Colombo, Human Rights, Jaffna, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Post-War, Reconciliation, War Crimes

The latest Commission of Inquiry in Sri Lanka: Another Exercise in Deception

Louise Arbour of the International Crisis Group is reported to have  said during an interview in the BBC that the government violated the laws of war by blurring the line between combatants and civilians, and that its killings of civilians were not accidents.   Perhaps in response to this, speaking to the BBC Tamil Service recently,  the Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Palitha Kohona is reported to have said that  the commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation  set up  recently by the government is sufficient to investigate the allegations of humanitarian standards and human rights violations  during the war.

Let us therefore have a look at some of the commissions of inquiry appointed by the governments in the past to check  how effective they have been to understand the veracity of the statement made by Dr. Kohana with regard to the current commission. It is common knowledge that several commissions of inquiry had been appointed from time to time to inquire into disappearances of persons and other serious human rights violations in Sri Lanka. I do not intend to go into matters relating to all these commissions now. Instead, as a sample,  I  propose to  deal with the two Commissions of Inquiries into Disappearances to which  I was the  Secretary  and the  Commission of Inquiry into Certain Serious Human Rights Violations  in the recent past  where I was  an adviser to the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP).  The IIGEP  had been  invited by President Rajapakse, to dispel the fear expressed widely at that time, on the efficacy of such commissions. He wanted give credibility to that commission by asking the IIGEP  to ensure that the investigations and inquiries conducted by that Commission are in keeping with internationally accepted norms and standards.

Commissions of Inquiry in Sri Lanka, are appointed in terms of the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act. This Act provides for the President to appoint such Commissions whenever he thinks there is a need to find out more information on any matter of national interest and direct such Commission to inquire or investigate and report to him on matters set out in the Mandate given to such commissions.  In other words, their inquiries should  be strictly confined to the terms of reference.  It is mandatory for the Commission to submit the report to the President and not to  make its contents public.

In 1994 three such commissions  known as Zonal Commissions on Disappearances of Persons,  were appointed to inquire into and report on disappearances of persons after 1st January, 1988 ,  while another was appointed in 1998, known as the All Island Commission on Disappearances,  to inquire only into the complaints received by the Zonal Commissions and remain  un-inquired.  These Commissions handed over their Reports in September 1997 and May, 2000, respectively.

These Commissions, inter alia, reported that they came across evidence that several torture chambers managed by the police and the military existed in different parts of Sri Lanka during the relevant period. Many persons who had been taken to be caused to be disappeared had  been tortured in these chambers to elicit information from them.  A few of them had  escaped. They appeared  before the Commission and  gave evidence  on the  gruesome manner in which they and others who are no more, had been tortured. They even gave the names of the persons who had been managing these torture chambers.

It was the same in the case of more than ten mass graves in the in various parts of the country.  Information about them had been  made available to these Commissions by persons  who knew about them. These graves have still not been disturbed. All that the Commissions could do in respect of these torture chambers and the mass graves  was to list the locations of the torture chambers and the mass graves in their Reports  and make  a recommendation that the President should take further action  to investigate into them.  They could not investigate into these because their  mandates  did not authorize them to do so.  Up-to-date no action whatsoever had been taken on this recommendation about the torture chambers and mass graves. Instead,  some of those  who were alleged to have been responsible for these,  are still in service having  received promotions in their respective services. Others have retired  without having to face any consequence on their dastardly  criminal actions.

The same is true with regard to the recommendations made to take disciplinary action against several police and military personnel whose misconduct during the performance of their duties came to light during the investigations. There was evidence of their violation of   departmental rules and regulations  in  dealing with complaints of disappearances, detention of persons taken into custody,   destruction of Police  information books relating to  the relevant period,  in spite of a directive by the Inspector General of Police to preserve these books and make them available for investigation by the Commissions.

As stated earlier, these Commissions were mandated to inquire only into complaints of disappearances that occurred after 1st January, 1988. This resulted in a large number of disappearances of persons that occurred prior to that  being excluded from being inquired into.

Similarly,  the Commission that was appointed in 1998 had a specific limitation debarring it from  inquiring into any new complaints but  was authorized to deal only with those  complaints  which  had been received by the Commissions appointed in 1994 and remain  un- inquired.  Consequently this Commission could not inquire into about 12,000 new complaints received by this Commission. This number included  complaints of about 600 persons from the North who had disappeared following the military operation in 1996 called ‘Riviresa’ after which  the government took control of the Jaffna Peninsula from the  LTTE, and about 7000 complaints of persons who had gone missing in the Batticaloa District during the relevant period.

To cap it all, the manner in which action was taken against those  police and security forces personnel and others against  whom the Commission reported that there is credible material indicative of their responsibility for the disappearances,  is a sad reflection on the sincerity of the successive governments in dealing with perpetrators of such incidents.   This only helped to perpetuate the culture of impunity   which had, by this time, pervaded into the police and security forces personnel.  Consequently the families of the victims of disappearances are yet to receive justice being meted out to them though nearly  20 years have lapsed since most of these incidents had occurred while   many of them who had given evidence on the alleged perpetrators live in frustration seeing them still in service after having caused the disappearance of their loved ones.

A Report of  the International Commission of Jurists reveals that “The lack of state accountability for human rights violations in Sri Lanka crosses ethnic divides, all governments and political parties. Neither the regular criminal justice system nor commissions    of inquiry have been able to satisfy the state’s obligation to its citizens.

It appears that  the only useful purpose   served by these Commissions was  to help successive governments  to know who and who in the police and security services are experienced and  competent in effectively carrying out disappearances of persons, so that those in these governments who required their services  could use them when the need arose.   It is perhaps such persons are the ones behind  the disappearances  that continue even today, and are often conveniently  blamed to be acts of unknown persons.

Another matter that needs to be remembered is that the Commissions of Inquiry Act does not place any obligation on the part of the President to make public the findings of any Commission of Inquiry.  There are reports of several commissions appointed  in the past that have never been published. Others have been published only in parts. It is the sole discretion of the President to publish the whole or any part of the Report if he so desires or not publish them at all.   It may not be known to many  that a special report was called by the then President Chandrika Bandaranayake into the killing of a prominent politician in a hilly district, allegedly by another who had contested him.    The Commission concerned did an exhaustive investigation  and reported that there was enough evidence  against  the alleged person who was at that time  a prominent Member of Parliament.  Yet no action was taken against him.  The wife of the person who was killed was later made a minister and the matter ended there.  No action whatsoever was taken on this Report which was never   published !

Similarly,  When a   prominent Muslim leader  was killed  following a helicopter crash, to stem the allegation that he had in fact been murdered the then government appointed a commission to inquire into the circumstances of his death.  That Commission conducted extensive investigations and submitted its   report. That report was never  published but the wife of the deceased was later  made a Minister and a large amount of money had been paid to her and her siblings as compensation.  The matter ended there.

Journalistic ethics prevents me from mentioning the names of the persons concerned but these facts cannot be denied by those concerned.

Commissions of Inquiry were initially appointed to appease pressure from human rights organizations or the people, to end  systematic violations of their rights.  But successive governments have followed a pattern of subverting them. In fact, the non-implementation of the many recommendations of these Commissions on the need to deal with the perpetrators swiftly and effectively, promoted the culture of impunity prevailing among the police and the security forces personnel to become galvanized.  What is more, the Commissions spared no efforts in making well considered recommendations on the steps to be taken to prevent the incidence of disappearances of persons in the future.   These recommendations are gathering dust in the archives of the President.

Let me now deal with the Commission appointed in year 2007  to inquire into serious human rights violations such as the killing of five university students in Trincomalee, the killing of seventeen employees of and NGO  in Muttur,   bombing of  a children’s home in Sencholai in the Mullaitivu District,  etc.  The series of such high profile incidents that  took place during that period resulted in a public outcry for the government to end such incidents.  President Rajapakse  decided to appoint a commission to inquire into such incidents to contain the surging pressure on him from various quarters.  Given the past experience on what happened to the disappearances commissions and many others, both the local and international human rights organizations expressed  their  reservations on the outcome and efficacy of the Commission proposed by the government.   Consequently, the President himself came out with a suggestion that he was prepared to invite a  few  International Independent  Group of Eminent Persons  (IIGEP)  who could be tasked to ensure that the proposed Commission conducts its investigations and inquiries in keeping with international norms and standards  and does not end up  the way the other commissions in the past had ended.

The Commission of 2007 was  created  with seven members.  A few days after the commencement of the proceedings of this Commission  the IIGEP  found that the services of a representative of the  Attorney General (AG)  was being availed of  by  this Commission  to lead the evidence in respect of the cases  the Commission was mandated to deal with.  Former Chief Justice of India – the late Justice Bhagawathy  who headed the IIGEP  had  to point out to  Justice Udalagama who was the President of the Commission, and later to the President himself of the impropriety  of the AG leading the evidence of witnesses  during the proceedings of the Commission which was inquiring into the propriety of the investigations already carried out by the police.  Both the President and the head of the Commission persisted on insisting that  the AG should be there  and that he is an independent official.  Haggling over this issue went on for some time. IIGEP was  told that they being foreigners, did not understand the nuances of the laws in Sri Lanka and the independence of the AG.  Subsequently IIGEP had to obtain the opinion of two eminent retired judges of renown,  on the question of the independence of the AG  and the justification for the involvement of the AG in the proceedings of the Commission.  They gave a well-considered written opinion to the IIGEP,  confirming that  the Attorney-General is not an independent official  and that the role played by the AG  in the proceedings of the Commission was a conflict of interest as the AG’s representative had advised the original investigations in the cases which had been mandated for inquiry by the Commission. Even though this was pointed out, the AG’s representative continued his role in the Commission  and eroded the  Commission’s  real and perceived independence. Incidentally, this particular AG who has now retired has been appointed as the Chairman of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.  

In view of the  high profile nature of the cases the Commission was inquiring into, witnesses  to the incidents were hesitant to come  before the Commission and give evidence for fear of reprisals.  Though the IIGEP insisted on the need for a law to protect witnesses coming before the Commission,  the government failed to  take meaningful and effective steps to  provide protection for the witnesses.

Eventually the IIGEP had to abort its mission stating  that  they (I quote), found there a lack of  political and institutional will on the part of the Government to pursue with vigour  the cases under review by the Commission, with the intention of identifying the perpetrators or at least uncovering the systemic failures and obstructions to justice that rendered  the original investigations in to these cases ineffective.

Ultimately the term of the Commission which was mandated to  inquire into 15 high profiles cases was not extended even though inquires in the cases concerned had not been completed.  That Commission then ceased to exist, confirming the suspicion that the government was not even at the outset,  keen on investigating into the serious human rights violations concerned.  A report this Commission is said to have handed over to the President, has never been made public.

From the disclosures  I have  made  so far about what happened to the Commissions  referred to,  it would be clear  that in Sri Lanka, successive  governments had  been appointing Commissions not with the honest intention of finding out what actually happened  and to mete out justice to the victims,  but with the intention of deceiving the people concerned and the international community.   Commissions have always helped governments to divert  pressure on the government regarding the relevant issues.

The commissions appointed so far, have failed to address the serious questions that have been affecting Sri Lanka in the conflicts in the recent past. These commissions have been condemned by international organizations  as well as by local human rights groups who have published extensive reports and analysis on the workings of these commissions. Amnesty International has  called the work of these Commissions as “Twenty Years of Make Believe”  in a report analyzing the work of these commissions. The International Commission of Jurists has published a work on this subject entitled “Families of the Disappeared, Still Waiting for Justice”. The reports of these organizations only confirm the fact of the ineffectiveness of these Commissions.

There isn’t a single commission appointed by the government  so far whose report or findings had been taken seriously and steps taken to implement their recommendations.  In fact, all such commissions have only been  exercises of denial of state responsibility, in instances when they  had been mandated to look into violations of human rights.

The recently appointed  ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’  in connection with the incidents relating to the conflict,  is bound to be another attempt at deception by the government which has now become well known for adopting such dubious tactics. As stated earlier this Commission is headed by the former Attorney General who crossed swords with IIGEP when he was in service and was well known for his  pro-government views.  His  personal links to the President  since their youthful days are also known.  Another key member of this Commission is the former representative of Sri Lanka at the UN where he had been vehemently defending the government’s  blood bath in the beaches of Mullaitivu during the war.  It is widely  alleged that  the President’s brother, the Defence Secretary who claims to have managed the war, had committed  violations of the rules of war and is responsible for the death of large number of civilians.  In the circumstances how can one expect  this commission to conduct its proceedings  without any bias ?

It is  obvious from the very beginning that this Commission is going to be another in the series of  deceptive commissions appointed so far,  and would suffer the same fate as most of the other Commissions.   To cap it all, the President was heard to say at an interview  Al Jazeera has  had with him recently,  that he was not going to punish any of his soldiers who fought the war valiantly to defeat the LTTE ! This statement is a pointer to the Commission not to find any military personnel guilty of any violation of the  rules of war or even the human rights of the victims of war.  Isn’t that statement of the President enough to expose the dubious intention of the President in appointing this Commission ?

[Editors note: The author was one of the secretaries of the first Provincial Council of the Western Province. We also encourage you to read Still waiting for justice in Sri Lanka by the author, published in March 2010, which also deals with Commissions of Inquiry in Sri Lanka.]

  • justitia

    Dear Mr Iqbal,
    Your piece is necessary, but again it is not, as all in sri lanka know that this latest “commission” is another eyewash.
    This commission will take many months to “start work” and soon within a few weeks the ‘work’ will come to a standstill due to absence of a proper mandate and procedural directives, paucity of funds, staff, and absence of a witness protection program which were the causes of the Independent International Group of Eminent Persons deciding to stop the inquiries of the Commission they were overseeing, and leave sri lanka, thoroughly disgusted with what happened. People wishing to give evidence will be prevented from doing so.
    There will also be organised protests against it. This commission may last longer that the APRC, by which time, there may be another or a ‘refurbished’ constitution and new elections – and it will die a natural death.

  • Agnos

    Mr. Iqbal,

    Thank you for writing this. Despite this obvious game of appointing commissions that are a joke to begin with, nothing much will come out of other states against it because inter-state relations are not governed by morality, but by the self-interests of countries, as the late J.N. Dixit confessed in his book on Sri Lanka.

    So only relentless activism and pressure, long after the Media is tired of the story, can serve the cause of justice. And sometimes, people need to interpret laws aggressively and apply unorthodox methods, including the application of universal jurisdiction, to bring war criminals in Sri Lanka to justice anywhere in the world. The failure of the international system to ensure justice for the victims makes such a course of action inevitable.

  • Pearl Thevanayagam

    I was listening to GL and Clinton yesterday about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    Late Premadasa started this new flavour of the day first with Kokkadicholai Commission inquiring into atrocities committed by the government security forces in Kokkadicholai, a village in Batticaloa in 1990. Over a hundred villagers were killed when the forced bulldozed the village with caterpillars.

    The findings were never published. There was a three member commission led by Justice Siva Sellathurai. This lasted a year.

    In 1991 a presidential commission was set up for a book published by a Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky who wrote eight pages about Sri Lanka and how both government soldiers and Tamil rebels were trained side by side by Israel. What irked Premadasa was that ostrovsky described Sri Lankans as resembling apes! This lasted eight months.

    Findings were not made public.

    Then for the next 12 months another commission led by Justice Wansundera was in progress inquiring into NGOs.

    Findings were not made public.

    Mr Iqbal has commented on the later commissions.

    As we know and as GL stated in his interview with Hilary Clinton that enough financial resources have been made vailable for this commission.

    Yet, he had on an earlier occasion stated that there was no money to repatriate displaced Tamil civilians. May be they are lesser human beings.

    And by the way commissions do not have judicial powers. So technically if the commission finds anyone guilty he/she still cannot be charged in court. What a lark.

  • cyberviews

    Thank you Mr Iqbal for a very enlightening analysis. I believe that for a Truth and Reconciliation commission to be successful it requires the backing of a political leadership that believes in the truth and seeks true reconciliation. It requires statespersonship of a high calibre, such as that displayed by the Nelson Mandelas and the DesmondTutus. But if the leadership itself are the perpetrators of the atrocities and barbaric acts by virtue of command responsibility, then it obviously would not want to expose itself voluntarily.

    In such a situation it is only an externally established inquiry that would serve the purpose of an honest investigation. Setting up such an international commission requires a similar respect for the truth by political leaders in the international community. But in a complex world of geopoltically determined interests, such principled positions are not forthcoming. For example while USA might see China as problematic in its defence of Sri Lanka at the Security Council, in the current stand off in the Korean peninsula, it would obviously relish the support of China as it did in the case of the censure of Iran in the development of nuclear weapons issue. Secondly there is the issue of double standards especially when it comes to the indefensibe acts of Israel against the Palestinians.

    At present it is only the global human rights bodies like HRW and AI that are making all the noise, and trying to bring pressure to bear on the UN, the US and other international actors to see justice being given a chance in Sri Lanka. But then listening to Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton’s press statement today it seems that Sri Lanka is being let off the hook. It is not clear what has prompted this sudden change of position. It could be either due to ulterior political and economic motives (there are big bucks in the rehabilitation and reconstruction process) or a pragmatic approach of gentle persuasion, by keeping the door for engagement open.

    This world is replete with stories of grave human rights violations by many state and non state actors in many countries across Africa, Asia , Latin America, the Middle East and other parts of the world. While the dead have become one with the earth, the memories linger as unwritten histories of voiceless peoples. That could be true for Sri Lanka (1971-2009) too.

  • Siva

    Thank you Mr.Iqbal. Minister Peiris assured Secretary Clinton that all members appointed to the T & R.C are INDEPENDENT, IMPARTIAL AND COMPETENT. Secretary Clinton seems to have accepted this assurance without verifying the background of the Chairman of the Commission and other members. There will be many in SL and outside who will be closely watching how independant and immpartial there this Commission is. ..

  • Pearl Thevanayagam

    How long are we going to fool the populace.

    Hilary Clinton cannot point out Mullivaikkal if it hit her between the eyes. She only remembers GL 15 years ago. Damned if GL changed sides like there is no tomorrow not unlike Hilary’s own dilly-dallying with those in power although Obama is not someone she would have wished to co-habit with.

    The Rhodes scholar needs a prop and Sri Lanka is way down on the agenda for Hilary to do her homework.

    SL does not have nuclear weapons nor does it have oil or conduit to oil suppies from Central Asia.

    SL does not have Agni missiles or Preethi.

    As a fellow scholar at UC Berkeley told me US has enough on its plate reporting on the 51 states to faff about with the rest of the world.

  • Thanka

    Many thanks to the author for exposing the past commissions of Inquiry which have proved a comjplete failure in delivering justice or their justification for wasting government funds and the valueable time spent by the commissioners.

    The Sinhala Governments have aLways appionted commissions only to ward off conplaints and cry from the public for justice. There is an old saying among the people in Ceylon that if you dont want to do a thing, you appoint a commission.

    The latest one is just another in the line of deceptive politics. Mrs;Clinton or for that matter any foreign dignitary can only express hopes of an utopian end to the issues. These mean nothing more than diplomatic jargon that carry no sense. Let the dogs bark andn the caravan moves is the motto of the sri lankan Governments.

  • Jade

    With you, Pearl Thevanayagam.

  • Muhunthan

    Dear Mr. Iqbal,

    Thank you very much for giving this elaborating accounts of the Commisions of Inquiries in Sri Lanka and their deceptive nature. You are very correct to say that the Commision recently appointed by the President also going to be an utter failure due to its constitution itself with a person who has been instrumental and very partial towards the government which resulted in the untimely death of the previous commision appointed to investigate the Human Rights violations as its Head. Is their any morality or justification to appoint such a person to this commision unless the President wants to deceive the international community including the UN ?. He spokes about ‘internal matter’ and ‘we are capable’ etc, and expose himself nakedly violating international norms and standards of Inquiry Commission on a matter that was concerned to the international community and Rights Groups. He further displays his his original stand tha “I don’t care for the ‘International community any Orgnisation” But, he wants them for financial assistance only and not accountability.

    It is high time that the international right bodies expose these issues and insist call for Independant International Inquries into the war crimes commited between 2005 to 2009 during which period thousands of civilians were killed due to indiscriminate shellings by the Forces in the dwelling areas of Tamils..

    I get off my hat to salute you for your bold expression of facts and opinoin on this matter.

  • hameed

    israel goes and kills 10 people bringing aid.

    lets see AI going to town with this? lets see if Navai Pillay will talk on this and how long it will take.

    dont you feel our armed forces were too commendable on their operations – i mean when the aid ship came -we sould have just baorded it and killed all.

  • Thiruvengadam

    Strange?

    Less than 12 hours pass by and the UN is desperate to investigate the 19 Palestinian human rights activities death Israel’s raid on a flotilla.

    More than 12 month pass by but around 40 000 deaths caused by Sri Lanka’s government are not investigated by the UN.

    Why?

  • Observer

    Thiruvengadam, because everyone knows 40,000 is a rubbish number! Duh!

  • In France the 14th of July is an important national holiday. On 14 of July in 1789 by entering in to the Bastille they initiated the french revolution to free the civic society from the grips of Monarchy.
    As far as the civil society in Sri Lanka let themselves be fooled from the politicians there will nothing happen and no commission will help to change this.

  • niranjan

    Observer,

    Dead bodies in bags are being unearthed in Kilinochchi. Only the Tamil papers reported this. Perhaps the Editors were afraid to publish them in the English press. The Leader may carry a story on Sunday. The Leader is the only paper that will carry it if at all even though Lasantha is dead.

    In addition Channel 4 has come out with more war crimes pictures. The evidence is coming out all but slowly.

  • Punitham

    Thank you very much, Iqbal.

    We need a lot more voices to resolve the extremely vicious conflict in Sri Lanka.

    http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/06/vanni_northern_sri_lanka_where.html#more
    Vanni, northern Sri Lanka, where war has never ended, 1 June 2010:
    ”The area is still actually in the hands of the military, which allowed the return of the population but force them to live in absolute poverty. The military blocks any attempts to improve their lives, but does not stop abuse and violence”

  • Nithyananthan

    ‘Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission’
    Title Heading and the Choice of words sound noble and objective. A book can not be judged by the cover.
    What new lessons are we going to learn newly that we have not yet learnt from the last 62 years of post-independence history? Fate of this commission too as usual has already been preordained / predetermined by the dignitaries nominated to the panel. Do we have any appetite to find out anything out of this exercise?

    Being patriotic or nationalist is nothing wrong. Next to God, any sensible human is always concerned firstly about his wellbeing, self-respect and dignity. When such sensibility is disproportionately exposed / demonstrated by undemocratic means – it’s categorized as deadly virus ‘Chauvinism’. When the same senses trying to oppose and defend, preserve and uphold by and beyond peaceful means and their limits – it’s classified as ‘Terrorism against Democracy’. Jingoism of the stronger delivered to nationalism of the weaker! Anything in excess is bad.
    In Lanka, excessive arrogant exaltation of one’s language, extreme loyalty to his ethnicity and aggressive devotion to his religion and national consciousness, -all these four pillars of chauvinistic excesses-, combined together and led to irreversible blind extreme jingoism – that displayed its ugly face of ferocity and furor of momentous tragic events of tremendous misfortune culminated in …. A fair observation and conclusion, I suppose, may be!
    Mr. Shiv Visvanathan, a well known Indian political theorist and social scientist observed it as – in my words “Linguistic Chauvinism is a craving for homogeneity as a form of exclusion or assimilation of the weaker. Linguistic Chauvinism is the tyranny of language which destroys its own plurality and popularity as is happening in our little land. It appears in times of economic crisis or political hostility. It becomes a way of creating an artificial community which claims to be pure. Linguistic Chauvinism is the sibling of electoral democracy, where the dominant or majoritarian group uses language as a strategy of exclusion”’
    The likes of some of the commentators argue that they represent and safeguard social & national interests. But more than their violent writings, it is their illiteracy and their bullyboy sociology appears pathetic. Thank you Sir, Mr. MCM Iqbal! Nithy!

  • Pearl Thevanayagam

    Thank you Mr Nithyananthan.

    And I thank God/s that we still have moderate Tamils who are not averse to rational thinking.

    Extremism led to annihilation of innocent civilians both Tamils and dirt-poor Sinhala sodliers who only came forward to fight a war not based on their entrenched Sinhala nationalism but on the promise of a reward of just a few lakhs of rupees for their family if they became martyrs to the whims of ruling powers sustainability as the new rich royalty.

    Successive sinhal politicians exploited the masses with their rehetoric of Sinhala supremacy and in turn the Tamil politicians held ordinary Tamils including those lower castes they would not invite to their dinner table to fight a war so they could enjoy a comfortable position among the majority.

    Pirabakaran tried and turned the tables on the Tamil elite who nurtured his ilk.

    Now Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation in the form of commission would fatten up the commissioners and nobody else.

    It is upto the learned and enlightened Sri Lankans to see through this folly and put an immediate stop to this toothless commission.

    Let us have a full war tribunal accountable to donors.

  • Tmama

    Sadly not one commentator has congratulated the government for bringing an end to the war – and the greaqt price paid by the heroic armed forces to wipe out terrorism.

    Let us face it as long as some countries are vastly rich and some dirt poor as one commetator aptly put in an otherwise unremarkable comment, there could be wars financed by rich adventurers from the rich countries willing to set up terror cells in poorer countries to amass yet more money and power. Latter in particular, seems to be an aphrodisiac for new rich narco dealer or stock market manipulator class of immigrant, who dream of becoming politicians gaining further mileage from insecure parliamentarians of host countries.

    Sri Lanka faced many coups from ’61 onwards, and similar events are increasingly frequent. We saw another short attempt to take over Equattorial New Guinea where the one who got caught came out with the whole story.

    Aided by shady elements of the NGO community, arms traders, all sorts of vendors of dubious goods and services add their might to unsettle war torn or crisis hit countries. THe process continues even after the defeat of the military wing of theLTTE as we saw in the half a million in dollar notes saga.

    Let us hope the investigation will be thorough, and those who set up the bogus hunger strikers in the metropolitan cities with ‘no surrender’ slogans will be exposed.

  • Observer

    niranjan, Killinochchi was under LTTE administration for years. So the truth behind those bags we may never find, since the perpetrators are 6 feet under now, if you know what i mean.

    evidence coming out? where? please point me.

    You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
    – Abraham Lincoln

  • niranjan

    Observer,

    An impartial investigation will have to be done on the Kilinochchi bodies. It is difficult to conduct a proper investigation when the authorities are frightened of its outcome so that truth is suppressed. One report said that the bodies are about one year old. the Tamil press may reveal more in time to come. Both the Sinhala and English press have kept silent.

    It is obvious that crimes have taken place. It is common knowledge and common sense. You seem to dismiss the descovery of the bodies in the same way the Government dismisses war crimes charges.
    The truth will eventually come out, but it may take a number of years(take the killings during the Spanish civil war for example-the skeletons in the closet are coming out now). I know the LTTE was occupying Kili for awhile, but that does not mean the Sri Lanka army was not there.

    If you want evidence go to Kilinochchi and look around. You may find some. But bear in mind that evidence would have been destroyed or may currently be in the process of been destroyed after the descovery of the bodies.

    You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
    – Abraham Lincoln