War Crimes: Trial of Adele Balasingham: From a Pub in Sydney becoming the Queen of Cyanide in Wanni
Posted on June 12th, 2009

By A Sri Lankan Child Protection Professional

 One way by which we can demonstrate the absolute correctness of the use of power to destroy the inhumanity of terror is to subject the captured to the judgement of law. This is the ultimate tribute that the  victorious power can offer to Reason. As written in the Nuremburg Charter ( Article 6 (c) we have to bring the remaining perpetrators of cruelty to justice in order that such human wrongs will not be committed on fellow citizens in the future. Inhumane acts committed against a civilian population in furthering the objectives of terror cannot be ignored without punishment.  Furthermore to subject children to cruelty has no equal in the annals of unimaginable atrocities against human kind. We who treasure our children should know the suffering of a parent if our children were to be thrown to the fire wall of an oncoming army, or held captive in a suicide outfit to be blown to bits. There is no human or animal being who will ever dream of sacrificing a child of any racial group. Being Buddhists we also have a belief that forever in our sojourn in this cycle of life we will never be privileged to enjoy the indescribable love of a child.

With that preamble I  now come to the subject proper. It was only the other day I saw the video clips of Adele Balasingham, the queen of the cyanide capsule neatly organising the cyanide necklaces to be draped around the necks of the poor Tamil girls in uniform. Many of these poor souls could not have been more than 13 -17 years old. The look in their eyes will tell you their anguish and terror better than I can ever describe to you in words. Mrs Balasingham, in casual, jovial mood was the big boss cum white queen showing off her authority in front of these captive girls. How any human person in the Diaspora, who contributed indirectly to this inhuman act, can ever absolve themselves of this cruelty, or not think that retribution will not come their way is beyond natural justice.

The weakness of the International law is that it only concerns emphatically with limits to sovereignty of states and not terrorist individuals or organisations and this is understandable because the international wars had conventions precluding the use of children and warring parties generally heeded the rule. But they need to recognize the fact that internecine wars and non international terrorism has brought another dimension as in Sri Lanka where the crimes against civilian populations are committed not by the state parties.  Tamil children were the biggest active group in the Sri Lankan war and the poor children were willingly or unwillingly given by the parents who also stand guilty until proven innocent.

International law is binding on states but not on groups and organisations which directly or indirectly assist the terrorist. The sad thing is that these groups and organisations are today harboured by the key nations who drafted these conventions. If the Human Rights Angels are sincere and competent in their cause, the crimes committed by terrorist groups need a separate law book and separate covenant. We were often saddened by the wavering attitude and reticence of UN and the giants of Democracy to Sri Lankan pleas when the civilians were brutally murdered by the terror gangs. The lukewarm response from UNSG was limited to a communiquĮՠթ condemning the brutality, and that was it, until the next killing. That depressing sameness reminded us of the blindness and partiality of the UN. Human rights and Ms Navi Pillai particularly should know that exposing 200,000 people as hostage is itself a grave crime that needs to go into law books from now on.

The culpability of Adele Balasingham has to be tried in Sri Lankan courts because we have fool proof evidence. The courts will judge her. On the other hand crimes against humanity as the one Adele may be guilty of can also tried by the International court as the signatory states to these conventions are legally bound to do so or else hand over  them to the country where the offences were committed. The offence is so serious that Adele can be tried in any country empowered by international law. Eichmann’s case proved that crimes against humanity can be tried anywhere and at any time. The precedent set at Nuremburg gives crimes of the kind committed by Adele a special status in international law by imposing an erga omnes obligation on every state to assist in the trial and punishment. This is the ambit of universal jurisdiction in instances of crimes against humanity to arrest and punish those criminals who hide in complicit states enjoying immunities under the rubric of liberal democracy as in UK.

The sovereign state of Sri Lanka must either request Britain where she is domiciled to try her for the crimes against humanity or request extradition to the country where the crime was committed so that Sri Lanka can produce her before the judiciary. The number of children who have worn the necklace garlanded by her hand may exceed 10,000 or more. Those who have perished may be a similar number. We must also prevent any possibility of injustice to Ms Balasingham through revenge because it will tarnish the Sri Lankan objectivity and impartiality if the correct procedure is not followed.  Malicious or partisan prosecution, as Geoffrey Robertson says, makes hollow the genuineness of the victory against the terrorism inflicted on Sri Lanka for the entirety of our adult life. The good thing about the efficacy of international law and universal jurisdiction is that there are no safe havens in 500,000 Pound houses for persons guilty of crimes against humanity. Though we are now extremely wary about the human rights angels, our faith in the international judiciary has not waned. Why crimes against humanity cannot be erased off our minds is because they were done in the name of an organisation which had the capacity to hold millions of people under its political suzerainty. These were crimes committed quite confidently by Adele in the hope that the political apparatus that she served will come to power and the gains of crime can be stashed away in a Swiss or British bank account.

 The interesting point is that on the face of the evidence which will be produced by Sri Lankan state party it will be to the detriment of Britain if she does not either assist in the extradition of Adele or try her in its own courts. No state party which is a signatory to the Rome statute can absolve itself of the responsibility bestowed on her by the statute. Of course Britain cannot be pressured by the World Bank or the IMF with economic collapse in the way that Mrs Hilary Clinton was preparing to take Sri Lanka before the International Court. Sri Lanka has changed the geopolitics of the region to such an extent that I am confident that Britain will agree to any extradition request to preserve her dignity as a true democracy and a friend of Sri Lanka. When the goal posts change in geo politics the players have to move to the new turf or go home with the ball. The choice is theirs. Our President and his brothers were not Einstein’s’ but were great political strategists of the sub continent. They demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the Empire died long time ago.

The world makes such a fuss about children and millions of dollars are apportioned for their well being. For all the INGO’s which consume that money this is an opportunity to fight for the Tamil children who have borne the brunt of unimaginable atrocity. For many of the Human rights people here is a serious job commensurate with the high salaries they are paid by the UN to assist Sri Lanka. Mrs Navaneetham Pillay and Ms Radhika Coomaraswamy it is crunch time for you. If you do not act humanity will judge you harshly.     

 

 

 

2 Responses to “War Crimes: Trial of Adele Balasingham: From a Pub in Sydney becoming the Queen of Cyanide in Wanni”

  1. shaz Says:

    What can the British public do about this dreadful woman. She should not have ever been allowed into our country. I saw a documentary about her many years ago and never forgot it. To see that woman, a white western woman, handing out cyanide capsules to Sri Lankan teenage girls and to see the look in their eyes was probably the worst thing I have ever seen. It is horrifying to think she is living in New Malden in Surrey where so many Tamils who came to this country have settled. Many of the children who arrived in the 1990s were either sent or brought by their parents to escape the threat of kidnap by the LTTE. These Tamils keep quiet, they do not shout and scream, they know the truth about the LTTE and what really happened in the North and West of Sri Lanka. It was so bad that parents sold everything and put their children on a plane to western european countries asking them to look after their chid. The truth is not often told, they were not running from Sri Lankan government but from the LTTE. Now she is living in their midst, this must end however much her henchmen squeal. Please for once Britain do the right thing for all the Sri Lankan people and send this child murderer back to them to be tried by a court of law. She is a disgrace to womanhood and one of the few people in the world who deserves no mercy. When Britain and the UN speak of crimes against humanity she should be top of their list.

  2. cassandra Says:

    It is a supreme irony that Adele Balasingham was a nurse one who,in terms of the noble vocation of nursing, was by definition, committed to preserving and saving life. How much more terrible, then, that she should have chosen to give these young women cyanide capsules to potentially end their lives. We must be thankful to the writer of this article for highlighting the case of this callous woman, and hope that she will be brought to justice. Perhaps, the likes of David Milliband might care to look at this person enjoying the hospitality of the British, with no censure or action against her.

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