Sri Lankan’s Crimes against humanity

by Anuradha Sampath

(January 24, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The People's Tribunal on Sri Lanka (PTS) officially met again in the Dublin University over the claims that Sri Lanka has committed war crimes. An official inquiry requested by the Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka (IFPSL) and held by the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT). Since I read the inclusive report of judgers of the panel that they have no doubt Sri Lanka has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute and Geneva Convention. Systematic disappearances of Tamil people in and aftermath of the war and violation of non-combatant rights have been regarded as crimes against humanity under the Article 7 of the Rome Statute. Re-starting the war failing to keep-up the, mainly, Norwegian monitored Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) in 2002 comes under the war crimes according to Rome Statute and Geneva Convention. Apart from the decisiveness of the panel that Sri Lankan crimes over war crimes and crimes against humanity the panel of judges is suspicions whether some of the crimes could be categorised as genocides and crimes against peace.

Even thou, I had my interests in following the allegations and the formal proceedings of the courts over Sri Lanka I just came across the Dublin gathering in the very first day of the hearings which had been set for 14th to the 16th of the January 2011. I called the Dublin Air Port emigration at about 8 O’clock of that Friday evening to make sure that my visa status – visas for indefinite remain in the UK - will be entitled to visit Dublin. Sadly that was not the case. I grimed myself thinking of the crimes that these immigration laws have caused me. However, I never underestimated the crimes against humanity because Jacques Derrida has thought me that it is one of those things that I will never able to do. To make a fun out of the crimes against humanity is to a make fun out of what I have made of. I am not going to do that; most importantly I know that I cannot do that.

However, one thing for sure, this panel is more than sure that crimes against humanity could be punishable. That is the query of mine that I would like to immerse myself with the help of those who have already immersed in this gray area. And there also some practical issues which need immediate attentions of the reader over this delicate matter. This small essay just trying to scratches the surface of these theoretical and practical issues over attempts to prosecute those who have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka. I would engage with the reader a deeper conversation near future with inclusivity writings.

To my knowledge, what need immediate attention over the independent inquiry and its recommendations over the allegations are follows; was the Sri Lankan war against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) posed any threats to the international community; if an independent Truth and Justice Commission - as what the panel is requesting - will demand chargers against those whom allegedly committed war crimes what would be the consequences of those individuals being removed from the domestic politics; do international community has any responsibility over the majority of the Sri Lankan people? The PPT is certain that individual rights are paramount among global civil society. After all, the Kantian and Ralwsian cosmopolitan values and liberal justice is what desired. Could this be realistic goal of those who pursue jus post bellum in Sri Lanka?

I leave the theoretical and philosophical debate to the dessert. The starter and the main cause will be followed by the theoretical and philosophical irreconcilability of the liberal justice and the ethical and moral dilemma of these issues - as Michel Sandel also has touched-upon - upon much stipulated liberal justice. Reports are vague, the civil war of Sri Lanka has killed about 80 000 – 100 000 people over two and half decade of war since 1983. I would not use the world terrorist because of my consciousness implies that world discriminate political struggles of not only among Sri Lankan but also among Muslim communities. However, by the contrary to the Muslim freedom fighters Sri Lanka LTTE had even received the light aircrafts and they were on the war to developing submarines. This salient dualism poses me just to ask how and where those technologies came from; are not they those who shipped and armed LTTE to become the deadliest military outfit in the world, criminals as well. I for certainly know that some of military equipment was sent by the acknowledgement of the some Western governments. How they are immune from liberal justice. Most immortally, think about not only the name and shame game of this whole drama but actual removal of the, for sa, Mahinda Rajapaksha (MR) and his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksha (GR) and some the other over the allegations; how this would justify in the face of the majority of Sri Lankan?

Not only international criminal justice – I assume that neither UN nor International Criminal Court (ICC) would peruse these allegations - violate the jurisdiction of the Sri Lankan sovereignty but most immortally even thou it derives from the latter it violates the public consent to the accepted norm. This public immerse of the prevailing conditions are intuitively reproducing who they are. Even if myself does not like to acknowledge the fact that MR and GR are being immersed in the public in the way they have been that alien interferences would definitely damages the norm. J. S. Mill has discussed this impossibility of bestowing the cosmopolitan values for those who are not capable of maintaining them. Present day Michael W. Doyle is reiterating the same fact. There is no doubt that Sri Lanka has long overdue the fairness and liberal justice its deserves, however, historicity of Sri Lanka as a neo-colonial state has favoured no such a progress as such to embrace them without long conversation with those values. And also it is naivety of those who profess the liberal justice to Sri Lanka always forget about the base for such changers. It is in fact the lack of reflexivity among those who first to profess to other shows the difference between West and the East. Few among those who understand the base, such as Michel Hartd and Antonio Negri, clearly recognises the development as an organic passage.

Therefore, MR and GR are products of Sri Lanka as well as the rest of the people in Sri Lanka. If some would say despots are just despots because they are despots; it is to commit a great crime against the understanding of the organic development of the politics in distance lands and also your own liberal democracies. Lack of this reflexivity of those who has power has, over and over again, teaches us that no despot could be replaced by some transparent democratic liberal justice. Some would say killing a million – as in Iraq - is worth to bring democracy and give power to electorate means noting for those who have no meaning of the power has not developed the base and the superstructure. Therefore, what would be the judgment of the Sri Lankan crimes against humanity and crimes against war? Could anyone come to a conclusion?

How we measure the depth of the crimes? To me there is no answer. I do not know. But one thing I know they cannot be punished. It is not to show the ignorance of the crimes committed by the both sides but a deep understanding of this matter only poses you to become neutral. The neutral is the only thing that human cannot be. Therefore, I am going to show some of the hypocrisy of those countries which are trying to enforce liberal justice which nobody knows. Why Italy has such most harshest measures on their immigrants in Europe; rich and poor is unbearable not only in Italy throughout most of the western countries; Italy cannot get rid of their mini dictator in fact one women said on BBC we liked him because he got the biggest dick in Italy; France systematic atrocities continues in Algeria and elsewhere; Europe had no problem with Ben Ali being one of the despots did great business with Italy and France; France sent its Roma minorities back violating basic human rights; Hungry just passed a bill of controlling media freedom violates the freedom on media; anti-semetism is in rise throughout Europe even in Denmark and Sweden and so on.

Day light white prosperous attacks on Palestinian and Arial bombardment on the United Nations compound goes unnoticed. Attacks on civilian of Afghan and Pakistani women and children everyday hide behind the veil. The Wikileaks shows the United States treatments over non combatants in Iraq and elsewhere and horrific video footages of shooting down the unarmed personal including a child. Drones attacks on Yeman and elsewhere violates the international laws most importantly moral laws of any rational man and woman. Not to mention the violation of Somalian rights to its sea. These violations of international laws and basic human rights laws are to be added up long due violations of Western Corporations and their behaviours through new releases of Wikileaks. How could one ask justice to be done to the Tamil minorities in Sri Lanka while violations are everywhere? In fact it is you who are committing those crimes. Your ignorance commits those crimes, also the crimes to be committed. What justice could you ask for? To me, it is the justice of being ignorant that I can ask it myself not from the other.

People who do not recognise the interconnections between countries and economies and politics so on only could ask that sort of justice to be done to pockets of communities and individuals. However, when you realise mass industrialised tomato farms in Italy starve some people in Africa only thing you could do is to reflect yourself. If I may take the liberty to say that Sri Lankan Tamils will be freed – if that word has any meaning after all – when everyone become equal to the entitlement to the material and moral wealth, as Rawls dreamt, in your country. It is not to say Sri Lankans are evils that they cannot forgive the crimes committed by aggressors, far more than that, Sri Lanka has their own way of dealing with things. After all I am not worth of talking for all the Sri Lanka.

On seven of recommendations of PTS to Sri Lanka has nothing more to say than what has already being said. I will leave them to comprehensive encounter with my future writing as a small book. And also the moral dilemma in any justice is an interesting subject matter itself, if not the most interesting issue in human kind. I will not try to ruin your appetite with a bad dessert, for the moment, after all I realise such an encounter in this easy would not have direct appeal to my subject matter. Forgive me for such an abrupt end, however, I read you soon.

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