The leaked UN war crimes report: Key points and context

The Island newspaper published today sections of what appears to be a large excerpt from the report of the UN Panel of Experts looking into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka.

Inner City Press followed up with a report suggesting that the text was authentic, and that the UN deeply regretted the leak to the mainstream media. It also noted that the UN would publish the report in full next week, along with a response from the Sri Lankan government.

Groundviews flags below some highlights of this damning report, and places it alongside some other news article for context. Follow our tweets on this breaking story here. Our Facebook fan page will also carry highlights, and features discussions amongst the 6,000+ people already on it.

Some key highlights from the leaked report as published in The Island:

“In stark contrast, the Panel found credible allegations, which if proven, indicate that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law were committed both by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

“The Government shelled on a large scale in three consecutive No Fire Zones, where it had encouraged the civilian population to concentrate, even after indicating that it would cease the use of heavy weapons. It shelled the United Nations hub, food distribution lines and near the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) ships that were coming to pick up the wounded and their relatives from the beaches. It shelled in spite of its knowledge of the impact, provided by its own intelligence systems and through notification by the United Nations, the ICRC and others. Most civilian casualties in the final phases of the war were caused by Government shelling.” Emphasis ours.

“The Government systematically shelled hospitals on the frontlines. All hospitals in the Vanni were hit by mortars and artillery, some of them were hit repeatedly, despite the fact that their locations were well-known to the Government.”

“The Government subjected victims and survivours of the conflict to further deprivation and suffering after they left the conflict zone.”

“Despite grave danger in the conflict zone, the LTTE refused civilians permission to leave, using them as hostages, at times even using their presence as a strategic human buffer between themselves and the advancing Sri Lanka Army.”

“From February 2009 onwards, the LTTE started point-blank shooting of civilians who attempted to escape the conflict zone, significantly adding to the death toll in the final stages of the war.”

“Thus, in conclusion, the Panel found credible allegations that comprise five core categories of potential serious violations committed by the Government of Sri Lanka: (i) killing of civilians through widespread shelling; (ii) shelling of hospitals and humanitarian objects; (iii) denial of humanitarian assistance; (iv) human rights violations suffered by victims and survivors of the conflict, including both IDPs and suspected LTTE cadre; and (v) human rights violations outside the conflict zone, including against the media and other critics of the Government.”

“The Panel’s determination of credible allegations against the LTTE associated with the final stages of the war reveal six core categories of potential serious violations: Ii) using civilians as a human buffer; (ii) killing civilians attempting to flee LTTE control; (iii) using military equipment in the proximity of civilians; (iv) forced recruitment of children; (v) forced labour; and (vi) killing of civilians through suicide attacks.”

“The Panel has concluded that the Government’s notion of accountability is not in accordance with international standards. Unless the Government genuinely addresses the allegations of violations committed by both sides and places the rights and dignity of the victims of the conflict at the centre of its approach to accountability, its measures will fall dramatically short of international expectations.”

“The work to date demonstrates that the LLRC has not conducted genuine truth-seeking about what happened in the final stages of the armed conflict, not sought to investigate systematically and impartially the allegations of serious violations on both sides of the war, not employed an approach that treats victims with full respect for their dignity and their suffering, and not provided the necessary protection for witnesses, even in circumstances of actual personal risk.”

“Equally, the Panel has seen no evidence that the military courts system has operated as an effective accountability mechanism in respect of the credible allegations it has identified or other crimes committed in the final stages of the war.” (On this score, see the BBC news story, CJ defends verdict on military courts)

“During the course of its work, the Panel observed that there were several other contemporary issues in Sri Lanka, which if left un-addressed, will deter efforts towards genuine accountability and may undermine prospects for durable peace in consequence. Most notably, these include: (i) triumphalism on the part of the Government, expressed through its discourse on having developed the means and will to defeat “terrorism”, thus ending Tamil aspirations for political, autonomy and recognition, and its denial regarding the human cost of its military strategy; (ii) on-going exclusionary policies, which are particularly deleterious as political, social and economic exclusion exclusion based on ethnicity, perceived or real, have been at the heart of the conflict (iii) the continuation of wartime measures, including not only the Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, mentioned above, but also the continued militiarisation of the former conflict zone and the use of paramilitary proxies, all of which perpetuate a climate of fear, intimidation and violence; (iv) restrictions on the media, which are contrary to democratic governance and limit basic citizens’ rights; and (v) the role of the Tamil Diaspora, which provided vital moral and material support to the LTTE over decades, and some of whom refuse to acknowledge the LTTE’s role in the humanitarian disaster in the Vanni, creating a further obstacle to accountability and sustainable peace.”

“During the final stages of the war, the United Nations political organs and bodies failed to take actions that might have protected civilians.”

“The Secretary-General should immediately proceed to establish an independent international mechanism, whose mandate should include the following concurrent functions…”

“The Government of Sri Lanka should issue a public, formal acknowledgement of its role in and responsibility for extensive civilian casualties in the final stages of the war.”

“The Secretary-General should conduct a comprehensive review of actions by the United Nations system during the war in Sri Lanka and the aftermath, regarding the implementation of its humanitarian and protection mandates.”

  • Lakshan

    “triumphalism on the part of the Government, expressed through its discourse on having developed the means and will to defeat “terrorism”, thus ending Tamil aspirations for political, autonomy and recognition, and its denial regarding the human cost of its military strategy;”
    No country in the world can accept separatism. Lincoln did not recognize it ( in fact his crusade was against secession rather than slavery. Outlawing slavery gave him more latitude) and thus we have William T Sherman’s ” War is Cruelty. You cannot refine it” message to Atlanta mayor.
    It is just that Tamils be given rights stipulated since the time of Banda Chelva pact, which was denied by the intervention of Sinhala Buddhist ultra nationalists. It is also true that Sri Lankan government failed protect Tamil civilians during 1983 anti-Tamil riots, much the same way Rajiv Gandhi’s government failed in Anti Sikh riots following Indira Gandhi assassination. But it is no excuse for terrorists of LTTE to carry out a reign of terror on civilians. The diaspora during final stages of anti-Separatists tried to save LTTE leaders and not the Tamil civilians. Hence their hypocrisy is revealing

    • Ilangko

      Think of the example of Czechoslovakia – no bloodshed, just a recognition that there were two parts to the country that separated on friendly terms.

      Rajiv had many failings (especially regarding Sri Lankan Tamils), but to his credit, there was some kind of reconciliation with the Sikhs. Sikhs continue to hold high positions throughout society, whereas Sri Lankan Tamils are being further marginalized.

      The LTTE was originally set up as a self-defense force, but evolved into a monster that wasn’t even able to defend the people it was set up to proctect. The aspirations underlying the LTTE cause, however, are even more valid today than they were 20 years ago. There should be a referendum among Tamils for self-determination, as there was in Quebec.

      • TT

        What a joke!

        There were 2 independant countries there before they were conjoined by communism.

        It resorted back to how things were pre-communism when communism collapsed.

    • Sohan Fernando

      “The diaspora during final stages of anti-Separatists tried to …… “
      Seems to me, too often this term or phrase “diaspora” or “Tamil diaspora” is used as a catch-all and as a “dirty word” as if ALL the Tamil Sri Lankans who have gone abroad are supporting LTTE terrorism.
      I think such statements just add fuel to the fire of hostility among ethnicities.

      Anyhow, I’d imagine the loudest voices we hear from the Tamil diaspora, are likely to be the pro-violence voices; the more peaceable voices there are likely to keep quiet isn’t it? So it’s inaccurate to form an overall judgement of “the diaspora’s” position based just on the small subset of its voices that we do hear.

      “No country in the world can accept separatism. Lincoln did not recognize it”
      I don’t disagree with the general direction of that. But I think it’s oversimplistic to state it as a black or white issue. E.g., if talking about the USA: then long before talking about Lincoln, should note that the USA (violently) “seceded” (even if not exactly the same kind of secession) from England. Assume that the only reasons were the textbook reasons such as “King George was grossly unfair” etc etc etc, well then secession was certainly the only “fair” thing to do, no?

      And more to the point: I dont see how we can compare Lincoln’s attitude towards secession, with the Lankan situation. Because, the REASON(s) that one part of the USA wanted to secede, was nowhere near as “possibly valid” or “possibly understandable” as the reasons being claimed by secessionists in the Sri Lankan situation. Comparing apples and oranges: logically flawed reasoning to just assume that just because secession was clearly uncalled for there it is also uncalled for here.
      Certainly not if the reason was just slavery: the South were dead wrong to want to secede — because their grievance was a wholly invalid issue in which they were in the wrong; period.
      And even we look at the more real reasons, like economic stuff such as unfair tarrifs that were weighed against the Southern states and so on, my understanding is those were nowhere near as grossly unfair as the various reasons/grievances claimed by Sri Lankan secessionists. So we can’t really judge the two situations equally.

      So seems to me that the realistic, practical approach to take about secession, is something like:
      1. as a general rule of thumb, yes it is true that No country in the world can accept separatism. That is the ideal to aim at; should be aimed at; it’s for the greater good of the nation as a whole; and wannabe-secessionists definitely need to genuinely look at and exhaust other options first.

      2. But, the practical reality is that there can be special situations where, for the greater good, secession may become the lesser of two or more evils.

      And seems to me that too often in our situation, most of the “sides” involved are failing to recognize one or the other of the above.

  • Gnanavalan

    About twenty two million innocent Africans were killed during the slave trade; this amount is far greater than Hitler ever killed in the entire Europe. Why no one was held responsible for this genocide? Hundreds of millions innocent Indigenous people were killed around the world during the British colonialism. Why no one was held responsible for this genocide? About forty million Indians died during the man made famines in India, under the British rule. The number of people who had died in India was far greater than the people who had died during the First and Second World Wars combined. Why no one was held responsible for this genocide? Why this world constantly talking about Hitler and Nazis, but do not talk about the most evil leaders and their most evil crimes. Hitler got punished as the most evil leader, but the true evil leaders have got away with their most evil crimes. I am not defending or justifying Hitler’s crimes, but I am disappointed that the genuine justice has not prevailed.

    Furthermore what about those innocent people killed in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya? When they are going to do war crimes probe in those countries? [Edited out]. Your game is about to finish, and your dominant days are numbered. America I hope you are watching the BRICS, they are building up their economy and political power. [Edited out]

    • TT

      But they won’t give up without a fight!

      They are trying desperately to hold on to their world domination. First they were the biggest donors to poor countries (including SL). Then they fell out to others. They were the rulers of the world able to win ANY war ANYWHERE. But not anymore. Their armies are bogged down in wars they can’t win. Meanwhile the others are building up their armies and economies without going to war!

      I’m no fan of BRIC nations but they play their cards right. NATO thinks BRIC nations are weak when they allow NATO to start a new war. Little they realize NATO collapses economically, politically and militarily as they start more and more wars anew. NATO will soon be in deep trouble trying to save their isolated allies (or rather axis).

      If Tamil Diaspora thinks US, etc. concern is for Tamils’ welfare in SL, they will be the biggest losers. Didn’t the Japs/some Vietnamese think the same way until Okinawa, etc.?

  • jansee

    After Lincoln’s war with the South, there has been a number of developments where countries have been divided and separated. Notable of recent history is that in Sudan. It has been proven many times over that there is “bad blood” between the Sinhalese and Tamils. The information emanating from the UN experts report is simply too much to digest. The way the Tamil civilians were butchered, hospitals bombed with no regard to lives can mean only one thing – that the SL regime’s contempt for the Tamils in the island comes to the fore and Mahinda Rajapakse has been added to a long list of committing atrocities against the Tamils.

    • Lakshan

      So what about those guys who sent suicide bombers to kill Tamil IDP s because they defied LTTE orders and crossed over to SL lines??
      I remember those higher ups of Diaspora amply represented in editorial of Gobblesian Tamil Guardian which from their air conditioned office in London asked Tamil people never to hees SLA pleas to cross over to SL lines but die with dignity. So who are the war criminals now
      Guess now we have to haul Rudrakumaran or whomever the head of despicable TGTE to face war crimes charges
      Oh and the list is long. It includes murders of babies, pregnant women , school children etc.etc.
      The selective amnesia of International Panels are well known , so less said about them the better.
      THE REAL WAR CRIMINALS ARE THE TAMIL DIASPORA WHO SUPPORTED LTTE EALAM UTOPIA WITH THEIR MONEY. WHO ENDANGERED LIVES OF TAMIL CIVILIANS OF SRI LANKA SO THEY CAN HAVE PRIVILEGED STATUS IN WEST WITH DESPICABLE POLITICAL REFUGEE CANARD.
      YOU HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS OF CHILD SOLDIERS, TAMIL CIVILLIANS CONSCRIPTED BY LTTE, TAMIL PEOPLE USED AS HUMAN SHEILDS BY LTTE. IT WAS YOUR MONEY THAT MADE THIS POSSIBLE .
      SHAME ON YOU!!!

      • jansee

        Lakshan:

        The LTTE is contempt of atrocities. The whole world knows that and we don’t need your lecture to confirm this. The LTTE did a disservice to the Tamils by opting for the armed struggle knowing jolly well the strength in numbers and power of its adversary. And the killing of innocent civilians, whatever race they belong to is what got it banned and branded as a terrorist outfit.

        Now, are you saying that that gave the passport to the SL regime to take on innocent tamil civilians? And calling it a humanitarian operation with zero civilian casualties – don’t you think so that stretching your wild imagination too much has to be an art? How more humorous can you guys be?

      • Lakshan

        jansee
        I’m not suggesting SLA was reciprocating LTTE atrocities. Please read my write up carefully before jumping in to conclusions. What I’m saying is given war crimes were committed by the LTTE( and not the SLA) , Tamil Diaspora who given them succor are legally responsible.
        SLA was trying to protect civillians of all races. And it was LTTE and by extension Tamil Diaspora who prevented that.
        Therefore they (LTTE/Tamil Disapora) are responsible for travails of the Tamil People not the GOSL . In short punish the thief not the one who caught the thief

  • Somasunderam

    What the UN report shows is that [edited out]

    The truth has finally prevailed !

    The prayers of millions people have been answered.

    Let hope this just a beginning, ultimately this will become very very important step in long march to freedom.

    After 62 yrs, the tamil struggle, is clearly on the morale high ground and has won the support of the international community.

    Martin Luther King once said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

    • TT

      Only the dead have seen Tamil Elam!

      At least now, stop this racist demand. Allegations against SL, even charges or convictions don’t mean Tamil Elam. It means there will be more violence ahead if Tamil Elam struggle doesn’t stop. Not that I have a problem with it; just unpleasent.

      SL can sacrifice the Rajapakshas if need be. But that is nothing compared to what SL gained (and Tamil Elam lost) from them.

      The more pressure on SL, the more military pressure will be on the north to dismantle all possibilities of Tamil Elam.

      • Face reality..

        TT and Thambi,

        Your judgement about Sudan,Serbia,East Timor makes me laugh.

        Not only are you stubborn to see a pattern between these countries and Srilanka,you also tend to deny any similar results being achieved in Srilanka.

        Constant agression towards Tamils(Thank to Mahinda regime,no wonder Praba wanted him in power),will further and stronger secure the need for seperate government in North and East.

        Diaspora knows India does not favour it,but thats Congress and Sonia Gandhi not whole of India.

        As a diaspora we know the realities very well.We have conversation on daily basis with our realitives in North and East,we know what they need.Recent election results prove their aspirations.

        REMEMBER TAMILS ARE AN ETHNIC GROUP WITH DIFFERENT LANGUAGE,CULTURE AND HERITAGE,MORALLY AND UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW THEY CAN CHOOSE THIER CHOICE OF GOVERNENCE.FURTHER MILITARY PRESCENCE IN NORTH WILL ONLY FUEL THAT DEMAND..

      • Fight alone..

        TT,
        *SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THE EXISTENCE OF TAMIL KINGDOMS DURING BRITISH INVASION??IF SL KINGS LIKE YOU CLAIM HAVE DEFEATED HOW DID THEY ESTABILISH KINGDOMS IN SRILANKA.
        *DO NOT TRY TO REWRITE HISTORY,THAT WILL ONLY RESULT IN EMBARASSMENT FOR YOU.
        *SL ARMY DEFEATED BUNCH OF BOYS WITH HELP FROM 20+ COUNTRIES AND SL ARMY REQUIRED TRIPLE THE SIZE OF LTTE JUST TO FIGHT A CONVENTIONAL WAR..THAT MAKES ME WONDER WHAT THE RESULT WOULD HAVE BEEN HAD SL ARMY FOUGHT ALONE LIKE LTTE DID.?????

  • Agnos

    Many Sinhalese in these forums often argue that the civilian killings were a result of LTTE’s human shields. But the UN expert panel report debunks that and says, as Tamils already know, that the majority of deaths occurred by GoSL shelling. 

    The pro-Rajapaksa crowd’s continuing denials of these crimes exposes them as willing accomplices to mass murder and deception, just as many German citizens were willing executioners for Hilter. Palitha Kohona, Dayan Jayatilleka, Rajiva Wijesinha, Ravinatha Ariyasinha and other apologists for this regime will find that nobody will buy their lies and that their nightmare is not going away. If they have any sense, they will simply resign and tell the truth, rather than staying on and torturing themselves with endless lies.

    Meanwhile, countries like India, US and China have a lot to answer for their tacit encouragement and complicity in the war. These issues are not going away for them either. Tyrants like the Gaddafis and the Rajapaksas are made of the same stuff, and will meet the same fate.

    • Nimal Sandaruwan

      Re Agnos’s comment “Rajapaksa’s willing executioners”. I suggest following reading.
      http://www.wsws.org/articles/1997/apr1997/fasc-a17.shtml

    • Thambi

      How does it debunk it? The UN report doesn’t say ANYTHING new and the shelling killed people exactly because the LTTE was using their “innocent angels” as human shields.

      More I read comments from the Tamil diaspora the less and less I have sympathy for Northerners.

      • jansee

        Thambi:

        Who needs your sympathy? When the Tamils were annihilated the Sinhalese never raised their voices. In fact, they supported a butcher, all in the name of race. This reinforces the Tamils’ belief that the only way to go forward is putting the idea of a separate Tamil nation. The army may be amassed in the thousands in the Tamil homeland but do you honestly believe that through this threat and subjugation the Tamils will give up their aspirations. How on earth can you call it one nation when the Sinhalese, from the president to the masses have only one thing in mind – subjugating the Tamils. Prabhakaran made a mistake and it cost the Tamils in lost time but the Tamils will spring back, otherwise why are there thousands of troops camped in there?

      • TT

        Jansee,

        Bring it on!

        Can’t wait to use the weapons before their expiry dates elapse. In 1983 when LTTE started war, we had only a 5,000 man army without even machine guns. Now we have a definite advantage. We must FULLY use it. But its the same story isn’t it?

        1. Sena and Guttika and their armies were smashed trying to create a Tamil nation in 300BC

        2. Elara and the crowd of invading armies were annihilated trying the same thing.

        3. Pandyan invading armies were wiped out trying it.

        4. Chola armies were smashed when they attempted it.

        5. Many other Tamil seperataists were annihilated for trying it in the past militarily.

        6. Chelvanayagam’s armed gangs failed to achieve Tamil Elam despite burning Sarath Fonseka’s home in then Batticaloa district, chasing them to the jungle to kill them and tar brusshing Sinhala letters.

        7. LTTE suffered the same fate leaving behind cemetaries and war widows to survive at the mercy of others. 89,000 Tamil war widows will team up against any more Tamil Elam wars. They had enough.

        8. Future armed seperatists deserve the same fate. I recon future GOSL fighters will be mostly Tamils who are well trained in guarilla warfare, uses guerilla weapons more and supported by the SLAF/SLN. I’m not talking ONLY about EPDP, TMVP but also potentially many more. The government troops verses terrorist distinction in combat methods will disappear.

        UN report blames GOSL 80% and the LTTE 20% which means LTTE methods are preferred over GOSL methods in war! (according to them) GOSL must gear up to meet this challenge.

        It is best for all to give up trying to create a Tamil state in SL. But if that is not happening we will gladly face the challenge.

      • Thambi

        [quote]When the Tamils were annihilated the Sinhalese never raised their voices.[/quote]

        There was a lot of anger and sorrow following Black July from the members of the Sinhalese community. Then you kept Black July going for 30 years.. no sympathy now for you who perpetuate violence playing bathetic victims. We are sick of your crap.

        [quote]In fact, they supported a butcher, all in the name of race. This reinforces the Tamils’ belief that the only way to go forward is putting the idea of a separate Tamil nation. [/quote]

        Tamil delusions don’t amount to fact. At no time did the Sinhalese community dream of subjugating the Tamil community or whatever. It is you and your kin who have over the last years secured and sought the complete alienation of your people from the Sinhalese. The Sinhalese are fine living in a multicultural society — but Northern Tamils freak out at the idea of living alongside the Sinhalese. NO! you need special status and your own kingdom of Tamil only land!

        You whine and bitch and wage war completely alienating yourselves and seem to believe this amounts to justification.

        [quote]The army may be amassed in the thousands in the Tamil homeland but do you honestly believe that through this threat and subjugation the Tamils will give up their aspirations. How on earth can you call it one nation when the Sinhalese, from the president to the masses have only one thing in mind – subjugating the Tamils. Prabhakaran made a mistake and it cost the Tamils in lost time but the Tamils will spring back, otherwise why are there thousands of troops camped in there?[/quote]

        Don’t flatter yourself. Why the hell would we obsess over subjugating the Tamils? No, we don’t want you or your people. We’ll be glad when you stop bothering us. The army is there to keep you from attacking us. THe last 30 years have shown that you people are completely incapable of forming valid civil society and degenerate into criminal sloth (LTTE, EPDF, etc. etc.) when left to your own devices. The army stayed out of the Vanni and we got the bother that was the LTTE. We won’t repeat the same mistake again. Understand?!

    • Thambi

      And ditto LTTE apologists (AKA most of the Northern Tamil population) — your actions are responsible for the suffering of your own people. You are Hitler’s executioners, or whatever. The representatives of the Southerners can at least take comfort they’ve not allowed the Tamil menace to ruin the lives of their people.

  • georgethebushpig

    To all those who are going to put forward the argument about the hypocrisy of the west and those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones etc., here’s why I think you should refrain from making those arguments (I made this argument on a DBS blog in 2009 and I believe it still holds true).

    People are trying hard to find “equivalence” in actions where no equivalence exists. A crime committed by whoever still remains a crime. Just because the LTTE committed crimes does not allow the Government to do the same. “Crime” is an unlawful act. Killing civilians is such an act. The attempt to absolve LTTE of the crimes they committed by referring to the crimes of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), or trying to justify the GOSL’s actions as being o.k. given the LTTE’s crimes is a fake argument. Likewise, just because the USA, Britain and Israel get away with impunity does not absolve the Sri Lankan government of its responsibility to its OWN citizens. This is a logical fallacy – the affirmation of one and the denial of the other is a contradiction!

    The GOSL should be accountable to the people, laws of the land and all international treaties it has entered into; if not, what is the difference between a terrorist outfit and the GOSL? Shouldn’t all Sri Lankans have the right to an impartial inquiry into what exactly happened to the civilians as a result of the war with the LTTE? This seems to be a necessity if we are to put to rest this abhorrent chapter (among a number that continue to haunt us – we all know the list).

    Here’s where the contradiction really comes to the fore. Those who argue that the USA, Britain and Israel have committed war crimes and have not been charged are absolutely correct. But their call should be for those countries, as well as, all others who commit war crimes to be held to account. Just because VP used Tamil civilians as a human shield did not give the GOSL the right to barter those civilians as collateral. If those people who continue to talk about the West’s hypocrisy as an excuse for letting the GOSL off the hook, they should realise that they are in fact accepting in more ways than one that the Government did in fact commit war crimes. And for those that continue to argue that we as Sri Lankans should not be held to a higher standard than the western countries that commit war crimes, please speak for yourself, because I for one, as a Sri Lankan, believe in the rule of law and want to see justice served. This also means bringing to justice the remaining LTTE leadership to face the charges levelled against them as well. This is not an ethnic or separatist issue but about upholding the institutions that govern a nation state.

    “The life of the nation is shot through with a certain falseness and hypocrisy, which are all the more tragic because they are so often subconscious rather than deliberate … The soul of the people is putrescent, and until that becomes regenerate and clean, no good work can be done.” Frantz Fanon

    • Not-A-Rajapaksa

      georgethebushpig:

      Thank you for a clear and rational description of “the current reality” of Sri Lanka.

      “Two wrongs do not make a right,” as the old saying has it.

      Also, may I suggest that one factor that seems to escape most people talking about this issue is the fact that the primary motivation on the part of the protagonists, on the government side at least, is simple GREED. Much as the US oil lobby, Dick Cheney etc. had a personal financial interest in the Iraq conflict, there are people who have made and will in the future, make a great deal of MONEY over what is the Sri Lankan reality in the North and the East of the country.

      Even a cursory examination of the so-called “development” of the war-ravaged north and east of this country will show that the beneficiaries are NOT residents of those areas but many who are parachuting in to build roads, develop hotels etc., so called “infrastructure” Of course, the Tamils will be needed to act as “coolies”, waiters and chambermaids.

      • MV

        Good point.

        Sri Lanka will have a newly found cheap labour to exploit, namely women, in the ‘liberated’ North and East as one can deduce from the budding garment factories. It does not take long to guess who will be much benefiting from this ‘development’ drive and the prime lands.
        The Sri Lankan military is not occupying NE for no reason – in fact, they serve to coordinate between the government and the various local and global actors involved in these transactions.

  • Rajeev

    At last Truth is coming out…
    Sri Lankan goverment has killed an estimated 40,000 Tamil men, women and children in the year 2009 alone. In the 60 year civil war ad estimated 200,000- 300,000 Tamils have been killed – No one knows the real number since that’s how bad things are in this cursed country!!!
    All war criminals must be persecuted for the killing of innocents.

  • jansee

    The fact that the UN and other International govts turned the other way while the SL regime was allowed to massacre thousands of innocent civilians has not gone lost with the panel. This fued, while militarised by the LTTE, did not start with the LTTE. Assuming that with the annihilation of the LTTE this fued would go away, as the SL regime would want us to believe, is wishful thinking. Perhaps, with the military scare tactics, forcing the Tamils to subjugation is what the SL regime has in mind, as a way to create a false perception of “harmony”. It is fairly obvious from the acts of the SL regime that this is modus it is pursuing while bluffing the world on reconciliation and development. At least one would hope that the time has come to draw a barrier between the Sinhalese and Tamils and each allowed to pursue their own dreams. What irks most is the attitude and behavior of India. It now appears that it has stop trumpeting as a leader of the Indian sub-continent when it had stood idly watching a massacre happening in its own backyard.

  • Thambi

    Dropping the atomic bomb was justified because it ended WW2 in the Pacific much quicker than otherwise.

    Shelling the Vanni is therefore justified because it ended the war with the LTTE after 30 years of “holding back to save the poor civilians” (who are nothing but traitors as far as I’m concerned; racist nutjobs who want separate homelands gain no sympathy from me– they’ve effectively barred me or any other Southerner from coming into their area — I’ll bar the thought they are actual Sri Lankan citizens then.).

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Actually all evidence shows that the nukes had no effect on the war. Japan tried to surrender 4 times in early 1945 and had their offers rejected. All senior US commnders agreed that the nukes had no effect on the surrender.

      • Thambi

        The situation is not as clear as that regarding Japan. Anyway, the US and its supporters are completely behind the atomic bombs because it reduced their need to launch a full fledge invasion of Japan. This is the official story and what is accepted by most. <— if these actions which killed 200,000 people are not war crimes then how is shelling LTTE locations a war crime? Hospitals or not they all had LTTE in them.

      • TT

        DB,

        They offered conditional surrender. These conditions were not favourable to the allies. That’s why they were rejected.

        Unless there is an intervening thing happening, the loser must surrender on winner’s terms or terms acceptable to the winner. Not withstanding this, individuals can always surrender (unconditionally of course!!).

  • Thambi

    Also consider that all of Tamil society in LTTE areas were active participants in some way or the other. THe LTTE as the sole Representatives of the Tamils did away completely with differentiation between their forces and a civilian population. Women were bomb carriers send to blow themselves up killing as many Sinhalese as possible. Children were soldiers given guns to go shoot and kill as many Sinhalese as possible. The sole representatives of the Tamils didn’t consider any of their population worth special protection and all were equal fighters for Eelam — why should the Sri Lankan army form any other idea than what the Tamils themselves believe? It’s pathetic how diaspora loudmouths try to claim innocence when they’ve actively done all they can to have none.

    I’m glad that we in the South value our women and children enough to not use them as weapons.

    • jansee

      Thambi:

      Going by the same argument, the southerners/sinhalese had to held responsible for the numerous aerial bombardments on civilian populations.

      Going by the same argument, all the sinhalese people are to be docked in front of an international criminal inquiry for the brutal murder of several thousand civilian tamils.

      The fact is, not many, on either side think the way you do thanks to the saner understanding and approach that only those directly responsible ought to be brought to justice.

      The fact is, and get that even if you wish to vehemently deny it, the fued between the Sinhalese and Tamils go a long way back and there is no indication that it will ever end. In fact, it is simmering beneath the surface and the Tamils will never want to be subjugated by the Sinhalese, as it is happening now. What then remains is for a saner and practical approach – a separate homeland for the Tamils.

      • TT

        There are better solutions than that!

        37% of the land mass of the island and 65% of its coastline for 13% of its population is not an equitable solution even if all Tamils on Colombo, etc. move in there.

        Therefore further warfare to avoid that is well worth it.

        There are 5 Tamil communities.

        1. Tamils on recent Indian origin – They never wanted Tamil Elam. They alsways supported governments even in war and integrate very well into the SL society.

        2. Colombo Tamils – They too are not keen on TE. Those who can try to leave SL ASAP for better economic prospects in Canada, UK.

        3. Tamils in north and east.

        3.1 Skilled Tamils in the north and east want to leave SL ASAP to Canada, UK

        If Tamil Elam is ever to become a reality, these are the people to do it but they are leaving SL at the eariest opportunity.

        3.2 Others will stay in SL and learn to respect authority from an early age. They will not riot, rebel or aspire against authority they have seen, respected and sometimes worshiped all their life. Some of them join Tamil paramilitary groups.

        4. Diaspora Tamils – Resourceful, loud, aspirant but lack the connection to ground realitis. They will lose their Tamil identity in 2 generations. It is a matter of time.

        5. Tamil Nadu Tamils – Forever under Indian military and political rule in total subjugation. No chance of a Tamil nation there. Indian security establishment ferociously clamps down any seperatist attempt.

        SL MUST maintain this status quo. Tamils will do the rest! Good on them!

      • TT

        We already see the damage the UN report has done to educated people. Reaction of others must be much worse.

        It has rejuvanated antogonism between various ethnic groups in SL. Tamil media in SL is in the process of popularising their views of this in a manner HIGHLY detrimental to good relations between various ethnic groups.

        The first casualty of the UN report is RECONCILIATION.

        As I said before, there are 3 versions of reconciliation.

        1. The SL version
        2. The Tamil version
        3. The version that tries to reconcile #1 and #2 above

        Now the #3 option is dead. If the government won any number of Tamil hearts and minds, most of those are now lost. If the government still thinks of winning the remaining LG bodies in the north or the NPC, they are dreaming. :)

        No point trying to cover that up. The more this dwelling in war times means more antogonism.

        The Tamil version of reconciliation is also dead. Almost all the Tamils in this forum say Tamil Elam is the solution. You don’t need reconciliation for that. They also say Tamils and others in SL are now more irreconcilable as ever.

        However, the SL version of reconciliation is alive. It is CONSISTENT with the fact that there will be allegations by various quarters. It is a reconciliation methods BUILT UPON the war victory, not under it.

        SL must pursue its reconciliation model. Changing the ethnic composition of the north is the best way forward. Tamil only north must be turned to a multi ethnic area using colonization schemes. No point further pursuing a hearts and minds strategy to appease only Tamils.

        RECONCILIATION BY RECOLONISATION!

        Tamil hearts and minds are easily lost by external pressures as now. A nation built upon such a shaky foundation is bound to collapse. But some Tamils are unshakable. They continue to support the unitary SL nation (not necessarily the government). They are not against changing the ethnic composition of the north. They love it. They and their interests must be promoted.

        Concentrate on Sri Lankans who love SL no matter what. That is the best foundation for SL (and for elections too!) Colonize the north with them. Problem solved, the SL way. And that’s all that matters for SL. It is in perfect sync with the military strategy, war victory and celebrations, unitary status, official languages act, standardisation, 18th amendment, executive presidency, DS Senanayake’s vision, etc., etc. too.

      • Thambi

        [cit]Going by the same argument, the southerners/sinhalese had to held responsible for the numerous aerial bombardments on civilian populations.

        Going by the same argument, all the sinhalese people are to be docked in front of an international criminal inquiry for the brutal murder of several thousand civilian tamils.[/cit]

        Where did I say that the entire Tamil people are to be held responsible? Those in the South and non-LTTE supporting Tamil diaspora are not to blame obviously. Any case I didn’t call for anyone to be tried before any place my point–> the Vanni Tamils rebelled against the official world-recognized government of Sri Lanka and resorted to 30 years of attrition. They are not civilians just as JVP rebels in the late 80s and early 70s were not civilians (we never used our women and children as bomb transporters / bullet fodder btw).

        [quote]The fact is, and get that even if you wish to vehemently deny it, the fued between the Sinhalese and Tamils go a long way back and there is no indication that it will ever end. In fact, it is simmering beneath the surface and the Tamils will never want to be subjugated by the Sinhalese, as it is happening now. What then remains is for a saner and practical approach – a separate homeland for the Tamils.[/quote]

        We can get along at least in Sinhalese majority areas. Wonder why this is not the case in Tamil majority areas? :)

        And believe me I would LOVE to see a separate homeland for Tamils. It sickens me when people like mia are said to be Sri Lankan (when they are obviously not and enemies). A separate homeland would be great for 1) the Sinhalese are never lumped in with the Tamil diaspora. (phew) 2) the ensuing civil war between the various Tamil militants (with the Sinhalese now out of the game to blame) will reveal the true belligerents of the civil war. When the dust settles we’ll have a lovely dictator — a new Sun God. And, Tamil Eelam will join the ranks of North Korea. :)

        You’re fine being “subjugated” by the British living in London (where’s London Eelam) and being “subjugated” by the Canadians living in Toronto (where’s Toronto Eelam?). Do you understand the dynamic of majority / minority communities?

  • MV

    @ Lakshan

    So do you really believe that 300K civilians were ‘liberated’?

    • Thambi

      I believe that 16 million or so REAL Sri Lankans were liberated. I don’t care about 300k traitors. They can redeem themselves and become REAL Sri Lankans but nothing is owed to them.

      • MV

        Thambi,

        You say 16K liberated:

        Oil exploration destroying the livelihood of many fishermen families.
        Neo-liberal economic policies imposed by IMF hurting the poor.
        His Majesty is giving out Hambonthota and Galle Face to the Chinese.
        With the lion flag on all four corners of the island and with the LTTE gone, is Sri Lanka heading toward becoming the Miracle of Asia according to Mahinda Chintanaya?

  • jansee

    Lakshan:

    “I’m not suggesting SLA was reciprocating LTTE atrocities. Please read my write up carefully before jumping in to conclusions. What I’m saying is given war crimes were committed by the LTTE( and not the SLA) , Tamil Diaspora who given them succor are legally responsible.
    SLA was trying to protect civillians of all races. And it was LTTE and by extension Tamil Diaspora who prevented that.
    Therefore they (LTTE/Tamil Disapora) are responsible for travails of the Tamil People not the GOSL . In short punish the thief not the one who caught the thief”

    You are off the mark. How can the diaspora be legally responsible for acts committed in SL? Some LTTE members have been dealt with by some countries for acts/activities in breach of the laws of those countries. Both the participants in this brutal war were responsible for the atrocities.

    If your idea of protecting civilians is by butchering them, then it is symptomatic of a what it has always been observed – that the GOSL, particularly the present regime, had wanted the civilian Tamils to pay for the deeds of the LTTE. From the onset of the war in the North this has been pattern and motive of the GOSL. Any argument otherwise to paint a holy picture of this murderous regime would not hold water.

    • Banda

      jansee
      When you cannot face a argument you cannot rely on mere rhetoric
      SL Govt was trying to protect civillians , they were not punishing Tamil IDP s . If Govt wanted annihilate Tamils, why wait several days without deploying fire power at their disposal
      No you guys of the Diaspora who aided LTTE are the culprits here

      • jansee

        Banda:

        Don’t be an ostrich sticking your head in the sand. The GOSL denied entry to the war zone to prevent news leaking of its massacre but today the technology is very advanced that satellite images show what actually happened at the war scene plus the testimonies of soldiers and army generals. I don’t blame you totally – the MR regime controlled the mainstream news to feed you only what they want you to know. And above all, the Tamils have known for a long time that a majority of the Sinhalese live in empathy as far as the Tamils are concerned. You are talking about the Tamils with the LTTE. As if it was better before the advent of the LTTE. It was the same story of treating the Tamils with contempt since independence. Peaceful gestures were met with thuggery and hooliganism. Pray tell me how many of the agreements entered into before the LTTE came into the scene did the SL adminisration honour? How the Tamils were intentionally burnt during the 1983 pogrom, with active support from the ruling party politicians. Please don’t lecture me. It is almost 2 years since the end of the war. MR promised devolution and rights immediately after the war. Can we call him a liar? To cut the story short, the problem has always been the insincerity of the Sinhalese majority in dealing with the Tamils. The world will definitely come to the sense of seeing that the only way for the Tamils to get justice is to have a nation of their own and in this we don’t need your consent and this show-off with a mighty army means nothing – the spirit of the Tamils will triumph.

  • jansee

    TT and Thambi

    The noose is getting tighter by the day and MR thinks by mass protest he can escape the noose. People like you just continue to day-dream. Now Gotabaya has just woke up. When would you? With all the rhetoric talk of triumphalism it just reinforces the belief that Tamil Ealam is the only way. Maybe it would be time to consider a Cyprus-type solution. The fact that the panel report mentions of international supervision it appears that would be the best solution to protect the Tamils from a murderous regime – UN supervised protection. Say what you may, by your words and deeds this is the only option left for the Tamils to be protected. Let us see what the army and the SL regime will do then. May be you guys then should join Wimal Weerawansa in going on a “fast-unto-death” which incidentally did not stop the panel from doing its job. Did the refusal of the GOSL to allow them into the country prevent them from doing their job?

    There is no dispute that the wayward ways of the LTTE should be condemned and its action earned the wrath worldwide. The fact that you guys still fault the civilian Tamils for the excuse by a murderous regime to commit grave crimes and atrocities goes to show that the Tamils cannot expect a meaningful accountability process from the Sinhalese majority. You cannot just wish away the brutal atrocities of this regime. Still remember how MR and the gang had to make a dash through the back door to escape from UK? Like you guys say, we know very well, and the panel admitted in its report, the triumphalism attitude and the ruthless denial and the whitewash commissions would deny the Tamils justice at home. The SL regime committed genocide and it must be held accountable for it.

    • Thambi

      LOL, don’t hold your breath. The UN will not launch a military campaign in Sri Lanka. (Libya’s not doing so good, is it?) It may issue strongly worded condemnations but they will not come to “your protection” nor will they try the Rajapakasas. Even if they did who’s going to enforce their indictments? Bashir is sitting pretty even after he was convicted by the ICC (and he’s got the whole world pissed off). :)

      And believe me when the Sri Lankan army is gone there will be even more violence with all the criminal elements fostered by the LTTE competing for control in the vacuum left at the end of the war. You can blame the Sinhalese all you want now — (oh, they hurt your pride — you don’t feel like you’re the master of your own home) — but unless you learn to live side-by-side with other ethnic communities you are doomed to extremist war/government in perpetuity.

      • jansee

        Thambi:

        Your convenient and selective memory forgot about Sudan, Bosnia and East Timor. The Sinhalese parties are also fighting among and accusing each other. This is part of any democracy. Just grow up.

      • Thambi

        If you look at my actual comment you would see I referred to Sudan.

        And btw they only gained a referendum because they didn’t lose so badly and definitely unlike the LTTE.

        Serbia — the losers were prosecuted.

        East Timor — a longstanding dictatorship came to an end and a tiny sliver of an island gained independence because no one in Indonesia cared. Now East Timor stands as one of the least important countries in the world contributing absolutely nil.

    • TT

      Jansee,

      Hilarious!

      Justice for war chimes does not mean Tamil Elam! :)

      The two are unconnected things. You are day dreaming if you think war chimes nonsense will give you Tamil Elam. That makes it EVEN MORE difficult.

      The biggest lesson from the war chimes report is, SL should use another terrorist group against the LTTE which uses SAME tactics of the LTTE. If you read the report, VERY little is blamed on the LTTE!! Indirectly it places LTTE on higher moral ground than GOSL! That means a similar terror group vandalising seperatist interests in similar fashion is a definite strategy for the future.

      And I tell you, it will be HIGHLY effective.

  • georgethebushpig

    What I am waiting for is a whistle blower from the SL forces to present the evidence of what actually happened in those last days. I know it is not an easy decision to make and the repercussions would probably be disastrous for that individual (the US soldier that allegedly leaked the US cables to Wikileaks, Pvt. Bradley Manning, has been in solitary confinement for over about 8 months now).

    Remember Abu Ghraib? If not for Sergeant Joseph M. Darby, a soldier of impeccable integrity and bravery that defies description went against the might of the USA Army and released the pictures of the torture being conducted in Abu Ghraib by US soldiers. If not for that single act of bravery the world would not have known of the horrors being perpetrated against the so called terrorists in the prison.

    The majority of the Sri Lankan forces are decent people who conducted themselves in exemplary fashion for the most part of the war – even according to some of the most fiercest critics of the army. The exception is during the last few weeks of the war. Why did they deviate from the norms of engagement that they had upheld until then? Did someone give the order to bomb “no-fire zones” and hospitals? Were the troops asked to assume that anyone left in the area near Nandhikkadal lagoon were LTTE and were ordered to shoot first and ask questions later? Were the forces ordered not to take prisoners? Where are our Darby’s and Manning’s? Is there no one in the army with a conscience?

  • TT

    1. What I don’t like most about this war chimes affair is how even some professionals name call Ban ki Moon and others. It doesn’t serve any purpose. It is childish.

    2. Over doing the exposure of US, UN, EU, NATO hypocricy is another nobrainer. We all know they are hypocratic, so what? Pointing that out over and over again does not make our reply to allegations any better.

    3. Others think effective diplomacy can solve all these allegations. No. Those who make these allegations and the UN, US, EU, etc. know too well that these are rubbish. But they have interests. So they will create excuses to interfere. Even the world’s best diplomats cannot turn the tide. Of course the UN and UNSC are against war chime allegations and that is a different thing. Credit for that should not go to SL diplomats.

    4. We should identify what these jokers are coming at; what their destination/objective is. The name of the UNSG, the looks of the persons in the team, their relatives, their nations, their backgrounds, their NGOs, how UN uses double standards, etc. are IRRELEVANT. Those are givens and cannot be changed. We have to face the challenge as it is.

    5. Their objective is to disintegrate SL. One piece will always support the west for survival. So if the other piece supports China or India or Russia, it does not matter. West will always have a foothold in SL.

    In the rare case both pieces eventually start supporting India, China, Russia or WORSE remain neutral, then it still gives the west a chance. Stir up a conflict between these 2 nations and intervene.

    In the extremely rare case the 2 pieces try to merge, blame both for HR abuses, etc. and put in place 2 puppets. If the 2 puppets eventually stop fighting each other, replace them or finance a terror group to destabilize the island.

    6. India tried to do it in 1987 and Tamils WELCOMED them! :) But soon they came to know India was backstabbing them, literally and host of other things too happened!

    7. SL should rout this objective by colonizing the north making “Elam Tamils” a minority there as it happened in Trinco and Ampara districts. Then there is no ground support for seperatism. A proven solution.

    As a start register all army, etc. personnel working in the north in the electoral registers there. Give them houses (never mind they live there or not. At least they will use it as a holiday bunglow when their relative visit Hunugama or Nagadeepa or Kadivungoda temples!!) Count their votes (and possibily their families) in these districts.

    Gradually build new settlements around these SAFE garrisons and expand them. If anyone tries to use violence to stop it, let the armed forces handle it.

    8. Nothing will cause seperatism thereafter. Referndums? No problem. MOST people in the north will say they want to be part of SL.

    Just imagine some thug lands in SL and forcibly seperate the nation into 2. The sooner the pressure is released, they will resort back to 1 nation.

  • Agnos

    The question before Sri Lanka’s youth, especially Sinhalese youth, is this: do they simply repeat the blatant lies of their political, military and diplomatic leadership, and continue to be known the world over–for years to come–as the Serbs and Nazis of South Asia, or do they tell the truth and demand that war criminals in their midst be exposed and justice upheld, including possible prosecution internationally?

    • TT

      The question before Tamil youth today is, do they continue to pursue the racist agenda of racist mono-ethnic homelands, racist grievences and aspirations that were comprehensively defeated at elections and in the battlefield, or integrate well into the Sri Lankan multiethnic society.

    • Thambi

      I wish I had a nickel for every time a tamil drew a totally inappropriate comparison to Nazis. Would be a millionaire by now.

      • TT

        LTTE was much worse than the Nazis.

        1. LTTE killed 2 national leaders even Nazis couldn’t do it.

        2. LTTE committed a double genocide even Nazis couldn’t.
        (Complete genocide of Sinhalese in jaffna, mulativu, kilinochchi, mannar and batticaloa districts. Complete genocide of Muslims in jaffna, mulativu and kilinochchi districts).

        3. Even the Nazis didn’t use child soldiers!

        4. Nazis didn’t use female suicide bombers as far as I know.

        5. Hitler’s bunker was a few feet deep but Prabakaran’s bunker was 40 feet deep!

        On the other hand, their enemies didn’t live underground! :)

        6. Both used human shields.

        7. Both were driven by RACISM to create monoethnic nations, and failed.

        8. Both had similar beginings.

        The 1976 Vadukodai resolution is a carbon copy of the 1935 Nuremburg laws of the Nazis.

        9. Both campaigns unfortunately had influential Christian clergy supporting them.

        10. Both Nazi and Pussy (forgive my pun as I see the LTTE Tiger as a pussy cat) leaders donned military attire and carried the SAME brand of pistol around! And they never hesitated to use them!

      • wijayapala

        Thambi, what about every time a sinhala drew an inappropriate analogy to the Nazis?

      • wijayapala

        Dear TT,

        1. Tamils on recent Indian origin – They never wanted Tamil Elam. They alsways supported governments even in war and integrate very well into the SL society.

        That’s not what I heard:

        “Asked to choose among a number of approaches to end the war, the overwhelming majority of the Muslims (88%) and Up-country Tamils (95%) picked peace talks as the preferred solution.

        “The question is then posed about the government expanding military action to weaken the LTTE, to which 59% (55% in November) of the Sinhalese responded favourably, while 23% expressed opposition and an unusually high 17% (only 6% were not sure about how to end the war in the previous question) were not sure if this approach is a good one or not. The Muslims are evenly divided, with one half of the respondents agreeing with the approach and the other half disagreeing with it. Most (88%) of the Up-Country Tamils are opposed to expanding military action against the LTTE.

        “Not surprisingly, the government gets very favourable responses among the Sinhalese, while the LTTE receives a highly unfavourable assessment. Interestingly, more Mulsims doubt the commitment, but not the capability, of the LTTE to achieve peace through talks. This assessment about the LTTE is reversed among the Up-Country Tamils.”

      • wijayapala
  • Zorro

    what a genius we have in TT!

    • georgethebushpig

      You do TT grave injustice by referring to him as a mere genius. That level of blinding brilliance has no description my masked friend.

  • Padda

    @TT: Is there a way I can contact you?

    • TT

      wakiragala1 (at) gmail (dot) com

  • TT

    Thanks GV.