Colombo, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Post-War, War Crimes

The protest by Wimal Weerawansa against the UN in Sri Lanka: Condoned by government?

On 30 June, senior Government Minister Wimal Weerawansa urged the public to surround the UN office in Colombo and hold its staff hostage until moves by the UN to appoint a panel on Sri Lanka is dropped, putting the UN in Sri Lanka on high alert. On the same day, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said that when the UN contacted the Sri Lankan government over this statement, the government assured they were Minister Weerawansa’s “individual opinion”. On 2 July, it was reported that the government may tender an apology to the UN over the Minister’s comments. Any communication to this effect by the government to the UN is, to date, not in the public domain. On 4 July, Minister Weerawansa said he stood by his comment, and clarified that he made it as the National Freedom Front (NFF) leader and not in his capacity as a Government member. He also reiterated his call for the public to surround the building and protest against the UN panel.

On the morning of 6 July, the NFF surrounded the UN compound in Colombo. Later the same day, the Government Information Department noted,

“The Government of Sri Lanka dealt with the protest outside the UN complex in Colombo today, in compliance with both domestic as well as international obligations. At the domestic level, Sri Lanka being a democratic society, the Government had to respect the entitlement to voice opinion, including through peaceful demonstrations. Accordingly, the Police permitted a peaceful gathering in front of the complex.”

Chaotic scenes from the morning of 6 July were captured by Vikalpa and featured on Groundviews. Later in the day, in contradiction to the statement issued by the Government Information Department, news stories noted that Police actually attempted to remove the protestors, including a group that had forced themselves inside the UN premises. However, in a bizarre twist of events, it was ultimately the Police who had to withdraw on instructions from the government. News reports suggest that Minister Weerawansa directly threatened the Inspector General of Police, and in a characteristic display of chutzpah went on to note the following day that a UN representative had bribed the police to assaulted the protestors, injuring some of them.

Related to this, the Lanka Truth website runs a story on an alleged phone call with the President’s brother, the churlish Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in which he directly orders the Police to withdraw from the vicinity of the UN compound. As Lanka Truth notes,

“It has been revealed that the protest which was held in front of UN office complex Colombo was conducted with an overall awareness of the government. This came to the notice after a journalist recorded a threat made to a police officer by the Defense Secretary over the phone. The Defense Secretary reprimanded the police officers for intervening with the protest. Once the police officer replied as the orders were given by the Inspector General, Defence Secretary threatened to dismiss the IGP immediately.”

A recording of this alleged conversation, taken off the Lanka Truth site, can be heard below. The video of this alleged call to Goatabaya Rajapaksa was also captured by Vikalpa, and can be seen here (from around 3:39).

Gotabaya on UN

Although the NFF protest is set to continue, the UN announced on 8 July that the UN Secretary General’s panel would not be disbanded and that its work would continue. The UN itself attempted to suggest that Minister Weerawansa’s protest would be ‘Gandhian’. Tellingly, the soi-disant card-carrying patriots and commentators, columnists, bloggers and other politicians who have vehemently and oftentimes viciously opposed the UN panel in mainstream and online media have yet, to date, thronged to join the NFF protest. Perhaps they too wonder what relation Gandhi’s deep commitment to and belief in non-violent civil disobedience has with Minister Weerawansa’s public statements and the behaviour of the NFF in front of the UN.

  • Is this Sri Lanka or Nazi Germany in 1935 ? It seems that Goebbels has come back to life … or it is the new goal of the SL government to make Burma régime look as choir boys ? The attitude of the government is pathetic and childish , the economic sanctions are on the way and there will be more , but of course it will be only the labourers that will suffer .

  • justitia

    This is an attempt on the part of W.Weerawansa to ingratiate himself further into the corridors of power controlled by the Rajapakse Family.He is attempting to show that he is a ‘great patriot’.Obviously he is supported by the government.Earlier Palitha Kohona at the UN reportedly hired some lankans in new york with $100 plus free lunch,to demonstrate against the UNSecretary General.

  • Grasshopper

    The SL Police – paid for by the Sri lankan tax payers come and physically attack the the very men who pay them. How is it that that Police ‘lokka’ did not have an iota of decency to refrain from resorting to violence? The thug in uniform melted in to a purring kitten in a classic ‘yes sir’-ism no sooner Gota started his barrage at the other end. What a wonderful pecking order do we have! Public servants my ar$e.

  • Grasshopper

    @ Henri/Ray,

    The attitudes of Sri lankan governments more or less has always been in the gutter for the last few decades. It is not a new thing for us. But what is it that you hope to achieve by imposing economic sanctions, knowing full well that it is the labourers who will suffer and not one single politician?

  • Dan

    Grasshopper,
    The economic sanctions will break the bonds between suffering workers and a corrupt government. Hopefully that will bring about a regime change.

  • Belle

    Will the Defence Secretary join Weerawansa in the “fast until death”?

  • Pearl Thevanayagam

    Let us consider for one moment the repersussions of this govt. orchestrated demo outside UN HQ with its cabinet minister holding siege to an internatinal body.

    UN has withdrawn its rep on the orders of Ban-Ki-Moon. Sri Lanka is no longer the unruly child who complains the others are ganging up on him. It has played into very hands that are instigating inquiries into war crimes. The EU asked the government to right its record on human wrongs and it will overlook its track record. The govt. should have paid heed.

    No, it is claiming its sovereignty and that EU, US or UN should not meddle with the internal affairs. It reiterates that it would conduct its own inquiries. It is all very well if it wants to keep its performance under wraps only if it did not require their aids and grants without which it cannot raise its head above the debts it piled upon itself in the name of defeating terrorism.

    Massive slice of the national budget having been allocated to defence and still continuing, the debts were due to top heavy cabinet of which the President and his family have the largest piece.

    I do not for one moment think the western donors want their aid to benefit just few creme de la creme.

    Burying its head under the sands of nationalism and sovereignty will cause this government to stay there and not be able to raise its head. And this is not far off.

  • Heshan

    The question is, will Weerawansa actually fast unto “death”… I doubt it. He would’ve had a good meal before the “fast” began… surely he’ll get hungry in about two days max and give the whole thing up after MR “personally” intervenes.

  • Grasshopper

    @ Dan,

    Democracy in Sri lanka does not function as it does in a developed country. Sri lankans have no alternative, no matter who comes in, they are all useless effing idiots.

  • They should just let [him] starve to death. Good riddance…

  • Huh

    Dear Pearl,

    Your analysis is always spot-on. What is funnier is that Sri Lanka has basically sealed its own doom–I mean, wasn’t part of the deal of the GSP+ status that in return for special benefits for Sri Lanka’s textile industry, Sri Lanka would improve its human rights record? Well, now that the Rajapakses and their defenders have given a big ” F— You!”to the UN and in doing this, they basically have agreed to destroy Sri Lanka’s textile industry and have basically caused huge damage to their overall economy in the long run. So much for “King” Rajapakse!!

  • From http://twitter.com/groundviews/status/18093440329

    No denial from govt that Wimal W called Gotabaya to order police out from NFF protest. Rule of law = Gotabaya’s fancy?! #srilanka #lka

  • Realist

    It’s disappointed to see people like Pearl, “Huh,” etc.taking pleasure whenever they think that the image of Sri Lanka is going to be tarnished. Even more so since such people have long since abandoned their mother land in favour of “greener pastures” that never really came.

    The reality is, nobody gives a shit about the UN. Ever wonder why Bush tried so hard to get the US out of the UN? (or why the UN doesn’t support any US initiatives)? The UN does not solve any problems, it simply creates more. Out with it, donkey moon, and his followers.

  • Realist

    And guess what, UN lovers, Donkey Moon has been caught with his pants down again:

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/index.php/news/4950-the-big-ban-lie.html

    I guess this is also a massive conspiracy by the ruling powers?

  • Just one week after the war, 25th May 2009, Switzerland backed by eleven EU and ten other countries submitted a resolution to UNHRC against Sri Lanka on sixteen counts. In short, they wanted to investigate war Crimes at the end of Sri Lanka war with LTTE. In order to counter that, Sri Lanka proposed a five point plan to “Assist Sri Lanka in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.”

    Supporting Sri lanka proposal, India said; by “forcing” a special session on this council, HR has become “politicized.” China said; the council should “respect the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.” Russia said; it “welcomes the end of the bloody conflict.” In the end, Sri Lanka won 29 for 12 against.

    Moon should have implemented Sri Lanka proposal. Instead Moon started entertaining false reports by NGOs such as ICU of Arbour and Tamil Diaspora to authenticate the lost case by Switzerland. After a year, Moon appointed a three man commission to witch hunt on Sri Lanka with the backing of the US, the EU. Predictably, Russia and China objected to Moon’s illegal act in harsh words.

    And that’s where it stands now. Now with two permanent members of the Security Council opposing how would Moon push the findings of his commission, only his God knows.

    Then there is another point: As far as we know of, this is the first time a UN Secretary General appointed a commission of his own in an arbitrary manner. Authority of the Secretary General is described in Chapter XV and in Articles 97 and 98 of the UN Charter. Clearly, the Secretary General has over stepped his authority. Otherwise why does Moon tried to fall back on to an agreement he signed with our President.

    Now the question is should we patriotic Sri Lankans accept Moon’s arbitrary action lying down or let him know we disapprove his conduct. I think, through agitation or peaceful protests, we must let the world at large know we are against Moon.

  • Why is the SL government and the SL ” patriots ” so scared of an investigation ? An innocent is never scared of an ivestigation . What happen with the investigation of the 18 french citizens that were killed in Muttur ? Was it even started ?
    The ONLY problem you have in SL comes from China , for the last years the chinese have been pouring massive amounts of money in the hands of the government . With that and the ” supervision ” of the chinese the war could be terminated . We also know the Chinese for their respect of human rights … and how much they care about the rest of nations .
    They did not come to SL for a pick nic , but to use its strategic situation for their plans to control India , as it is the only country that can cast a shadow on their economic growth .
    You have got rid of a tiger but only by letting a dragon come inside your home and the dogs of Fo dont let go when they bite ! Not even Ravana can help you with that situation .
    Good luck

  • Heshan

    Where were all these flag-waving Southern patriots when the UN funded and pretty much ran the IDP camps, at a cost of 1 million USD per day? Yes, I understand they were rather busy with their lion-flag parties and firecracker spectacles, nevertheless, burning effigies of Ban is not a nice way to express your gratitude… more generally speaking, I’d say that the patriots have their priorities mixed up – shouldn’t they be protesting Fonseka’s indefinite incarceration, while KP enjoys luxury amenity after luxury amenity? On the other hand, such a mix-up of priorities just shows how shallow the motivations behind the war were, in the first place.

    I should also mention, where were the patriots after the tsunami struck? Why didn’t they protest against all the donations. It was not China and Russia that came to the aid of the island, but the West.

    For the record, I am no fan of the UN, but they have done more good to the island than harm… if the UN, through the West, really wanted to harm SL, it would go well beyond covert LTTE support. For starters, begin with the economic sanctions imposed on Saddam-run Iraq, and note the devastating consequences.

  • Grasshopper

    @ Henri/ Ray

    [quote]Why is the SL government and the SL ” patriots ” so scared of an investigation ? An innocent is never scared of an ivestigation .[/quote]

    It’s called not allowing SL to be a doormat whenever some Western hypocrit wants us to be one. UN has proven time and time again that it is no longer an unbiased organisation that it used to be and is spineless as ever. How about setting a precedent by doing some war-crimes investigations on US for their conduct in Japan, Viet Nam and Iraq for a start?

  • Realist

    @Henri/ray,

    You must be like [Ban Ki] moon and his followers, thinking that this panel is for an investigation. Didn’t you know? [Ban Ki] moon himself says it has nothing to do with an investigation, as he does not know what he really wants:

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/index.php/news/4972-ban-clarifies-panel-mandate.html

    So go hang your investigation.

  • Belle

    Leela,
    I was curious about your claims that Ban is taking action beyond his mandate and so did some reading on the UN Charter and related bodies.

    As you note from the UN Charter, the UN Secretariat is chief administrator of the various UN bodies. The UNHRC, a sub-body of the UN General Assembly (which Sec-Gen serves) has a Complaints Procedure, through which individuals and NGOs can bring issues of HR abuses to the attention of the UNHRC. So the UNHRC and the Sec-Gen (as its chief administrator) are doing their job in inquiring into these complaints.

    What is your evidence that the NGOs and Tamil Diaspora’s complaints are false accusations? The word of your government? It is precisely the truth or falsity of these complaints that the Sec-Gen and UNHRC have no choice but to investigate, considering that more than such a few complaints have been directed to them. At this preliminary stage,the Sec-Gen has merely appointed an advisory panel to advise him on how he should proceed. It is not a war crimes investigation (for which you need the Council Members’ vote).

    Sri Lanka is breaking its commitment to the UN as a member in refusing to allow them to do their job (as mandated by the Charter).

    “Now with two permanent members of the Security Council opposing how would Moon push the findings of his commission, only his God knows.”

    The advisory panel has arisen out of matters pertaining to the UNHRC, which is linked to the General Assembly. He does not need to go to the Security Council at this stage so there are no veto powers involved here. China’s and Russia’s objections are irrelevant at this stage.Obviously, he would not proceed along this path unless he had an idea of what he was going to do with the panel’s advice. Maybe he will avoid both the politically compromised Security Council and Human Rights Council and take it to the General Assembly?

    I wouldn’t underestimate Ban. It’s not easy to be appointed UN Sec-Gen. Needs a lot of manoeuvering. He seems to know how to do that, beating many others who were more obvious choices.

    It is time anyway that someone figures out how to get human rights prosecution past the HR Council, which is largely made up of the very same rogue states that are trying to avoid prosecution for HR violations. Hopefully,he will find a way to negotiate the morass of legislation involved in making states accountable for HR abuse.

    As to his ‘God’, he says it’s inappropriate to talk about his religious affiliations as Sec-Gen of an international body. His mother though is a Buddhist. Perhaps his ‘God’ is also SL’s ‘God’–South Korea is largely Buddhist.

    “Now the question is should we patriotic Sri Lankans accept Moon’s arbitrary action lying down or let him know we disapprove his conduct. I think, through agitation or peaceful protests, we must let the world at large know we are against Moon.”

    Either Sri Lanka supports the UN, or it leaves the UN. You can’t have it both ways. The UN Charter requires member nations to allow it to do its work. You’re trying to make it a matter of SL objecting against Ban rather than against the UN.This is not the first time SL is disrespecting UN. SL regularly abuses UN senior officials as “terrorists” and “terrorist sympathisers”. I remember how it refused Kofi Annan entry to the North during the tsunami aftermath. Why was Sri Lanka refused a spot on the UN Human Rights Council in 2008? Why did Archbishop Desmond Tutu say that SL was not fit to be a HR Council member?

    Patriotism to a country doesn’t entail covering up the truth. There are a lot of war victims who want to know what happened. After what they’ve been through, surely the country owes them an honest answer, not an answer given by people who have self-interest in denying war crimes.

  • Grasshopper

    @ Belle,

    [quote]Either Sri Lanka supports the UN, or it leaves the UN. You can’t have it both ways.[/unquote]
    Your assertion is wrong. Classic example was when the US invaded Iraq despite UN warnings and investigations proving that Iraq did not have WoMD. John Adams, a past UN rep of the US was against many actions of the UN yet US still remains in the UN. Russia, Israel, Cuba, Venezuela are but a few examples of nations that had raised many objections against the stance of UN over a wide range of issues yet they continue to remain in the UN.

    [quote]I wouldn’t underestimate Ban. It’s not easy to be appointed UN Sec-Gen. Needs a lot of manoeuvering. He seems to know how to do that, beating many others who were more obvious choices.[unquote]
    Ability to manoeuvre and come to the top says nothing about the a person’s fairness or wisdom. Bush, Hitler, Saddam all rose to the top but were not men of integrity and honesty were they?

    [quote]Patriotism to a country doesn’t entail covering up the truth. There are a lot of war victims who want to know what happened. After what they’ve been through, surely the country owes them an honest answer[unquote]
    Totally agree with you here and I do NOT trust Mahinda to ever to do justice to the dead civilians. But hey, the last thing I want is investigations done by UN whose accusations of warcrimes go only in one direction and one direction only and i.e. from West to East while turning a blind eye to all the war crimes committed by US and UK.

  • @ Belle ,
    thanks for a superb analysis . Its nice to see that there is people with an objective reasoning in the middle of school boys …

  • banda

    What about the war crimes in Afghanistan & Iraq?
    Where was this UN when thousands of Sri Lankans were killed?
    No point in blaming the UN. they are just acting as play dogs to satisfy USA, EU who are trying to rule the world.
    We dont want SL to end up being another Iraq.

    LONG LIVE MOTHER LANKA!!!

  • Belle

    Grasshopper,
    “Your assertion is wrong. Classic example was when the US invaded Iraq despite UN warnings and investigations proving that Iraq did not have WoMD.”

    But US didn’t attack Iraq on UN auspices. It tried for a General Assembly resolution but had to back off. It went in on its own, with some other countries.

    “John Adams, a past UN rep of the US was against many actions of the UN yet US still remains in the UN. Russia, Israel, Cuba, Venezuela are but a few examples of nations that had raised many objections against the stance of UN over a wide range of issues yet they continue to remain in the UN.”

    Of course there will be differences with UN stance on issues, and resolutions are debated and voted on. But could you give me examples of these countries refusing to comply with UN requests of them?

    “Ability to manoeuvre and come to the top says nothing about the a person’s fairness or wisdom. Bush, Hitler, Saddam all rose to the top but were not men of integrity and honesty were they?”

    I wasn’t discussing Ban’s fairness or wisdom. Somebody said that the panel he appointed would be useless because two permanent members of the Security Council would protect SL against war crimes investigation. I’m saying that he may have a few tricks up his sleeve.

    “But hey, the last thing I want is investigations done by UN whose accusations of warcrimes go only in one direction and one direction only and i.e. from West to East while turning a blind eye to all the war crimes committed by US and UK.”

    Well, then, again, if you think the UN is biased and you don’t trust it, then why remain as a member? And willingly accept its aid?

    How is it that you know US and UK have committed war crimes, but don’t know whether SL has committed war crimes? UN doesn’t need to determine whether UK and US have committed war crimes–the information on this is available. This is not the case for SL. Hence the need for an investigation. Prosecution for war crimes is a different matter–and it can be easily evaded too. All the UN wants to do is determine whether there were war crimes in SL last year. Should SL be allowed to boast to the world at large about its being the first country to destroy a terrorist organization without allowing the world to inspect whether it did so in a legitimate manner?

  • Grasshopper

    @ Henri/ Ray,

    ” Its nice to see that there is people with an objective reasoning in the middle of school boys ”

    Ahaha…now we talking! I love it when it boils down to person attacks. Those are the last defences when one does not have anything meaningful to say.

    @ Belle,

    ” Well, then, again, if you think the UN is biased and you don’t trust it, then why remain as a member? And willingly accept its aid? ”

    UN is larger than its Secretary General (SG) Mr. Moon or any leadership that may come along in the future or has ever held office in the past. Just because a country does not agree with its SG and a few bully nations that inhabit and pull the strings of SG, it does not mean that that country should not cooperate with the 190-odd countries that engage in it.

    Sri lanka is a financially 3rd world country and therefore Sri lanka needs financial assitance. We are appreciative of the financial and humanitarin aid offered to Sri lankans on more than one occasion and especially thankful for their warm help extended to us during the aftermath of the Tsunami. But please remember this in mind: it DOES NOT put UN and the aid doners on a moral high horse. It DOES NOT give the UN and the aid doner countries to tell us what to do! Suggestions and comments are welcome but don’t tell us what to do!

  • Heshan

    Grasshopper:

    It DOES NOT give the UN and the aid doner countries to tell us what to do!

    Don’t take the cake and then refuse the knife, if you know what I mean. If SL wants to do everything its own way, it should leave the United Nations , in which case it will have no international obligations and no one will complain about “human rights violations”, even if Gothabaya lines up every traitor and executes them in broad daylight. Nothing is preventing SL from leaving the UN, but all of us know that if it did so, the development of the country would go back a few centuries…. as long as SL is part of the UN, it has to follow its obligations.

  • Heshan

    Let me also point out, if SL wants to run the United Nations, then there is an easy way to do it: let it contribute the most money. The UN does not get money out of thin air; it is funded on the basis of voluntary contributions from member states. As a far as a business is concerned, if you happen to make a gigantic contribution that has a significant impact on the day-to-do operations, you are likely to get a good return, which may well include influence that extends to policy-making.

    TOP 10 Financial Contributors to UN:

    1. –U S
    2 Japan
    3 UK
    4 Germany
    5 Netherlands
    6 Italy
    7 Noway
    8 France
    9 Sweden
    10 Canada

    http://www.reformtheun.org/index.php/articles/1917

  • Grasshopper

    Heshan who is talking about wanting to run the UN? US does that brilliantly anyways, amidst all the “praise” by all other 191 UN-member countries.

  • If anybody thinks that a 30 year war with more than 150.000 dead and missing persons will escape an investigation he is totally wrong ! Even Pol Pot and its gang were finally brougth to justice .
    In war as in tango you have to be two , and both sides will have to be investigated by a court of justice . It is only a question of time .

  • Grasshopper

    @ Henri/ Ray

    If anybody thinks that a 30 year war with more than 150.000 dead and missing persons will escape an investigation he is totally wrong ! Even Pol Pot and its gang were finally brougth to justice .

    Your assertion has been proven wrong before. Because….

    US was never brought to justice for dropping atomic bombs not once but TWICE on civilian settlements and killing millions.

    US was never brought to justice for using chemical weapons (Agent Orange, Napalm) in Viet Nam and killing millions.

    US was not brought to justice for invading Iraq and killing more than a hundred thousand civilians despite UN investigation and reports concluding that Iraq did not have WoMD.

  • Belle

    Grasshopper,
    “Sri lanka is a financially 3rd world country and therefore Sri lanka needs financial assitance.”

    I have only ever come across Sri Lankans who wear their 3rd World status like a badge of honour, and use it too to excuse all their primitive behaviour.

    “But please remember this in mind: it DOES NOT put UN and the aid doners on a moral high horse. It DOES NOT give the UN and the aid doner countries to tell us what to do! Suggestions and comments are welcome but don’t tell us what to do!”

    How about the fact that you are signatory to the UN Charter and the Human Rights Convention? Does that oblige you to honour the values of that charter and convention?

    On the whole, it might be more sensible not to do things that dishonour the pinciples of international organizations of which you are a member, to dishonour principles that you pledged to uphold. Then you don’t need to be in the position of others telling you what to do.

    I guess you believe in freebies, in getting something for nothing. There’s no moral high ground you can occupy there!

  • Heshan

    Grasshopper:

    US was never brought to justice for dropping atomic bombs not once but TWICE on civilian settlements and killing millions.

    That is a gross distortion of the facts. 105000 people died from the combined atomic bomb attacks on the two Japanese cities. I refer you to this website:

    http://www.atomicarchive.com/Docs/MED/med_chp10.shtml

    On the other hand, your pals the Japanese killed 30 million civilians during WWII:

    It may be pointless to try to establish which World War Two Axis aggressor, Germany or Japan, was the more brutal to the peoples it victimised. The Germans killed six million Jews and 20 million Russians [i.e. Soviet citizens]; the Japanese slaughtered as many as 30 million Filipinos, Malays, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Indonesians and Burmese, at least 23 million of them ethnic Chinese. Both nations looted the countries they conquered on a monumental scale, though Japan plundered more, over a longer period, than the Nazis. Both conquerors enslaved millions and exploited them as forced labourers—and, in the case of the Japanese, as [forced] prostitutes for front-line troops. If you were a Nazi prisoner of war from Britain, America, Australia, New Zealand or Canada (but not Russia) you faced a 4% chance of not surviving the war; [by comparison] the death rate for Allied POWs held by the Japanese was nearly 30%.[23]

    – Chalmers Johnson

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_war_crimes

    US was never brought to justice for using chemical weapons (Agent Orange, Napalm) in Viet Nam and killing millions.

    War crimes were committed by the USA during the Vietnam War, but nothing on the scale of what the Japanese did during WWII. In any event, these war crimes were discussed in the US Senate; there was no attempt at a cover-up.

    US was not brought to justice for invading Iraq and killing more than a hundred thousand civilians despite UN investigation and reports concluding that Iraq did not have WoMD.

    The hundred thousand figure is no doubt yet another gross miscalculation.

    I am glad a responsible nation like the USA with a proven track record of efficiency is in charge of the UN, and not some 3rd world c–p country like SL; we know what would happen if that were not the case – the UN would become one corrupt mess and cease to exist in a few years.

  • @ Grasshopper ,
    have you been drinking too much arrack ? Wake up , SL is not the US !

  • Grasshopper

    @ Heshan, Henri and Belle

    Regardless of the debatable values of civillians who had been killed by the US and UK, neither of them has been tried, EVER, for the war crimes committed by them. This is a fact! Even if I am drunk, and even if SL is not US, they do NOT nullify the fact that US and UK have committed many war crimes for which UN has taken absolutely no action whatsoever.

    Of course Japan committed far greater crimes. Never denied it. But I don’t see Japan going around pushing other countries now, appearing as do-gooders and champions of human rights unlike the US and UK administrations. After all, US could not even see through the differences in skin colour until a few decades ago.

    I am NOT, I repeat, I am NOT in favour of the Mahinda govt and how they run SL. Never voted for them either. Injustices committed and those that continue to occur in Sri Lanka must be investigated as much as possible and I am all for pushing whoever is in power in SL by the POEPLE of SL to carry them out. What I am against is, UN, who overlook the war crimes committed by the US and UK going around showing an increased sensitivity for the violence that took place in SL.

  • Heshan

    Grasshopper:

    Your accusations are totally baseless. Many, many US soldiers have been convicted of crimes in Iraq and other places:

    The United States Department of Defense removed seventeen soldiers and officers from duty, and eleven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery. Between May 2004 and March 2006, eleven soldiers were convicted in courts martial, sentenced to military prison, and dishonorably discharged from service. Two soldiers, Specialist Charles Graner, and his former fiancée, Specialist Lynndie England, were sentenced to ten years and three years in prison, respectively, in trials ending on January 14, 2005 and September 26, 2005. The commanding officer of all Iraq detention facilities, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, was reprimanded for dereliction of duty and then demoted to the rank of Colonel on May 5, 2005 for a pending misdemeanor shoplifting charge years earlier. Col. Karpinski has denied knowledge of the abuses, claiming that the interrogations were authorized by her superiors and performed by subcontractors, and that she was not even allowed entry into the interrogation rooms.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_torture_and_prisoner_abuse

    Steven Dale Green
    Green in Iraq

    Green was arrested in North Carolina while traveling home from Arlington, Virginia, where he had attended the funeral of a soldier. On June 30, 2006, the FBI arrested Green, who was held without bond and transferred to Louisville, Kentucky. On July 3, 2006, United States Federal Court prosecutors formally charged him with raping and killing Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, a 14-year-old girl, and with killing her six-year-old sister Hadeel, her father, Qassim Hamza Rasheed, and her mother, Fakhriya Taha Muhasen in Mahmoudiyah, on March 12, 2006. On July 10, the U.S. Army charged four other active duty soldiers with the same crime. A sixth soldier, Sgt. Anthony Yribe, was charged with failing to report the attack, but not with having participated in the rape and the murders. On May 7, 2009, Pfc. Green was found guilty by the federal court in Kentucky of rape and multiple counts of murder.[2] While prosecutors sought the death penalty in this case, jurors failed to agree unanimously on that outcome.[32] On September 4, 2009, Green was formally sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.[33] He is held in the United States Penitentiary, Tucson.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Dale_Green#Steven_Dale_Green

  • Heshan

    Grasshopper:

    Abu Ghraib was bad, but Boosa is much much worse. Where is the investigation into prisoner abuse at Boosa?

    I think the point is pretty clear: you accuse the West of crimes that have already been dealt with in Western courts, and the perpetrators convicted. In SL, the Courts are not independent… in fact, the Defense Ministry is more powerful than the Supreme Court, and so anyone expecting justice from a lower court can expect the verdict to be influenced by the Defense Ministry. Since the Sri Lankan Military is closely associated with the Defense Ministry, victims of SLA crimes cannot logically expect an unbiased judiciary to remedy their grievances. I hope you see what I am saying: the separation of powers is so vaguely defined in the SL context, that the whole judicial process is really a farce, since it can be easily influenced by those occupying high seats of power.

  • Grasshopper

    Heshan,

    The ones you just mentioned were for unacceptable conduct done by a few American soldiers while fighting a war that had already been initiated. Such incidences by the lower rank and file of an army are common regardless of the country. Similarly, soldiers have been investigated and punished even in the SL armed forces. I am not talking about such isolated cases.

    I am talking about the overarching unacceptable actions taken by the heads of states of US and UK. US and UK had no right to invade Iraq. Period. Dropping of atomic and chemical bombs over civilian settlements were given the green light not by lower order army personnel but by their respective Commanders-in-Chief. UN has not taken ANY punitive action for such horrendous crimes. None, whatsoever.

  • Heshan

    Grasshopper:

    Show me instances where SL soldiers have been punished for human rights violations. The only instance I know of was in the Krishanthy K. case, but none of the commanders or higher-ups were punished. Janaka Perera, a war criminal, was given an ambassadorial position in Australia! What about Sarath Fonseka? Why was he put in prison for claiming Gothabaya gave orders to shoot surrendering rebels?

    I agree that the USA should not have invaded Iraq. Although, to be fair, 99% of the daily killings you see there are done by Muslim militant groups, not the well-trained US Army. There is a simple reason for this: when someone joins the US Army, its a stepping stone to a future civilian career. The US Government subsidizes (pays all of their college expenses) and gives a housing allowance, once a soldier has served 5 years in the Army. So these guys have no incentive to kill, kidnap, and steal like you know who. There is no “Api Wenuwen Api” fund for these guys – the USA is a rich country that rewards its soldiers well.

    On the other hand, why did China invade Tibet? Why did Russia invade Chechnya? If the UN was biased, it should be investigating these East Asian and Eastern European countries as well? I agree that the UN is weak, but there is no Western conspiracy like you claim. China and Russia are on the Security Council and they can veto any resolution. And once again, the UN is very very wealthy. I don’t see any reason for them to go after a dirt poor nation like SL. Whom will it benefit economically? Politically? SL does not have a strong military worth speaking, neither does it possess Islamic terrorists, nor does it contain that all important resource called “oil”… SL is just a speck in the ocean. Most people in the world have probably not even heard the name of it.

  • Heshan

    Grasshopper:

    You did not answer my all-important question: where is the investigation into Boosa prison abuses? You accuse the West of human rights abuses – I have no issue with that, except that you don’t offer any conclusive evidence. On the other hand, you seem to ignore that SL is the real criminal – not only does the crime occur, but the investigation is blocked. Do you know that Mahinda told Wimal, no SL soldier will be brought before a war crimes tribunal? If a Western politician tried to shield members of the military like that, he would lose his job.

  • Sri Lanka has backtracked and will now allow a United Nations team to visit the country and share evidence gathered during an investigation into whether war crimes were committed during the final phase of the island’s bloody civil war, a Cabinet minister said Saturday.

    Full story – http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101218/ap_on_re_as/as_sri_lanka_un