A tragi-comedy? The UN Advisory Panel and war crimes in Sri Lanka


Photo courtesy Inner City Press

There is nothing to scratch heads for, to find the reason why Moon at the UN and Mahinda in Colombo agreed to have the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Panel on Sri Lanka, make a sudden visit to Colombo and meet SL President’s “Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission” (LLRC). Its simple logic. They both could wash their hands off mounting international pressure for an independent investigation on war crimes and crimes against humanity accusations, international organisations now seem to feel, have enough evidence piling up for investigations.

“WikiLeaks” with its dump of US diplomatic cables in the public domain has added substantial supplementary documentation for a renewed stronger call to investigate war crimes in Sri Lanka, with the British Channel 4 airing more video clips on gory killing of suspect, unarmed LTTE cadres, though not authenticated. There is also the case of  a murdered woman seen in the clips, claimed by some as the TV announcer Isaipriya, a civilian who worked for the Tiger TV station.

Both UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa, were never for investigations, when international human rights organisations called for independent investigations of the last phase of the war. Under pressure, they both appointed their own, consciously malfunctioning “panels” and “commissions” as total eye wash, much later. There was no serious intention of investigating military excesses and violations of international human rights law, or to find answers and reconciliation in a morbidly divided society by either of the two leaders.

Rajapaksa has his own personal crisis in allowing or accepting an international investigation on supposed war crimes, apart from his claim that it was a “humanitarian operation” to liberate Tamil people from crimes committed on them by the LTTE. He has his brother Gota standing on the firing lines of any international investigation on war crimes. With the latest Wiki’s cablegate leaks, all 03 Rajapaksa brothers are dragged to the witness box and its undoubtedly a “family affair” now.

Ban Ki-moon was also pressured to avoid any real time investigation with his Chief of Staff Vijey Nambiar being implicated directly with the now commonly termed “White Flag” surrender issue. In any international commission of inquiry, Vijey Nambiar would have to come forward and testify on what he is quoted by Marie Colvin, in her article in Sunday Times (London) on 24 May, 2009 under a sympathetic caption, “Tigers begged me to broker surrender”. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6350563.ece )

Vijey Nambiar’s complicity is not just vague or minor, being a top UN diplomat and then implicating President Rajapaksa as well, going by the following.

“Once more, the UN 24-hour control centre in New York patched me through to Nambiar in Colombo, where it was 5.30am on Monday. I woke him up.

I told him the Tigers had laid down their arms. He said he had been assured by Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, that Nadesan and Puleedevan would be safe in surrendering. All they had to do was “hoist a white flag high”, he said.

I asked Nambiar if he should not go north to witness the surrender. He said no, that would not be necessary: the president’s assurances were enough.”

Vijey Nambiar is yet to deny or disclaim such dialogue with Ms. Colvin and Ban Ki-moon  had to comply with international calls for investigations. He therefore did so with a panel that is very personal, in nature of its mandate. This advisory panel has no future validity, apart from advising the SG on the Sri Lankan war. There is also no binding on Moon to have any of the advise given by the panel to be made public. What could instead be announced with many nuances as the UN SG’s media spokesmen/women often do, is what he intends doing after the panel winds up on 31 December. And that could be, doing nothing.

So is Mahinda’s LLRC. Its Interim Report that was handed over to the President is still under wraps. That had been the fate with all reports handed over to the President so far, including his much hyped APRC final report. One should not expect anything different with the LLRC “findings” too. That report may perhaps conclude the 2002 CFA under Ranil was all at fault and responsible for all the war atrocities committed, thereafter.

So the two finally initiated working on a mutually beneficial compromise to get out of all these calls for war crimes investigations, during the pow-wow they had as a customary UN meeting, during the last General Assembly sessions. What Moon and Mahinda discussed was never in the open. What came to the open was the controversial statement released by the SL President’s media, which the UN SG’s staff did not mind. Obviously, Moon had told them not to.

They have eventually decided to freeze all calls for independent investigations on war crimes, with a joint effort, before more complications set in. That not only explains the SG’s sudden decision to extend the life of his advisory panel by another 02 weeks till 31 December, but also the Rajapaksas deciding to accept a visit to SL by this once detested, “conspiratorial” panel.

Moon’s men would most certainly sit with Mahinda’s men in the LLRC to discuss, what they decide they should discuss and the outcome, as in any Bollywood blockbuster film, could be guessed before the curtains go up. Why then should WW throw hiccups on UN SG’s advisory panel members visiting SL ? How else could this drama in which he plays the comedian be scripted, to look genuine and tragic, instead of being seen as fake and a comedy ? Director Mahinda and Producer Moon know their audiences well enough, I believe. So lets wait for 2011 for the ceremonial screening.

  • eureka

    Thank you, Kusal

  • http://Naamthamilar.com Kumarathasan Rasingam

    As more and more evidences are emerging from reliable sources, Ban-ki-moon cannot avoid an Independent International investigation in to the War Crimes. His second term will be in question if he fail to act on this genuienly. Nambiar is also in trouble. If Ban fails on this both will be kicked out of UN. I hope he has the guts of a UN Sg. If he cannot do his job honestly it is better for him quit respectfully.

  • longus

    Mr.Rajasingham

    What we Sri Lankans say is it’s good to investigate War Crimes but it should be done in a first-come first-serve basis. Before coming to Sri Lanka the UN has to appoint a panel to investigate how the allies killed civilians in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Dresden. Then…perhaps vietnam and then they can appoint a panel on Afganistan and Iraq. They can also investigate Mao-Se-Dung’s cultural revolution and the Great Leap as well to maintain the fairness!

    After all that is done and the perpetrators punished, come to Sri Lanka’s war!

    • Zic

      Longus,
      That’s an awesome idea. You and your president must take steps for that. But then again, where will your president go begging for money to feed Sri Lankans? But your point is awesome, you should work hard with your follow war criminals (MR & Co) to force UN to look into WW11 crimes.

  • Jack Lagner

    [Edited out], there wont be any show in 2011 as the Darusman report needs to be handed over before the end of the year. The reason they are here will buy the genocical Sri lanka some time and, will attribute the UN team with some form of recognition. As the Sri lanka” genocide gets its recognition, the Tamil diaspora will redirect its efforts in making sure India doesn’t get a place in the UN as the 6th permanent member and the recognition of the Kasmiri genocide in parallel. The Sri lanka” genocide will open up this country for various interference in the future by various countries.

    [Edited out]

  • Heshan

    longus,


    What we Sri Lankans say is it’s good to investigate War Crimes but it should be done in a first-come first-serve basis. Before coming to Sri Lanka the UN has to appoint a panel to investigate how the allies killed civilians in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Dresden. Then…perhaps vietnam and then they can appoint a panel on Afganistan and Iraq. They can also investigate Mao-Se-Dung’s cultural revolution and the Great Leap as well to maintain the fairness!

    Agreed… let’s investigate everyone.The only problem is, after investigating the 23 million Chinese killed by WWII Japan, Sri Lanka will have no more donor money left. Don’t rely on China! After investigating Chinese atrocities in Tibet, there will be very little left in the begging bowl! Then again, expecting the Chinese to be even moderately *generous* is a rather gross misnomer. Ever seen the Russel Peters clip, Chinese vs Indians? (who is cheaper) :)

  • arun

    Atlast, those innocent civilians who were killed [Edited out] will get justice ………..we beleieve in.My father a former judge who involved in so many cases , never satisfy with current Srilankan Judical system…..as it is corrupted and fallen in the hands of government. INDEPENDENT Inquiry is the only way forward to end this terrible crisis.Thank god.

  • The Mervyn Silva

    The longus,

    His Majesty is just reading your posting here and is very happpy. He is teling all of us in cabinet meeting this is exactly what I am always saying, discipline, discipline, no jumping the queue at all, first coming firsr serving, first uprising first crushing. Then he is also wanting you to be preparing list of all the atrocities taking place in the world from the time atrocities started takimg place so that we can be showing the Banki that we are not the first to be killing and denying. Other people also doing it so we are also happy to be doing it just to show that we not like the western people who are thinking they are beter than all of us.

    I am also having something to be sharing. I know I am not supposed to be giving away the cabinet secret, leaking like the Asanga but I am liking the Groundviews peoples so much I must do this. We are deciding in the cabinet that we are appointing the Banki man to cabinet post. In fact it is His Majesty who is deciding and we just nodding our heads and going mmmmmmmmmm like we are tasting the pudding but what is good for His Majesty is good for all of us. So we are now creating Internaional LIst of MPs and the Banki is the first to be appointed through that. Because he is looking Chinese like we are getting him to be counting the Chinese in the coutnry and preparing report to be put away with all the other reports including the Lessons learnt report and the other report that the Banki is preparing on the atrocities we never committed. It is not a problem that the Banki man is actually and truthfully speaking Korean and not Chinese. As His Majesty is saying there are only two types of people in the world today: those who are loving the country very much and those who are not loving the country so much. So it is not mattering at all if the Banki is from the Korea, China or even the Moon itself.

  • John

    If Gotabhaya has said to kill any unarmed person who were coming to surrender is against the international law.But you say SF has uncovered it. That is wrong Dr. It was in the international media on the day they were killed. SF said only he also heard it from a jounalist.

    I think you are a MR agent who is supporting Gotabhaya.

  • Ananthan London

    Bollywood blockbuster film
    No blood in big brother hands !!!
    Director Mahinda and Producer Moon know their audiences well enough, I believe. So lets wait for 2011 for the ceremonial screening

    Weel Said !!!

  • http://- sarwan

    Ban Ki Moon and Mahinda look desperate to avoid an international inquiry into the war crimes committed by the soldiers.

    It appears from Wikkileaks informaation that almost all soldiers, about 150,000 of them, will be found guilty of war crimes, murder, child prostitution, abduction of children, rape and child traffiking of Tamil children.

    Sinhala nation is perishing !!!

    So, GOSL and the Ban appear to be panicking !!!

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    When I read some of the comments it indicates that some do not want to or do not understand what ‘war crimes’ are. War crimes are crimes such as killing civilians, hostages, wanton destruction of villages, cities etc sanctioned by a government as its policy e.g. extermination of Jews by Nazis. Individual and sporadic actions are not considered as ‘war crimes’. That is why, actions of Nazis’ were put on trial at Nuremberg but not the bombing of German cities by the British. We should not forget that the development of the human society depends on the people who fight against the ills faced by our civilization, which includes fight against the enviornment polution of developed nations and the war crimes(genocide, crimes against humanity etc committed by both developed and developing nations) (there are many more issues but I cannot discuss them here). If the people of yesteryear thought like what pepole like ‘Longus’ does where would we be today? It is useless to talk about Iraq and Afganistan to justify the ‘war crimes’ committed by others. One wrong will not justify other wrongs. Moreover, I do not think that there is systematic government sanctioned war crimes in Iraq and Afganistan today. The alleged human rights abuses by British and American soldiers were investigated by both governments. (The government may not have wanted to investigate them but due to the pressue of civil society in their countries.) What went wrong is the invation of Iraq in the first instance. However, it is a differnt topic altogether. If SL government had committed war crimes it should be investigated. I do not think that majority Sinhala community wants live with the balame of killing innocent tamil’s during the last stages of the war. Being majority Buddhists boasting about safegurding Theravada Buddhism for two and half mellenia they would understand the sanctity of life with the first percept of the five percepts. The world is unfair. While the rights of the palestinians are grossly violated by Isralis for more than a half a century the Americans and British, who have the power to tell the Israel what to do, do not seem to care. Dalai Lama is in exile. Tibet is annexed to China. No body cares. But it does not mean that others also can treat their fellow human beings in the same way. When and if possible all the purported war crimes, genocide, crimes aganist humanity should be investigated. That is the only way opened for the true development of the the human society. Our slogan should not be ‘if you do not investiagate those crimes do not investigate these alleged crimes’. Instead it should be ‘Investigate all the ‘war crimes’ including crimes in Iraq, Afganistan, Tibet, Palestine, Darfur, Kashmir etc.’One day we will be able to investigate other the crimes conveniently forgotton by the powerful big states as well.

    • longus

      Pitasthara Putraya

      You say “One day…”.Well, we can wait for that day! But as I said earlier we have to start on a first-come, first-serve basis! We are not here to ‘parent’ the world; to guide the world or to act like a guardian angel of the world, to show the world that we adhere to the ‘five precepts’ of Buddhism! None of our business as a poor third-world country! We can ask for fairness! For some strange reason you don’t seem to consider the civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as humans; just like the Amricans who considered the ‘Japs’ as sub-humans at the time of bombing!

      The truth that has evaded you is that, NEVER A IN WAR HAS THE VICTOR BEEN INVESTIGATED FOR WAR CRIMES! If you win it, you get away with it! See the excuses they have even put into the school text books; even the present day Japanese children belive them: Japan did not surrender..and even after the first nuclear bomb…..thay refused to surrender…,so the saintly allies had no option, but to drop that second nuclear bomb…..Japan should take the responsibility for that…! How do you like it?

      Did the LTTE surrender when repeated appeals were made to them in the final few months of the war in Sri Lanka? Did they release the civilians they were holding? So, according to the former argument who should take the responsibility for any civilian casualties…?

  • ordinary lankan

    cops and robbers
    were never two

    cops and robbers
    change sides often

    which is which?
    dont bother

    this land
    does not belong

    to mahinda or moon

    they belong to
    news today, tomorrow – may be day after

    then what?

    people must forgive
    no peace without forgiveness

    but here in SL
    we must have entertainment first

  • csj

    UN Human Rights Council calls for independent inquiry into SRILANKAN action against Humanity and genocide Tamils can acheive Tamil Nation is a New Vision for Humanity’s Future in SRILANKA as Tamil Eelam and Srilanka by Two Nations.

  • longus

    Dear The Mervyn Silva

    Sirr, that man or women call zic you see scolding me, longus The Master of Reality.He were tolding me that I to work hard with MR and his company. I don’t know to go to his company because I don’t no his company number or address of that said company! Please tie this man to a mango or coconut or any other tree to your convenience to learn him a lesson. [Edited out.]

    Our President don’t have to go to the Sudda if he wants to beg. He can go to China, no? Pol true what you say that Ban Ki is looking like a Chinese and he must be put to the ‘patriots’ group. Any Chinese looking man like to do business with our country no? So, we have a deal to offer Moon some big business in the North when he retires and he can do his business after that, no? Even that Coffee Anan did his family business and they scolded him for that.

    Yes, we can start the investigation from the time the atrocities started in the world. Can start from Egypt or Rome. Or even before that they are telling me that our ancesters killed and ate the man called Nianderthal until they died out.This, I rate as the baddest crime the peoples have done! Then what about Genghis Khan killing 30 million people? You can still put a case and punish him, though he is dead. You can give the sentence to punish him but he is not there to enjoy the punishment! But then Moon’s UN is digging and digging now how many atrcities the Servians did in Austria in World War-I. Are those living now? No. They are now born in various worlds called Hells and getting the punishment.

    So, you see Sir, the ‘time frame’ is important here! We can put down the time-frame and say, “O.K.,after this date we are to be investigating the atrocities in the world, so be prepare to be punished!”

  • ordinary lankan

    On a serious note I must point out something that could equally be posted on the wikileaks thread.

    what we are witnessing is really the slow death of legitimacy AS WE KNOW IT. Like rats leaving a sinking ship legitimacy has left both third world governments and western governments and finally the UN itself.

    This leaves a moral vacuum – something that perceptive observers would have already noted.

    the constellation of ideas that conferred legitimacy – overriding materialism – democracy and human rights etc – have served their time and are dying out. Many ideological battles are being fought and it wlould be unwise to focus only on the most violent such as the one between america and islamic fundamentalism.

    a third spiritual force is gathering strength – even in sri lanka – something that goes beyond old identities to embrace a universalism and a freedom of the human spirit over mind created conceptual fetters and prisons that divide man against man.

    this of course sounds idealistic but i must rush to point out that the Gandhian ideal of non violence has been picked up and nurtured in many corners of the globe. the current domination of world media by corporate interests means that they will keep up the idea of the dying western paradigm alive.

    but one important feature of the ongoing spiritual movement is its non dependence on conventional media to get messages through and influence people – there is more reliance on human contacts

  • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

    The Witness

    There lies an eerie silence,
    on the grassy fields pock marked
    with craters scattered amongst the broken trees
    and trampled flowers where,
    twenty thousand died because they were,
    in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    You are either with us or against us!
    If you remain on their side, you will die like dogs!
    But if you come over to our side, you can
    live like dogs in barbed wire camps!

    That was the ultimatum, before the bombs
    and shells and rockets began to fall.
    Those responsible for these humanitarian atrocities,
    are now heroes in the eyes of the vocal majority who
    celebrated the death of the twenty thousand,
    while the silent minorities silently wondered if they would be next!

    The swine flu infected majority thought,
    this was a war without witnesses.
    But they did not count on one witness,
    that was too high in the sky to be destroyed or killed!
    Like they did to TV stations and journalists!
    A witness that was too far away to be intimidated or abducted in,
    ‘Unidentified Four wheeled Objects!’
    A witness that was beyond the range of multi barrel rockets and artillery!
    A witness that could not be insulted by state media!
    A witness that could not be bribed into withholding evidence!
    The Eye In The Sky Saw It All!
    Satellite evidence that only blind patriots and idiots would deny!
    Those who survived, can rest assured that,
    the world will never forgive or forget!

  • Santa

    Everyone knows that the emperors, UN & MR gangs, have no clothes.

    So what is the point of this naked parade that we are being forced to watch?
    Who is really behind it all and what for?

    (Let’s hope that brave Kusal Perera is safe!)

    Dear Longus,

    I take it then that you do definitely admit that horrendous war crimes were committed by the SL govt, and it is only the place in the queue for justice that you are quibbling about!

    • longus

      Ye..ah! The queue is very long. There is no place for queue
      jumping in the Sudda’s world!

  • http://- Justin

    The problem with the Sinhalese is that they foolishly think that they are always right. It is the other person who is wrong when he speaks or stands for the right.

    The UN is rightly standing for the principles and moral values.

    The UN realises that the GOSL was very much more terrorist on Tamils than the LTTE. Resistance by the LTTE evoloved into terror because of the ultra terror of the GOSL on Tamils is undisputable.

  • G.Kurinji

    It is highly shocking to obeserve when there is a an opportunity to get justice for the pogrom of Tamils in Sri Lanka, people are discussing about the ‘first come,first served’ concept and indirectly aiding and abetting MR&his cliques.No doubt that every crime must be punished but that should not be an excuse.Since the violations of human rights of GOSL in the ‘war’against its own people is axiomatic,they are trying to white wash things surreptitiously.As Kusal rightly pointed out,since UNSG is also cooperating with MR, nothing is going to happen.We will be fooled shortly by these drum boys.

    • longus

      Have you heard the saying,”there are no excuses in love and war”? The majority of Sri Lankan people have no complaints about how the war ended nor do they have any crocodile tears to shed over it. I too have none! The war ended bringing destruction to the Tigers who terrorised the country for thirty years(according to some, they are LTTE kids who set bombs all over the country) That’s what matters and whether people got killed or whether the Tigers surrendered don’t matter at all.Fighting a war itself is a violent act, but you have to do it sometimes when all the other options run out. And people could die in a war as well, as happened right throughout human history. It’s upto those who had their sympathies with the LTTE to shed their tears and press for investigations. Not a priority of the Sri Lankan people.

      That’s why the investigations should start from the wars in the past, where mass scale civilian casualties have occured and those were taken for granted by giving various excuses.

  • Santa

    Dear Longus, If you believe justice is a good thing
    wouldn’t you want to jump to the front of the queue? Are you too
    frightened of the Suddas to push in front? But on the other hand,
    are you saying that the Sri Lankan people have no conscience and
    are like animals who just live from day to day? Dear Justin, As
    Kusal Perera says the evidence seems to be that the UN does not
    stand for moral values or high principles. It’s all a show for the
    gullible. The script has already been written. MR will pretend to
    argue with the UN and people like Longus will take his side and
    cheer for him while hooting at the UN.

    • longus

      That’s what I told earlier. We are not the ‘guiding light’ of the world, to teach the world the morals!:We are not here to ‘parent’ the world; to guide the world or to act like a guardian angel of the world, to show the world that we adhere to the ‘five precepts’ of Buddhism! We are not a role model as well! There are powerful role models and citadels of democracy who have skeletons in there cupboards, and they stand before us in the line-up!

      • Santa

        Dear Longus, May you then take rebirth as a sudda, or if
        your karma doesn’t allow it then a kallu-sudda!

  • billy

    it seems u get very offended when something is told about ur darling tamils while u seems to enjoy when they vilify our country and our leaders…so much for a guy standing for dissent!

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    Longus,
    Forget about the UN, UK, US and EU’s insistance of investigation of war crimes. Forget about the war crimes in Sri Lanka. We do not know whether they have been committed or not in the first place. Tell me if innocent civilians including children, women, old and sick are purposefully killed by an armed organized and motivated gang in the name of religion, country, political ideology or whatever is it correct? Do you accept extermination of 6 million of jews by the Nazis? Do you accept killing of children, women and the old in thousands in occupied territories and in Lebanon by Israel? Do you accept killing of innocent women and children in Israel by Hamas? Of couse you do not accept bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No body with the faintest sense of humanity can say that the any bygone killings of innocent civilians during war fare and internal strife are correct. The truth can not be alterted to suit one’s own liking. Truth is truth. There is only all or none. If you talk to a neo-Nazi today he/she will justify killing of millinosn of Jews, Polish, Slaves, mentally retarded, psychiatrically ills by the Nazis during and before the WWII. If you talk to a communist he/she will justify the killing of million political dissidents by Stalin and Beria in those days. My Lai massacre in 1968 by American troops in Vientnam can not be justified by any means. In the same way no right minded person can say killing of thousnds of innocent Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim civilians by tigers was correct. If the SL army has deliberately killed innocent civilians as alleged by the others do you say it is correct? Although we do not like and condone, innocent civilians are inevitably killed as a by product of any war fare. That is not the point. Deliberate systematic and avoidable killings are the ones we are talking about.Finally I think everthing depends on how you perceive you position in relation to the these conflict. No body wants to accept the truth as it hurts their camp (ethinic, relgious, political or any other). This is true both about Tamils and Sinhalese in this conflict. Both have forgotton the truth lies in somewhere else beyond their grasp as Sinhalese or Tamils. As long as they both do not shed their conditioned affiliations and start to think as human beings this conflict will go on for many more generations.

    • longus

      None of those you mentioned and many more atrocities cannot
      be condoned. All those should be investigated using the same
      standards in a chronological order. But is that what is happening
      now? The rich and the powerful just get away with a mere apology
      years after the acts were committed and some that are not their
      favourites due to politics are singled out for attack!

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    Yes, I understand you logic. What you say is if previous war crimes are not investigated do not talk about the new ones. So let the people committ more and more crimes against humanity because the powerful nations have got away with mere aplogies for crimes they have committed in the past and they simply have forgotten about the atrocities committed by their favourite. If this had been the thinking pattern of the people in the past what would have happned to the all those innocent people killed in the past. (I do not want to enumearte the war crimes, genocides, crimes against humanity etc made known to the world by the others, who are conscious of the their rights.) People came to know about these horrific abuses because of the people who have the interest of the human race before everything else in their minds. Now the governments/war lords/terrorists/revolutionaries etc. think twice before committing crimes against civilians because of the awarness among the world community about the human rights of the people.

    However, I do not say that the mechanism for checking human right abuses is fair at the moment. It seems that the behaviour of western democracies with regard to the human right abuses specially in third world countries is partial. However, with all these apparent deficiencies world has become a better place due to the activites of right minded people. We should not also be so naive to think that all these western democracies talk about human rights for the sake of human rights alone. There are many hidden agendas. (This has to be discussed as a seperate topic.)

    Forget about all these things for a moment. If Sinhalese wants to reconcile with the Tamils they have to show they are genuine in their intentions. As long as the SL government maintains that there were no abuses committed during the war it is not going to win the trust of the Tamils. If there is no trust between the parties there will not be any possibility of reconciliation.

    During the war and last 30 years Tigers had committed enough ‘war crimes’ or crimes against innoncent people to elevate them to the most ruthless terrorist organization the world has ever known. Tamils, who are talking only about crimes committed by SL government should know that. So the the Tamil community both in SL and outside should try to build the trust of Sinhalese by being truthful.

    When a day comes both Sinhalese and Tamils sit together genuinely talk about the crimes they have committed against each other and ready to forget about them for the sake of the their own people then there will be peace in this beautiful island. So long as they both maintain their innocence and righteousness with regard to the whole conflict there will not be real peace for a long time to come.

    As powerless civilians our duty is to make the political leaders of both sides to undersand this bitter reality and much more importantaly try to change the minds of people, who think only from one side of the story.

    • Padda

      Did SL commit war crimes? Who knows? First what is a war crime after all? All the war crime definitions are made about conventional warfare. It doesn’t give a rats arse consideration about the differences in terrorist wars. New guidelines are needed for war crimes. It’s a matter of protecting rights of many against protecting rights of few when it comes to terrorism.

      Secondly, who are civilians? How do you identify them? A terrorist with a hidden bomb coming as a suicide bomber with a group of civilians would pose a big question. If all civilians are let in, bomb would go off killing rest of the civilians and army personnel. Now does that come under a war crime or not? SLA probably had no other choice to gun down suspicious people who were “surrendering” with suicide bombs, even if the come with white flags. But at this moment we know nothing.

      Thirdly, why foreign agencies are needed to investigate war crimes of SL? Why should SL allow an inept organisation called UNHRC who has no balls to investigate war crimes committed by powerful countries? The judge should be a person who is neutral. And the judge called UNHRC never had been neutral. Unless UN shows that it’s impartial, they should have no business in investigating war crimes in SL, because they’ll work with ulterior motives. So message is clear. Show us that UNHRC is neutral by investigating war crimes by USA, UK, Russia and China if they can. Otherwise they can STFU with their double standards. We can investigate our problems.

      Fourthly who wants war crimes to be investigated? Is it US? is it UK? or is it Diaspora? US and UK don’t want an investigation to take place, because that will mount pressure to investigate skeletons in their own cupboards. They are playing a gimmick just to throw out Rajapakshe and get one of their boot licking clowns in to the power.

      Finally, if UN investigates war crimes by force and punish the top army leaders and politicians, will it help the Tamil problem in SL? No, Sinhalese will be more tougher, more resistant for a power devolution, and will be more for a unitary state. Another crop of nationalistic leaders will spring up who’ll be even more negative for a power devolution and more pro-Chinese and pro-Russian. Diaspora fails to understand this truth, that they are playing on the nerves of 15 million Sinhalese. If they want the SL Tamils to get their grievances answered, they should be with GOSL, not against it.

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    Padda, War crimes are very simple to define. Any
    indiscriminate, systematic, wanton killings of innocent civilians
    including the women, children and old during a conventional or
    terrorist war. I do not understnad why this simple truth can not be
    understood. Civilian is also simple to define. Civilian is just a
    by stander who does not take part in the war fare. why is this
    confusion? Killing a bunch of civilians because the government
    cannot verify who is a civilian is lame excuse, which no sane
    person would accept. We live in a world where everybod conscious
    about what others do. We rely on many other countries for economic
    survival. We sell our goods to countries, send our people to work
    in other countries etc. In addition there is something called
    diaspora. Some of the people may no like that. However, there is a
    lobby of people agitating for what they see as innjustices
    committed by their own governments back in their motherlands while
    living in foreign lands. It is a good thing. So that the unjust
    totalitarin governments can no longer supress their own people
    whithout being made known to the world. If their own government
    committs crimes against them if their are no innternational
    activist to fight for them who else would fight for them. Who wants
    investigated these crimes? The western governments who came to
    power by the vote of their citizens, who think that they have a
    moral duty to fight for human rghts in the world. The people of
    countries like SL can not understand this way of thinking as they
    do not have a tradtion of fighting against such causes in their
    countries. Take the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Asange. His
    bail money was raised by his millinair supporters. His case was
    argued by one Baronness lawyer. They all did it against the will of
    their own and US governments. That is how the level of civilian
    activity regarding the fight against human rights. We live in such
    a world.So Padda even if we do not like this world order we have to
    accpet it. Who will benefit from such investigation? I do not know.
    But probably SL people. It is immaterial who will benefit. If
    civilians had been killed by somebody or some innstitution during
    war fare they should be held accountable. It is like punishing a
    murderer by a court of law. Who will benefit by the punishing
    him/her? No person but the society as a whole.

    • longus

      Nice as well as hollow words. The same wikileaks have exposed how the US have covered up kliiing of journalists in Iraq, torturing of suspects at illegal centres, how civilian killings were covered uo in Iraq and Afganistan. And you see how the world powers are trying to stifle Assange by threats and framed up charges. This is how the citadels of democracy act, not semi-feudal third world regimes! Simply Sri Lankan people are not interested in probing whether any civilians got killed with the LTTE when the SL Forces crushed them last year! It’s the outcome of that war that is important now. Because the Sri Lankan people know how many got killed in suicide bombs during a thirty year period, and nobody wanted to investigate those killings! So there is reasonable doubt in the minds of the people as to the ulterior motives of the calls for investigation of the alleged atrocities by the SL Forces now!

      As there is no place for soft hearted emotions in raw world politics we have to move on, like other more powerful countries because we are not to set standards to the world!

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    I am not saying the western governments are innocent. What
    I see is that the ruling elites are same all over the world. There
    is no much difference between the people who run countries like US
    and SL. The only difference is in their respective civil societies.
    When US government wants to torture terrorist suspects the people
    who are against the torture raise their voices. Then the government
    has to give excuses or investigate few scape goats. In SL the
    people approves what the government does. People also do not have
    any idea about democracy, humanrights, rule of law, good
    governance, accountability etc. These ideas were insterted into SL
    society from above. They did not come up from the grass root levels
    like in the west. So that’s why when ‘highway robbers’ are killed
    by the police and army during a cordon and serch operation people
    are rejoiced. When police say a suspect tried to grab the weapon to
    shoot a policman when taken to show hidden weapon no body wonders
    how a handcuffed man did that not even the magistrate.Whereas in UK
    when a poice shooting killed a man after a overnight stalemate the
    independent police commission has immediately started their
    investigations as to how a man was killed by the police. Pepole
    like longus who do not understand the these enlightend ideas, on
    which the progress of the human race depends, see them as hollow
    words. They live in a very small world. They cannot see what lies
    beyond their world. If somebody beleives what matters is the
    outcome we should be happy that they do not rule the world. That is
    a very dangerous philosphy. I do not have enough space here to give
    example of the folly of such a notion. Thinking about the fate of
    innocent civilian in a war fare is not a soft harted act. That is
    an act of a human heart. I wonder what longus is going to teach
    his/her children. Is he/she going to tell his/her children that
    killing civilian in certain situations is justified? When the
    children ask him/her to give them examples of such situations what
    he/she is going tell? Can a simple human being like you and me be
    competent enough to classify the situtation where civillians can be
    killed justifiabley? You are talking about killing of innocent by
    the Tigers and wanted to investiage their killings. No body
    disputes killings by the tigers. So who wants to investigate
    them?

    • longus

      Wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
      Well, when my children learn about the history of war in the world, they learn that in all those wars innocent civilians have got killed;that a war is not a game;that it is a serious matter;and that any war is evil! Whether you like it or not the soldiers of any country(including those serve in illegal wars in Iraq!)are considered as heros in that country. When you take up the destructive path of war, as happens sometimes when all other avenues of negotiation fails,(as in the case of Sri Lanka’s LTTE) there is no turning back and there are no excuses! I think that’s why they “train” the children from a young age by “providing” them with video games in which killing is a game!

      The accountability and transparency may be greater in the Western democracies as you say, but ‘people like Longus’ also don’t understand as to how we can compare a first world country with a third world country. The imperfections that you see in the carrying out of justice in cases you quote in the West are as big as the miscarriages of justice we see in a third world country, proportionately. In other words in the West you can protest, but there is no one to listen to you;yet you are allowed to protest at your own risk!-as happened in the G-8 summit in Toronto!-Simply saying that in the UK this happens and in Sri Lanka this happens in simple terms is just not a fare comparison. Deception and eye-wash too do exist in the West!

      If the Sri Lankan Forces bombed out the whole area with the civilians in it held as a human shield by the LTTE, your argument may make sense. But instead of doing that they rescued more than 300,000 people who were held as a human shield which delayed the outcome of the final assault by a few months. They could have quicken the victory if they just bombed off the whole area when the LTTE continuously refused to surrender, as in the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But that was not the case here. If some civilians got killed in the final assault it was inevitable and my children very well understand that. Your exaggerated concern for this particular event shows nothing but how your living in a country of an old colonial power has changed you into a brain-washed stooge!

  • Heshan

    Well-said, Pitasthara. As you have implied, at least in the West there is an investigation, even if the outcome is not perfect. Also, if a Western politician goes on BBC and threatens to hang someone who leaks information, that politician will surely lose his job. But this is not the case in SL. Clearly, the SL politicians understand that the average man on the street has low expectations of the politicians. But they (people) still blindly follow. If Mervyn or Wimal wish to protest, 500 supporters will show up in 5 minutes. I think Marx had it right: “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”

    • longus

      Then it might have been in a dream that I heard a top White House official saying that Julian Assange should be executed……!

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    Happy New Year Everybody! Hope to continue the discussion in the new year as well.