“The Persecuted” To be Prosecuted

Photo: Sri Lankan Muslims Women who is living in refugee camp in Batticaloa; photo taken by Lanka Guardian special correspondent Nuwan Jayatilleke from Batticaloa

By: S.M.M.Bazeer

“And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was death”
Revelation 6.8

It has been seventeen years since the LTTE unleashed their brutality on Muslims of the East. On August the 3rd 1990, One Hunderd Forty innocent Muslims were murdered and about sixty six were injured whilst praying at the Meera Jumma and Hussainya Mosques in Kathankudy in the automatic gunfire and grenade attacks by the LTTE. (The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)
The LTTE political commander for Batticaloa, Karikalan publicly denied their involvement in the massacre at kattankudy in an interview with the BBC Tamil Services and in response to their denial, The Federation of Kattankudy Mosques and Muslim Institutions issued a statement on 5th of August that “an LTTE member Nagarajah alias Ranjith Appah played a leading role in the attack and that several villagers were eyewitnesses to it.”

Following the massacres in Kattankudy , the LTTE went on with their premeditated killings of Muslims at Akkaraipattu and Eravur. On the 4th of August, the LTTE killed forty Muslims at Akkarapattu and 127 Muslims at Eravur on 11th August 1990.

The IPKF (Indian Peace keeping Forces) arrested Setta, the LTTE political leader for Batticaloa District in January 1988 alongside Francis, Simba and Subesan. During the arrest Subesan took cyanide and killed himself but Setta’s suicide attempt, was thwarted by the IPKF. He was imprisoned by the IFKF and later released. Did he survive on Cyanide to gun down worshippers in a mosque? To compensate his failed suicide attempt he masterminded a series of attacks on Sinhalese and Muslims in and around Batticaloa town to win back his popularity and leadership within the LTTE. However his affiliation to the LTTE continued for a while, until he slipped out of the country to seek asylum in Germany. It is known that he is in Germany since his arrival and kept out of the limelight. In Phil Rees’s book “Dining with Terrorists” he recalls the meeting with “Seta” in the East,

“I recall shaking hands with Seta, a twenty-years-old with a wispy moustache and beard who had recently entered a mosque in eastern Sri Lanka and gunned down thirty-one worshipers. He looked brainwashed and detached from a moral world, staring at me blankly.” I am fighting a war”

It has been 17 years to date those who have committed the crime have not been prosecuted instead some of them have found safe haven in the countries that give international protection under the UN Convention on Refugees under 1951 and 1967.

It is worth noting that The UN convention on refugees set out that

“Those applicants found to fall within Article 1F of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 are excluded from refugee status. The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that:

(a) He has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes;

(b) He has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his admission to that country as a refugee;

(c) He has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”

It is high time that war criminals are pursued beyond geographical boarders. It is interesting that those who have committed war crimes have found safe haven in countries that are signatory to the UN Convention on refugees. An Afghan warlord was not spared by the British courts although he was a recognised refugee. Faryadi Zardad, 42, of Streatham, South London, was convicted in a retrial of pursuing a reign of fear at Afghan checkpoints between 1991 and 1996. It was the first time a foreign national has been convicted in a UK court for crimes committed abroad.

It is known that not only the LTTE but also several other Tamil Militant groups and members of Sri Lankan forces have sought refuge in the countries that are signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees.

In the guise of refugees some terrorists and criminals have sought protection from the countries that should be seeking them out for persecution for crimes against humanity. Surely, such heinous crimes should have no geographical borders!