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UN panel report: first step towards justice for Tamils

The government’s complaint that `everybody’s is ganging up against this poor innocent island which only wants to preserve its national pride, territorial integrity and unity’  no longer holds water.
by Pearl Thevanayagam

(April 18, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Some interesting and other hilarious observations are bandied about in the media following the report presented to the UN Secretary General by the panel of advisors he appointed to investigate the conduct of both the government and the LTTE during the final stages of the war.

Transcurrents website owner, D.B.S. Jeyaraj, observes rather judiciously this is not a UN report. Secretary general is the highest authority in the UN and his position cannot be contested. That he did not seek permission from the UN Security Council or the Human Rights Commission is a matter for the UNSG to decide. There is no way he would risk his position by appointing a panel willy-nilly. This report is a crucial initiative towards accountability, responsibility and admission of crimes committed.

The government’s response to the report `leaked’ to the Island is that it is flawed and biased. Now if I say my skin is flawed with acne it does not mean my whole face is made up of acne. There are areas where it is smooth. Likewise, admitting the report is flawed the government admits albeit inadvertently that there is truth in the report however flawed it may be.

Secondly, the knee-jerk reaction of the External Affairs Minister into summoning diplomats for a briefing on April 21 proves the dire and desperate need of the government to placate them and find some arguments in favour of the government that its actions against the LTTE were justified and that no civilians were killed in the war.

Island also observes that it was the government’s decision to go on an all out offensive to end the three decades of LTTE terrorism and although it may not have abided by the international rules on humanitarian law that it scored a major victory for the country. This government’s mouthpiece in the mainstream media which has always been known for its anti-Tamil stance has admitted that Sri Lanka violated international humanitarian laws during conflict.

The proof of killings should be in the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) report which should contain evidence from eye-witnesses and victims due on May15. General Sarath Fonseka has not been called as a witness but he is willing to testify before any international court on the matter of civilians and the LTTE members carrying white flags were summarily executed by government security forces and this order came directly from the President’s brother and defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse.

Concerns are raised over the health of the General and the government is being accused of deliberately ignoring his request for medical treatment obvious reasons. A General incarcerated and held incommunicado cannot speak and thus should not pose any danger of giving evidence about the war he led on the instructions of the defense secretary.

Far too many skeletons are dancing out of the cupboard and the government has every reason to be jittery. The President is calling the nation to take to the streets in demonstration against the UN report. He should also import limes and king coconuts (the latter due to the general scarcity in the island for this indigenous nut again due to wide scale destruction of coconut trees during the war) to break another fast-unto death campaign Wimal Weerawansa is likely to begin since his botched fast last year around this time.

Then that ubiquitous minster Dr Mervyn Silva known for his support to the President with his street credentials should be given all government protection, weapons and personnel to go round intimidating those who opt out of demonstrating and stay inside their houses.

Wry humour aside, refugees abroad are planning a ten day period of commemorating those who died in the war from May 10. As the mainstream media observed these refugees have a great deal of influence in Western countries.

It is not far-fetched to say that Douglas, Pillayan, Karuna and KP now enjoying the government’s protection and perks could easily do a volte face and turn against the government if it is in their interest and the interest of the wide Tamil ethnic group to which they belong. KP is not solely in charge of what is left of the LTTE assets. There are foreign powers including Indonesia, Ukraine and India involved among other independent arms dealers and shipping concerns.

The government’s complaint that `everybody’s is ganging up against this poor innocent island which only wants to preserve its national pride, territorial integrity and unity’ no longer holds water.

It took a lone Israeli whose parents were victims of the Nazi regime 30 years to hunt down Adolf Eichmann in Argentina where he was leading a normal life of a family man and bring him back to Europe to face war crimes. But Tamils are not waiting even three years.

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