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Indictment of African leaders by ICC should be taken by Sri Lanka as warning signal

| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(March 08,2014, Bradford –UK, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sitting Presidents are not hauled up before the International Criminal Court for war crimes and other atrocities and this is the norm in advanced counties. But two African leaders, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and Congo militia leader Germain Katanga have been indicted. African Union accuses ICC of wanting regime change rather than bringing justice to war victims.

Congo produces the precious metal coltan used in mobile phones and the West is the largest purchaser of this commodity. The West would first see their supply of coltan is uninterrupted rather than finding justice to war victims.

Coltan is used primarily for the production of tantalum capacitors, used in many electronic devices. Many sources mention coltan's importance in the production of cell phones, but this is an over-simplification, as tantalum capacitors are used in almost every kind of electronic device.
It is also used in high temperature alloys for air and land based turbines. The upsurge in electronic products over the past decade resulted in a peak in late 2000, lasting a few months. In 2005 the price was still down at early 2000 levels.

The United States Geological Survey estimates that tantalum production capacity could meet global demand, which is growing at four percent annually, at least until the year 2013.

Kenyatta and Katanga’s war crimes and sexual proclivities are not alone in the ICC’s mind which to a large extent is bound to the West by its own economic interests as we have witnessed so far. The West is not averse to use internal conflicts to help its own selfish interests. Middle East uprisings and interference in Russia’s splintered states and Afghanistan are cases in point.

Where do all these shenanigans place Sri Lanka? But Sri Lanka is playing into the hands of the West by not conforming to putting its human rights mechanism in place. It should not plead the bullying boy at school and excuse itself. The present government has shown a laissez-faire attitude towards UNHRC probe and has gone its merry way citing that its sovereignty and territorial integrity are nobody’s business but its own. Not anymore.

Sri Lanka has to address its conduct for its performance in the last throes of war when 40,000 or more Tamils were massacred by May2009. Of this there is no iota of doubt and international media have enough evidence which are before the UNHRC and ICC.

Do we wait till Mahinda’s term of presidency expires in 2016 or campaign incessantly for his indictment before Hague not unlike the two African leaders mentioned afore.

Time is running out and Tamils including the diaspora are losing patience. They need compensation, justice and redemption of their lost property fast and furious. Another Tamil uprising is not far off if the government does not open its eyes and make some meaningful repair for the damages it caused so far to its ethnic minorities. Once Muslims and plantation workers engage with the Tamils of the North and East the government would have no place to hide.

(The writer has been a journalist for 25 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at pearltheva@hotmail.com)

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