OHCHR International Investigation has no proof against Sri Lanka’s Military: Stop the Witch Hunt
Posted on October 8th, 2015

Shenali D Waduge

In 2014 Navi Pillay appointed 3 international experts to investigate Sri Lanka. Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, Dame Silvia Cartwright, former High Court judge of New Zealand, and Asma Jahangir, former President of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. The previous report personally initiated by UNSG Ban Ki Moon became the foundation for successive resolutions and investigations which is now being challenged by a domestic court in Sri Lanka for its illegality. UN will obviously use its immunity to hide its illegality but the fact that illegalities are taking place and shape is the message that should be conveyed to all UN General Assembly members. The present international investigation has failed to substantiate war crimes violations as per Geneva Conventions and IHL in relation to non-international armed conflict. In such a scenario when 2 international investigations with international experts have failed to provide clear proof with solid evidence why is there any need for another hybrid court which is a ruse to change the entire domestic systems at all levels (judiciary, legislative and executive) and have it under complete control of the UN & the West and minions like India?

The Lies

  • On what basis can the Panel claim that there has been ‘discernible patterns of killings, for instance in the vicinity of security force checkpoints and military bases and also of individuals while in custody of security forces”. How can the panel make such a blanket statement like this without giving solid evidence? (unlawful killings)

The Contradictions

  • If the report as per Summary says that it contains the principal findings ‘during the armed conflict in Sri Lanka’ why is it covering the period after May 2009?
  • If the report as said in the Introduction was to cover the period covered by the LLRC why has the OHCHR exceeded the mandate by extending the investigation to 2011?
  • If the accusation is that war crimes have been committed how can the accusations change just because ‘signals of engagement’ comes from the newly elected Government (Intro.2)?
  • OHCHR report says that the report represents a ‘human rights investigation, not a criminal investigation’ but says that the team ‘attempted to identify the patterns of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law perpetrated not only during the final stage of the armed conflict but during the whole period covered by investigation’ (this does not make any sense)
  • Denial of humanitarian assistance : on what basis is the Team claiming that it found ‘considerable restrictions on freedom of movement’ when it clearly says that the LTTE denied people freedom of movement?

Questionable statements in report

·         executed by a number of perpetrators within a hierarchical command structure. Such systemic acts cannot be treated as ordinary crimes but, if established in a court of law, may constitute international crimes, which give rise to command as well as individual responsibility” (on what grounds has these experts come to this conclusion?)

  • the report is submitted to the Human Rights Council in a very different context to the one in which it was mandated” (how can the OHCHR do this? Using what clause or provision has the OHCHR changed the report?
  • When the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 25/1 the Government of Sri Lanka ‘categorically and unreservedly rejected’ and refused to engage ‘in any related process’ – why has the HRC not given why the GOSL rejected resolution 25/1?
  • If the GOSL vilified the OHCHR investigation in public didn’t the GOSL have reason to when blank forms repeatedly signed by the same people were being filled by pro-LTTE groups and submitted as witness statements for which the OHCHR did not give a satisfactory reply?
  • If OHCHR claims of unrelenting campaign of intimidation and harassment against witnesses and representatives of civil society why have they not cited these names?
  • Why is there a need to include details of the January Presidential election, the election of a PM, a 100-day program of constitutional reforms, 19th amendment, and constitutional council – making it very fishy that all these changes were part of an overall western regime change program! Moreover the report goes to length to praise the new UNF for Good Governance and says that since January 2015 there has been ‘freedom of expression’. Other noteworthy remarks was the report’s mention of the appointment of 2 governors, the removal of checkpoints leading to the North but noted demilitarization has yet to happen. Are these not interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka and violating Article 41 of the Vienna Charter on Diplomatic Relations?
  • Why is the report going to lengths to write about food insecurity, inflation, lack of livelihood opportunities when their scope did not cover these aspects?
  • Can the investigators be allowed to use blanket phrases ‘in the militarized context-affected areas, they are extremely vulnerable to sexual harassment, exploitation and violence’ what subtle implications are they trying to insinuate?
  • How can the report claim ‘existence of secret and unacknowledged places of detention’ when the present Justice Minister in June denied the existence of such. http://www.colombomirror.com/?p=3629 which the foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera also confirmed http://english.ttnnews.com/2015/05/09/mangala-samaraweera-has-denied-the-existence-of-secret-detention-camps-in-sri-lanka/
  • On what basis does the international panel have any right to say that the GOSL has ‘not yet taken steps to delist the numerous Tamil Diaspora organizations and individuals proscribed under the PTA’ while omitting to mention that these Diaspora organizations were named and banned under UNSC Resolution 1373 as LTTE fronts.
  • The HRC report cites the work of an NGO Freedom from Torture: Tainted Peace: Torture in Sri Lanka since May 2009” however the The Executive Committee of the Sri Lanka United National Association of Canada released a statement that report is based on alleged torture of about a dozen former Tamil Tiger fighters who escaped to the UK with the help of the LTTE front organizations at the conclusion of the armed warfare between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka Army which was concluded on May 19, 2009. It is apparent that these persons would not qualify for entry to the UK, and most likely agreed to be subjected to their bodies being burned with hot irons, cigarette butts, etc, at the hands of paid operators in the UK in order to make a case for asylum in that country and demonize Sri Lanka at the same time.” http://www.eyesrilanka.com/2015/09/29/tamil-tiger-front-organizations-produced-fabricated-reports-and-documentaries-at-the-unhrc-sessions/
  • The HRC is also citing incidents of hate speech against the Muslims by producing reports of a Muslim NGO Secretariat for Muslims’ which questions the credibility and authenticity of HRC’s claim.
  • HRC says that their findings point to ‘system crimes’ but has not been able to ‘establish the identity of those responsible’ but claims there are reasonable grounds to believe ‘gross violations of international human rights law, serious violations of international humanitarian law and international crimes’ amount to war crimes. (Principal findings of the investigation (IV) Having said above the Panel says ‘there are reasonable grounds to believe the Sri Lankan Security Forces and paramilitary groups associated with them were implicated in unlawful killings” how on earth did the Panel reach this conclusion?
  • The report says ‘on the basis of the information obtained by the investigation team” (though who has provided the information is not given) there are reasonable ‘grounds to believe ‘the Sri Lankan Security forces and paramilitary groups associated with them were implicated in unlawful killings”
  • If the investigation team says it has ‘documented long-standing patterns of arbitrary arrest and detention by government security forces and of abduction by paramilitary linked to them’ where is the documented evidence?
  • On what substantiated proof and with what credible evidence is the Panel claiming that these abductions are taking place in ‘white vans’ and why is the Panel taking pains to link this to the PTA and seeking its removal through its report?
  • Where is the ‘information’ that the team has been privy to for the Team to claim ‘widespread and systematic manner’?
  • What are the ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ and based on which evidence is the Team saying that enforced disappearances may have been committed as part of ‘widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population given the geographical scope’ and what is the ‘time frame’ that the Team is implying?
  • On what grounds that the Team says that ‘those who disappeared after handing themselves over to the army at the end of the conflict were deliberately targeted’ when 11,000 of the LTTE cadres who surrendered are all alive and 594 child soldiers were given a Presidential Pardon? With such hard proof what is the proof that the Panel has to say otherwise?
  • Where is the ‘documented’ proof that the Sri Lankan security forces used torture after the armed conflict?
  • What is the proof that ‘LTTE members and civilians were detained en masse’
  • If the Panel says it has ‘documented proof’ why is the Panel saying ‘if established before a court of law, these acts may depending on the circumstances amount to crimes against humanity and/or war crimes? Why is the Panel trying to pull wool over everyone’s eyes.
  • What is the ‘information’ that the Panel has gathered to make them feel that rape and other forms of sexual violence by security forces was widespread in the aftermath of the armed conflict? Didn’t the story of Nandani highlight the lies taking place and the fact that there were offices in the UK charging upto sterling pounds 6000 to be burnt by cigarette butts in the UK so that they could claim asylum after being coached to say that the Sri Lankan soldiers tortured them?  https://tamiltigeractivities.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/caught-red-handed-unhrc-blank-war-crimes-forms-in-the-hands-of-tna-ltte/ http://www.onlanka.com/news/unhrc-investigation-on-sri-lanka-an-organized-fraudulent-submission-process-favours-tamils-and-not-sinhalese-or-muslim-victims.html /http://www.sinhalanet.net/unhrc-investigates-sri-lanka-what-happens-when-the-other-side-is-caught-collecting-blank-submission-forms-with-signatures

The Panel on LTTE

  • reasonable grounds to believe that the LTTE also unlawfully killed Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese civilians perceived to hold sympathies contrary to LTTE”
  • LTTE targeted rival Tamil political parties, suspected informers and dissenting Tamils, including political figures, public officials and academics as well as members of rival paramilitary groups.
  • civilians were among the many killed or injured in indiscriminate suicide bombings and claymore mine attacks carried out by LTTE.
  • If these are confirmed by a court of law and may amount to war crimes/crimes against humanity who in the LTTE will face trial since Prabakaran and key LTTE ground leaders are dead?
  • Where is the source of information that the Panel has of a pattern of abduction leading to the forced recruitment of adults by LTTE until 2009? (why is there no reference to LTTE recruitment during the conflict)
  • If the Panel says the LTTE’s abductions/forced recruitment and forced labor violated common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and obligations under international humanitarian law who in the LTTE will take this accountability?
  • What is the source of the documented evidence that the Panel has on LTTE’s recruitment and use of children in armed conflict?
  • When the TMVP Karuna Group had split from the LTTE why is the Panel only concentrating on them – are they implying that only TMVP recruited children and the LTTE did not? Moreover the UN were well aware of LTTE’s child recruitment, a Tamil served as UN Special Rapporteur and questions what the UN system and she did to protect these children other than writing reports and taking accolades for them!
  • The Investigation team claims that the Sri Lankan Troops may have known that the Karuna Group recruited children and cites this as a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol. Using this same argument when the UN with all its reports of child recruitment by the LTTE it questions the UN’s own violation of its own laws too! What the Team is obviously trying to do is to target only Karuna exonerating the LTTE leaders for their recruitment of children.
  • LTTE had a clear high-level policy of preventing civilians from leaving the Vanni, thereby unlawfully interfering with their freedom of movement.”
  • The policy hardened in January 2009 although the specific instructions on how LTTE cadres should prevent anyone from leaving have yet to be clarified’.
  • information gathered indicate that a number of individuals including several children were shot dead, injured or beaten by LTTE cadres as they tried to leave, in contravention of their right to life and physical integrity”….these acts are violation of international humanitarian law … and may amount to a war crime.
  • by compelling civilians to remain within the area of active hostilities, LTTE also violated its obligation under international humanitarian law to take all feasible measures to protect the civilian population under its control’ – isn’t the whole story featured in this sentence. If the LTTE had released the civilians and not taken them with the LTTE there would be no loss of civilian life. It would have been a battle between the LTTE and the Armed Forces. If civilian casualties prevailed it was purely because the LTTE kept them by force, did not release them and shot at those who tried to flee from them.
  • There are reasonable grounds to believe that LTTE also failed to respect its obligations to respect and protect humanitarian relief personnel and not to restrict their freedom of movement.”

Noteworthy points in Report

  • ‘many of the attacks reviewed in the present report did not comply with the principles on the conduct of hostilities, notably the principle of distinction’ – who did not comply, what are the instances are not mentioned.
  • What is the proportionality that the Team is referring to…. Afterall the Army saved close to 300,000 lives while the supposed ‘dead’ number cannot be proved as there are no mass graves or even skeletons for the 40,000 to 200,000 claimed to have been killed by third parties located outside Sri Lanka.
  • The example of the hospital in the Vanni though ignoring that the LTTE were using the hospital to treat its cadres as well as firing from the hospital. The bombing on Kunduz hospital in Afghanistan by the US military still awaits UN’s response on similar lines.
  • Team highlights ‘requirements of distinction’ but has no explanation to give for LTTE cadres firing in civil clothes or civilians who were combatants willingly while others were forced recruits. In such a scenario how does the UN provide the security forces the means of distinction! Noteworthy too that all 11,000 LTTE cadres that surrendered did so in civilian attire – if the argument that the security forces were indiscriminately killing held true how come all 11,000 are alive?
  • The Team also highlights ‘effecting warnings’ – the security forces have enough of examples to show of flyers in Tamil air dropped, loud speaker messages transmitted and Tamil speaking people sent to advise the civilians how and where to move to safety. Was this not how the 300,000 Tamils were saved?
  • The Team says it ‘did not find information suggesting that hospitals and other civilian facilities, including those of the UN were used by LTTE for military purposes” which source of information is the Team relying on to make this conclusion? This exposes the Team’s efforts to exonerate the LTTE for Tamil eyewitness accounts and the affidavits of the doctors serving in the last stages claim that the LTTE were using hospitals as cover including churches from where LTTE plucked children to send to the battleground.
  • However when the Team does admit that the LTTE repeatedly constructed military fortifications and positioned artillery and other weaponry in close proximity often adjacent to civilian areas including humanitarian and medical facilities the Teams attempts to exonerate the LTTE blows itself up and questions the Teams conclusions.
  • On what grounds does the Team say that the GOSL restricted humanitarian organizations and personnel to exercise their functions effectively? According to the law the GOSL need only to provide the access but statistics are available to showcase that it was not only the GOSL, the WFP, the ICRC and other entities all took relief items. The ICRC was in the Vanni till the 15th of May 2009 and it was only after that they wound up operations after the last batch of civilians were released. Has the Team looked at the statistics of the ICRC and other entities and why have these not been made public for the people also to look at.
  • On what grounds is the Team concluding that the relief sent to the Vanni was insufficient when there are photos of relief items being used as LTTE bunker safeguards instead of being shared among the civilians. There are civilians who are witnesses who claim they LTTE confiscated the food to be given to their cadres and their families and some civilians had to pay exorbitant amounts for food. Why have these witness accounts not been highlighted by the Panel?
  • On what grounds can the Team claim that the IDPs were deprived of liberty when even banks opened offices inside the camps to enable the Tamils to deposit their jewellery and money? Why has the Team not cited that these Tamils most of whom did not have own lands or proper houses preferred to remain in these camps and enjoy free 3 meals a day plus afternoon tea with so many other hand outs?
  • On what grounds is the Team claiming that right to health and adequate standard of living including food, water, and sanitation were denied? From where is the Panel sourcing this information to make these conclusions?
  • Has the Panel forgotten how the Nuremberg Trials treated all Germans as being Nazi’s? They will know that this was not the same application in Sri Lanka because the LTTE cadres were taken away and kept separately from the civilians while screening of others took place. Moreover it was Tamils themselves who were pointing the culprits having suffered at the hands of the LTTE. People need to be reminded how the parents of Prabakaran were also hounded and almost attacked that the armed forces had to take them to safety elsewhere. https://ltteirony.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/and-who-looked-after-prabakarans-parents/

Our concerns

  • If the UNHRC says that it is concerned by the lack of independence and follow up to the recommendations of the domestic investigations, the public in Sri Lanka are gravely concerned of the illegalities that the UN is resorting to by violating and interfering in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs while totally ignoring the very accusations UNHRC is making against Sri Lanka which are being violated by powerful countries. There cannot be two sets of laws inside the UN.
  • Is the OHCHR aware that a Supreme Court ruling denies the former President Chandrika to hold any public office in view of her selling state land for which she was not only found guilty but had to pay the State.
  • On what basis does the UNHRC have to question the credibility and effectiveness of the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints regarding Missing Persons? UNHRC cannot simply use blanket statements superficially without substantiating on its remarks.
  • If the UNHRC investigation was to cover period covered by the LLRC which was from 2002 to 2009 why is the Team spending time on writing about Welikada prison in 2002, Weliweriya in 2013, Mirisuvil murder in 2000 which is beyond the scope and mandate?
  • The reference to mass graves in the UNHRC reports turns out to be another empty shell for the US lab reports show skeletal remains of Matale graves being pre-1940! http://www.dailymirror.lk/76921/contradictory-reports-on-matale-mass-grave-site while the Mannar supposed mass grave is in reality a cemetery. So much for the fuss! http://www.adaderana.lk/news.php?nid=26004
  • As for other graves let it be clearly understood that the UN Secretary General himself travelled to Sri Lanka on 22 May 2009 just days after the conclusion of the conflict on 19th May 2009 and went on a helicopter ride over the areas of conflict accompanied by photographers and media and if the implied 40,000 had been killed they should have photographed these newly dug graves and it would have been very visible too … that such was not found in any of the photos taken is clear that there is no such mass graves and no such killings except the hype instigated by vested parties.
  • The UNHRC claims that the domestic courts are not equipped to ‘conduct an independent and credible investigation into the allegations reported’ our question is what has the UNHRC done about the allegations committed by the US & NATO in all of its military interventions since 2001 to even recommend a hybrid court set up?
  • As far as the report is concerned there is nothing solid to pin point any war crimes or crimes against humanity being committed except a report full of statements that are either contradictory or questionable and without substance or supplementary evidence with sources.
  • With regard to the claim of truth-seeking and accountability in looking at all the other Truth Commissions held and their failures it is understandable that Sri Lankan public does not wish to waste money or time in a futile exercise that would leave a handful of the same people richer and provide an opportunity for them to infiltrate into existing systems and tamper with them to change to fit into external agendas.
  • On what grounds has the UNHRC the right to say that ‘new mechanisms should not be established under the Commission of Inquiry Act which has systematically failed to deliver results” what is the results that the UNHRC can boast of about the crimes that the US/NATO have committed since 2001 which violated the UN Charter?
  • Does the UNHRC have any power or right to suggest the downsizing of a sovereign country’s police, security forces & intelligence?
  • Does the UNHRC have any right to demand changes to the PTA or Public Security Ordinance Act?
  • What is the evidence and who is providing the evidence to the UNHRC for it to conclude that the military retains an ‘oppressive presence in the war-affected areas of the north and east’?
  • What is this ‘culture of surveillance and harassment’ that the UNHRC is commenting about not even visiting the country?
  • Which country can the UNHRC give as an example of 100% functioning to all the terminologies that the UN throws at its members when the former UN General Assembly President has been accused of taking $1.3million in bribes?

Questioning the Recommendations of Report

  • Why is the High Commissioner recommending a hybrid special court to try war crimes/crimes against humanity when the report doesn’t have proper evidence to showcase any crimes
  • Why has the report only named the Sri Lankan Army and not the LTTE leaders?
  • Why should the GOSL invite the OHCHR to establish a full-fledged country presence to monitor the situation of human rights and provide technical assistance when the conflict ended in 2009. If there UNHRC has issues on human rights it can be taken up during the UPR sessions why mix it up HR with IHL?
  • Can the UNHRC name a single country success story where it has done service to the people of those country other than the nations that fund UNHRC initiatives?
  • Can the UNHRC produce its score card of Truth Commissions held thus far and showcase the successes before Sri Lanka’s public agrees to a truth commission?
  • The Constitutional Council comprises people of questionable character and this has been openly highlighted numerous times across media. Their integrity is in question and therefore they are not to be trusted.
  • Let it be known that between January 2007 to November 2013, 8528 rapes across Sri Lankahttp://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2015/09/01/tamil-civilian-rapes-in-north-sri-lanka-18-by-sri-lanka-armed-forces-what-about-4000-by-indian-peace-keepers-2 / There are only 15 cases of rape by army personnel in 8 years (2005 to 2013) of which 8 army personnel have been discharged from the army indicating clear action taken by the military whilst parallel court of law inquiry has also been carried out. http://www.onlanka.com/news/how-credible-are-stories-of-rape-in-north-sri-lanka.html
  • How can the UNHRC suggest that military be fired when there are already military courts and civil courts that have addressed wrong doings
  • On what grounds is the UNHRC suggesting to return private lands when they should know that to claim land entitlement a valid deed has to be available and a state is not bound to give lands just because the UNHRC and the World comes down shouting at it.
  • What interest the UNHRC is showing using its mandate that is meant to cover only the LLRC period by going out of its way to suggest repealing of existing Acts and introducing new systems which would entail the UNHRC to have sole control of how these mechanisms are run. In short UNHRC is subtly suggesting that Sri Lanka surrenders its sovereignty to the UN and UNHRC systems and allow them to decide which systems the locals should follow and those who might possibly challenge these subtly introduced systems are been taken care of by bringing allegations that would fire them from service or send them as peace keepers where they will face a barrage of allegations that would enable the UN to fire them at will.
  • On what grounds does the UNHRC have to suggest that Sri Lanka adopt specific legislation to establish ad hoc hybrid special courts integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators mandated to try war crimes and crimes against humanity?
  • What right does the UNHRC have to even recommend to ‘dispense the current Presidential Commission on Missing Persons’ and suggest to transfer these cases to a credible and independent institution?
  • Before publishing unpublished reports the UNHRC needs to publish from where it has sought its sources to come to blanket conclusions that are questionable and raises alarm bells
  • The UNHRC is suggesting that the UN and Member States provides technical and financial support and set a coordination mechanism among donors in Sri Lanka – why doesn’t the UNHRC first provide to the UN General Assembly the Ban Ki Moon report with the sources and witness accounts which the UNHRC did not table, the present UNHRC investigation report also with sources and witness account and allow a UN General Assembly appointed team that comprises members of both the East and West blocs to decide whether crimes against humanity or war crimes have been committed or not taking into consideration the laws under which Non-International Armed Conflict arises.
  • The UNHRC in its recommendations have made a grave error in only claiming that Tamils have suffered totally ignoring the Sinhalese and Muslim victims both of whom were ethnically cleansed from their original habitats in the North and some of these victims have sent deeds accompanying their statements to the UNHRC investigators.

What is obviously clear is that even after the 2nd international investigation there is no solid evidence that has been produced covering the conflict period to claim war crimes or crimes against humanity. Human Rights violations cited by the Team outside of the mandated period can be taken up at the UNHRC UPR sessions and should never have been included into a report that was supposed to cover the period LLRC was mandated. This goes to show that because a very spineless and Western-bowing government is now in power the UN system and Western interests together with servile India have made a strategic decision to use this as opportunities for their pivot to Asia policy and try to wriggle through and dictate how the entire local systems run by taking control of these and having their persons appointed to head them.

Usurping Sri Lankas sovereignty through the UNHRC Report is what should make all citizens of Sri Lanka alarmed about and oppose.

We do not wish to be darlings of the West/India/UN if we are to become their servants surrendering all our sovereign rights.

The people of Sri Lanka think the UN/UNHRC/West and India are shameless to ridicule the services of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces / Police and Intelligence and just make passing remarks on the LTTE while entertaining internationally banned LTTE fronts to VIP treatment inside the halls of the UN.

Shenali D Waduge


One Response to “OHCHR International Investigation has no proof against Sri Lanka’s Military: Stop the Witch Hunt”

  1. Cerberus Says:

    Please see the web site http://www.terrorinlanka.com for a lot of reports by eye witnesses, and also the original of the CH4 video which shows LTTE shooting Sinhala soldiers talking in Tamil. Callum McCrae took this video and dubbed it and used it against the Sri Lanka Govt while our dumbos just kept mum.

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