as the defeat of a ruthless fascist terrorist outfit, the Tamil diaspora in the West has succeeded in convincing the International Community that members of the LTTE were freedom fighters.]

    The “international community” is fully aware of LTTE as a terrorist group. That is why USA, EU, India and other countries banned it as a terrorist group. They are fully aware of the horrors of Tamil terrorism.

    However, they find Tamil separatism and terrorism useful for their geopolitical agendas. Another example is Saudi Arabia. The international community is fully aware of horrendous war crimes and human rights abuses of the Kingdom but always turns away as that is more beneficial to them.

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    Our thanks to Mr Ladduwahetty for analysing further the Conflict in Sri Lanka.
    He has brought up a number of very valid points here.

    ———–

    UN Protocol II (1977) addresses concerns regarding victims of armed internal conflicts.

    But the UN is NOT concerned, and has NO Laws in place to protect :

    * What Laws in the UN protects countries such as Sri Lanka from internal terrorism organised by another country ?

    E.g. INDIA trained the terrorist group, the LTTE, in Tamil Nadu, and set them loose in Sri Lanka, resulting in terrorism of nearly 30 yrs.
    Does the UN have Laws to prevent such aggression toward Lanka from a large neighboring country ?

    * Also, what Laws in the UN protects countries such as Sri Lanka from other powerful countries IMPOSING under DURESS Laws made outside Sri Lanka ?

    E.g. INDIA imposed the 13-A (made in INDIA), under DURESS on Sri Lanka when J.R. Jayawardena was President of Sri Lanka (1987). The 13-A is still part of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
    Does the UN have any Laws to protect Lanka from such aggression from a large and powerful country such as INDIA ?

    If the UN does not have the necessary Laws in place to protect small countries, then the UN system is flawed, and the flaws must be rectified.

  3. Dilrook Says:

    It is a unique case. Not exactly a non-international armed conflict and not an international armed conflict either. Tamil terrorists were financed, trained and armed by elements in foreign countries. These countries allowed and at times deliberately helped them. Therefore, Tamils must not be entitled to the protections non-international armed conflicts give them. It was not an international conflict either because LTTE was not representing a nation. As Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the Addition Protocols II, it cannot be used against us and we cannot use it for our defence.

    Whatever the definition is, certain facts remain. It was an armed conflict (war) and rules of armed conflict must apply. Civilian casualties are allowed within conditions in armed conflicts. War crimes committed by Tamils must be investigated as these account for most of war crimes in the war.

    From 2009 to 2015, it had an added complexity that prevented using the legal framework (which costed the country). Those in power were aware of the fallout in the north, east and other parts of Tamil population if the matter was defined as an armed conflict. For instance, bombing a school in Sencholai (2006) was perfectly legal once the matter is defined as an armed conflict. But how would Tamils feel? Similarly, damages sustained by hospitals LTTE used as human shields can be easily justified under laws applicable to armed conflicts. But once again Tamils will never buy that argument. For Tamils, it will be the government justifying “killing civilians”. The then regime feared this political fallout which would affect them electorally. Now that they are not in power (and they have nothing to gain or lose from Tamils), the government can define this as an armed conflict and allow the justification (at that time) of these actions that may have resulted in civilian casualties. Along with an investigation into war crimes committed by various Tamil groups (most notably Tamil civilians, political parties and the LTTE Rump), this is the best defence for Sri Lanka.

    Other complicating matters include not officially declaring war but using methods and machines of war. This will badly affect Sri Lanka in a war crimes investigation. However, it was politically and morally correct. Some rather foolishly argue that there was no war! If this was the case, Sri Lanka is in very serious breach of war crimes laws as it used machines and methods of war without a war resulting in death and destruction. Our inability to keep morality separate from legality is another huge problem. A simple example is theft. You can do the legal crime of theft on your own property! But morally it is no crime. War crimes is a legal issue for Sri Lanka, not a moral issue.

    In summary, 4 issues complicate the matter against us. Limited applicability of Additional Protocols II for us as we are not a signatory (this has more good than bad), Tamil-appeasing politics since 2009, undeclared war and confusing morality with legality. The result is poor Sinhala rural youth (soldiers) will have to pay for these and the country too (unless the blame is put on politicians in which case both soldiers and the nation can be saved).

  4. plumblossom Says:

    Why is this writer and other writers repeating here the lies being concocted up by the LTTE terrorists supporters etc. and providing such lies publicity again and again and again? Why provide these lies publicity again and again and are we not doing a great injustice to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces by repeating the totally bogus allegations of the Darusman Report, the Petrie Report, the US,EU,UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada and the OHCHR?

    The facts are that around 300,000 people were rescued by the Sri Lankan Army. Between February and May 2009 up to 36,000 persons inclusive of LTTE terrorists were ferried by the ICRC from Puthamathalan to Pulmuddai. Of the 300,000 persons who were rescued and the 36,000 ferried, around 12,000 were LTTE cadres or terrorists who were rehabilitated and released into society.

    We know between 2006-2009 over 6,261 Sri Lankan Security Forces personnel perished. Quite a few hundred police personnel in addition would have also perished. Around 1,000 Sri Lankan Security Forces personnel in addition may be missing in action presumed dead. Around 10,000 LTTE terrorists would have died too between 2006 and 2009. However civilians would have not been affected and may be around a few hundred civilians would have perished, it is true. We know that during the very last weeks of May, around one hundred civilians were shot at and killed by the LTTE terrorists when they tried to cross over to the Sri Lankan Army side.

    Therefore the lies being told by the LTTE supporters etc. should not be provided publicity falsely implicating us for no reason and these lies should not be provided publicity again and again for no reason whatsoever.

    The LTTE massacred over 35,000 Sri Lankan Armed Forces members, Police Force members and Civil Defence Force members over 6000-7000 overwhelmingly Sinhala but also Muslim civilians, 1,253 Indian Peacekeeping Forces (IPKF) members, over 2,000 Tamil Armed Group members who supported the Government of Sri Lanka and who were against the LTTE, around 3,000 Tamil civilians and all this add up to 47,000. Around 35,000 LTTE terrorists are estimated to have perished too. In all around 84,000 in total have perished on both sides in the war of over 26 years. This is the reality that any decent writer must discuss not provide publicity to lies and totally bogus allegations of the LTTE terrorist supporters, the Darusman Report, the Petrie Report, US, EU, UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada and the OHCHR which will not do us any good whatsoever.

  5. plumblossom Says:

    The LTTE massacred over 35,000 Sri Lankan Armed Forces members, Police Force members and Civil Defence Force members over 6000-7000 overwhelmingly Sinhala but also Muslim civilians, 1,253 Indian Peacekeeping Forces (IPKF) members, over 2,000 Tamil Armed Group members who supported the Government of Sri Lanka and who were against the LTTE, around 3,000 Tamil civilians and all this add up to 47,000. Around 35,000 LTTE terrorists are estimated to have perished too. In all around 84,000 in total have perished on both sides in the war of over 26 years.

    As you can see it is the brutal LTTE terrorists who massacred over 47,000 mainly Sri Lankan Armed Forces members, Police Force members, Civil Defence Force members in over 26 years of war. Over 23,000 Sri Lankan Armed Forces members are today both temporarily and permanently disabled due to the war. Over 13,000 Sri Lankan Armed Forces members are permanently disabled due to the war. Over 156,000 Sri Lankan Armed Forces members have been injured due to the war. Over 6,000-7,000 overwhelmingly Sinhala but also Muslim civilians have been massacred by the LTTE terrorists in the war of over 26 years.

    The LTTE terrorist group also ethnically cleansed the entire Sinhala and Muslim population of the Northern Province, of over 65,000 Sinhala people and over 75,000 Muslim people of the Northern Province in the 1980s and the 1990s. The LTTE also ethnically cleansed the entire Sinhala population of the Batticaloa District in the East of over 25,000 Sinhala people.

    Today, the Sinhala people and their descendants of over 135,000 are yet to be resettled in the North and in the Batticaloa District and Muslims of over 115,000 are yet to be resettled in the North. Uptil 2012, of the above number, around 32,000 Sinhala people and around 32,000 Muslims has been resettled in the North.

    The LTTE terrorist group recruited over 20,000 child soldiers, all Tamil youth, as attested by UNICEF itself which stated in 2007 that perhaps the LTTE has recruited over 20,000 young persons under the age of 18 years into its cadre between 1983-2007 inclusive.

    The LTTE was notorious for its horrific terror tactics such as large scale bomb attacks and the use of suicide bombers in carrying out hundreds of attacks against mainly Sinhala civilians and the country’s leadership, horrific attacks against Sinhala civilians using IED devices, claymore mines and bombs, the massacre of Sinhala villagers in their villages in the North Central, Eastern, Northern and North Western Provinces, the coerced recruitment or abduction of Tamil youth and children for recruitment as child soldiers, forced money collection from Tamils with threats to life in case of non-compliance, attacks on Sri Lanka’s economic infrastructure such as the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), Sri Lanka’s the then only international airport, oil storage facilities, hotels, planes, buses, trains etc. ethnic cleansing of Sinhalese and Muslims from the North and East of Sri Lanka, the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the systematic assassination of over 120 noteworthy Sri Lankan politicians, civil servants, senior military and police officers, prelates, activists, academics, journalists and other professionals who were assassinated by the LTTE who were but a few of the hundreds of assassinations carried out by the LTTE, including the former Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    At the end of the day, when one looks at the systems in place in the world – the UN system especially, on which system all small countries depend so very much for Justice & Truth – is FLAWED !
    It is just a pretense toward Justice & Truth.
    It favors bully countries that override Justice & Truth to achieve all sorts of objectives, most of it inimical to the small recipient countries.

    The Million Dollar Question : Has the UN System meted out Justice in the case of Sri Lanka ?

    In turn, has Sri Lanka told the world the true Grievances of Sri Lanka regarding the Tamil Separatist Conflict or their own internal conflicts e.g. the JVP in the past ? NO ! It has been left to the civil population to do so.
    The GsoSL, past & present, have been gagged, much to the delight of the Local Agents of Super Powers, Cold War players, etc.

    Sri Lanka is NOT a killing field for Tamil Nadu !

    To put it simply :
    If plenty of Food is available anywhere, people will multiply fast. It takes only 9 months to create a Human life on Earth.

    Among the many things to be done in the future for Peace in Lanka :
    It is far kinder to give FREE birth control to all adult citizens who want that, rather than have wars to reduce populations.
    The Man : Land ratio must be maintained.

    Wake up Lanka !
    Do what HAS to be done.
    DO what is within our controls, irrespective of outside powers.

  7. nilwala Says:

    As far as I understand the author’s position, it is meant to remind the public that the legal arguments using the “Armed Conflict” strategy are what will be the most effective in clearing the Army in Geneva’s pursuit of Accountability. It will be the most effective defense that cannot be legally challenged. Since Geneva pressures still go on apace, they need to be confronted, not brushed under the carpet, nor attempted to be smoothened out, if Sri Lanka’s dignity and its culture as a nation are to be preserved. Indeed the Army was exemplary in the way it handled the battle to defeat the most notoriously cruel and ruthless LTTE. There is no better strategy than that of an “armed conflict” in which CIVILIAN and CADRE WERE INDISTINGUISHABLE, and the other applicable factors that define such, be the grounds for legal defense.

    To Dilrook: Sri Lanka not being a signatory to Additional Protocol II does NOT exonerate it from the latter’s contents, as Protocol II is an extension of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, which has been signed by Sri Lanka.
    Furthermore, the world has accepted that Customary Laws of Nations apply to armed conflicts, and this position regarding Customary Laws is included in the Sri Lanka Constitution.

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    more ….

    During the conflict, the LTTE deliberately ‘holed up’ in schools & hospitals. I think they did this quite deliberately so that the Armed Forces would hesitate to attack such places.

    The Armed Forces of Lanka did not have a choice but to engage with the terrorists holed up in schools & hospitals.

    The UN uses WORDS to dodge and play the international Games, favoring some and letting down others.

    Plumblossom is quite right – the UN & IC IGNORE the fact that the Armed Forces of Lanka saved over 300,000 Tamil civilians (LTTE Human Shield) from the LTTE.

    From the UN we are asking a heartfelt request for fairplay in INTERNATIONAL ACTIONS, especially in the current situation Sri Lanka is facing re ‘War Crimes’.

    “All sentient beings love their Life”
    “Trustful are kinsmen best”
    – The Buddha

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    Agree with Nilwala.

    Talk the talk in the same UN language.

  10. Dilrook Says:

    @Nilwala

    I agree the Sri Lankan conflict must be defined as an armed conflict.

    However, I disagree that Sri Lanka or any other country that has not signed and ratified the Additional Protocols II are bound by its specific (emphasised) contents. This helped Sri Lanka during the war. Had we signed and ratified Additional Protocols II, we would be burdened by a higher duty of care towards enemy combatants and the use of APMs. On the other hand, it would have helped Sri Lanka too. Overall, it was good Sri Lanka didn’t sign and ratify it.

    The best defence would have been to launch an investigation into war crimes of the TNA, TULF, LTTE Rump, LTTE, NGOs, India, complacent western nations, etc. and use the findings to tame them down. That was not done.

    Governments since 2009 are reluctant to seek the advantages of defining it as an armed conflict to justify killing (Tamils – mostly terrorists in our definition, civilians in Tamil definition). This is a huge problem that places soldiers and officers at risk to save Tamil votes for politicians. Sadly, it leaves soldiers and officers with only one option to save the good name of the army and themselves – frame politicians in war crimes. The madness of Tamil appeasement is responsible for this split.

  11. plumblossom Says:

    There is a National Geographic article is full of lies in the November 2016 issue of the National Geographic. It is overseen by that Samantha Power. All the statistics provided in the article are completely bogus and total lies. Sinhala people and Sinhala Buddhists are depicted as demons or worse. I think it is extremely racist towards the Sinhala people and beyond racist, it is insulting. I think it is fair to say the article is written to persecute the Sinhala people. The previous government is demonised. The Sri Lankan Armed Forces are depicted as demons and worse.

    I think the idiotic Sri Lankan Government should take up the grossly insulting contents of this article with the highest levels of the US Government. Failure to do so will mean almost endorsing all the untruths that have been written there. This Yahapalanaya Government is without a doubt the most treacherous government to ever govern Sri Lanka to our great misfortune. They will end up endorsing an Eelam as the US imperialists want the way things are going.

  12. nilwala Says:

    In response to Dilrook:

    Customary laws which have come to include the Protocol II as an extension of Common Article 3, will prevail in any legal argument. This can be argued against by Dilrook, but will finally be decided by the ICJ/ICC or equivalent if challenged as such.

    It goes against all UN Conventions which are Internationally drafted laws directed towards maintaining Peace, if “armed conflicts” are to end in generating contest and confrontation between politicians and the military. It was not the objective of the drafters in the West, for it could be directed at their own Governments. Therefore, as I see it, it would not happen in Sri Lanka either.

  13. nilwala Says:

    That said, very glad to have Dilrook agree that the definition of the Sri Lankan war as an “armed conflict” would help the Defense Forces.

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