Published On:Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Posted by Sri Lanka Guardian
White van networks are part of a cluster of cooperative partnerships with other State instrumentalities – such as the judiciary, the prisons, the defense establishment, hospitals. They have become an instrument of State machinery which beats at the heart of Sri Lanka’s culture of impunity. White van networks are an embedded element of Sri Lankan democratic politics. They are necessary agents for incumbent administrations to sustainably and strategically undermine the panoply of fundamental liberties associated with citizenship in modern constitutional democracies, such as free speech and due process.
Sri Lanka’s State-sponsored white van networks are operated as a joint criminal enterprise, characterized by a definable command hierarchy, conscription and/or use of paramilitaries, private criminal gangs and government military personnel, and general complicity of State institutions. White Van abduction networks have active or dormant states. TAG’s interviews and testimonies indicated that, in the dormant state, the white van network(s) can be activated by directives from the command hierarchy, especially the top echelon of the defense establishment, the Rajapakses. For example, Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s confident threats targeted at Fonseka, Vithyadaran, and more recently Frederica Jansz, are predicated on the sustained operability of white van networks, dormant or active, to target enemies of the State as needed. There exists reasonable evidence of his clandestine power to abduct and eliminate people who are perceived as a threat to his command and reputation.