Rajiva Wijesinha, MP, in his column published in the Sunday Observer today, expressly notes that,

“I have now had an opportunity to read through what is supposed to be the Report of the Panel appointed by the UN Secretary General to advise him on what were termed accountability issued. The report has been leaked by the indefatigable Sanjana Hattotuwa, who does however note that he cannot confirm if this is the actual text. He adds that the UN has regretted the leak.”

Surprised that Mr. Wijesinha seemingly did not know the location where the UN Panel’s report was published and attributed the leak to this site’s founding Editor, he was asked to furnish any hard evidence to support his allegation and if there was none, to publish a full retraction and apology in the media.

An email with Mr. Wijesinha on this score is published here verbatim with his knowledge.

April 17, 2011 9:00:39 AM

Dear Sanjana

Thanks, I am so sorry to have upset you. The word ‘leaks’ may be misleading, but I think anyone reading the article would realize that you were not being held responsible for the report getting into the public domain. If you feel this needs to be made crystal clear, I will be happy to do so, though the Observer being a weekly, their carrying this may not serve your purpose. You are however welcome to publish this in Groundviews since I certainly did not intend to denigrate you. On the contrary, I was hoping you would appreciate the use of the word ‘indefatigable’.

I read the text however in an email that you had circulated, with the disclaimer that is noted. I had asked the ‘Observer’ whether they had the text, but they did not, so I was delighted when I was sent your email, which allowed me to make an initial response promptly. I did not get the ‘Island’ yesterday, though subsequently I saw Shamindra Fernando’s article. That certainly does not convey the full thrust of the leaked text to which I responded, as your email did.

Let me know if you want the above conveyed to the Observer with a particular request that they carry it as soon as possible.I will copy this to the editor so that he is also aware – if not so already – that I do not think you responsible as noted above.

Regards,

Rajiva

###

April 17, 2011 10:10:03 AM

Rajiva,

I fully appreciated the tag describing me. Thank you for your quick response.

The allegation you make is a serious one, given the subject matter the report deals with and the charged context in which it was first leaked and will be subsequently released in. I do not know what email you are referring to, since I didn’t send any to you directly. However, at no stage has any email from me gone to anyone even remotely suggesting that I was the source of this leak, or had anything to do with its publication in the Island newspaper.

Since your statement was in the Sunday Observer, it should be retracted in the same manner and with equal emphasis, as soon as possible.

Best,

Sanjana

  • justitia

    What does it matter whether the UN Panel’s report was ‘leaked’ or not.What matters is the substance of the report.
    The report clearly holds the government responsible for many human rights violations during the last few days/weeks of the ‘war’and urges further investigation.
    The government should substantiate its claim of “ZERO” civilian casualties during the last days of the conflict.

  • veedhur

    @Justitia

    absolutely, given that Prof.Rajeeva himself was a key official who spread the ‘zero casualty’ canard and played an active part in silencing the local government officials who gave accurate estimates of civilians caught in the war zone (held by tigers as human shield to be precise). He played an active part and knowingly understated the numbers to fit with the military strategy.

    • sabbe laban

      AS YOU SAY IF THE LTTE HELD THE CIVILIANS AS A HUMAN SHIELD, PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW IT CONSTITUTES A VIOLATION OF GENEVA CONVENTION IN TARGETTING THEM. IN THAT CASE THE CIVILIANS SO HELD BECOMES A LEGITIMATE TARGET OF THE FORCES. THAT’S THE ERGUMENT BROUGHT FORWARD BY THE ISRAEL, AND THAT IS WHY THE US WANTS THE UN-GAZA REPORT TO BE REVOKED!

      Why one law for them and another for us?

      • Banda

        @Sabbe Laban

        Sinhalese do not have powerful lobbying groups that funds congressional/Presidential/ Senate elections nor do they form a significant voting bloc in the US.
        Nor can Sri Lanka be called a strategic partner for USA.
        And last not the least Oil was not discovered here yet.

      • veedhur

        @Sabbe Laban So you agree that the Government Forces killed civilians. Thousands of them as per the report.

      • sabbe laban

        Show me a war in the human history where civilians were not killed! Such a war might exist only in the imagination of people like you!

        I am not a spokesperson for the Sri Lankan government!

      • veedhur

        @ Sabbe,

        Indiscriminate, disproportionate and intentional killing of civilians – even when they are used as human shields is a crime. That is what the Sri Lankan Forces are accused of. No one says that they were wrong to fight the LTTE and certainly deserve to be cut some slack for some minimum level civilian casualty that is proven to be inevitable. What happened was much worse than that. In a civilized world the in the face of such evidence the onus is on us to investigate, establish facts and explain.

        And by the way it is not only killing of civilians which is a war crime – deliberately with holding food and other humanitarian assistance, killing surrendering combatants (and non combatants and their families), collective punishment, bombing hospitals, desecration of dead bodies, etc will all qualify in some shade or the other.

        And, we may not have to listen to the ‘puppets’ if the jokers in our country had got our act together and set up some form of credible investigation. Or if the Justice system had functioned properly and we had be able to count on them. When we are running away from the truth using ‘various excuses’ and are refusing to even acknowledge what happened we lose the moral right to question others.

        Revoking the report (a la Gladstone report) is not going to change the fact that thousands of civilians were killed. And running away from truth is un-budhdhist!

      • sabbe laban

        veedhur

        So, let me know your figure of acceptable or reasonable human casualties in the Sri Lankan conflict! Is it 10 people or hundred? If it is hundred isn’t hundred and one a reasonable figure? What about 6999? What are the grounds on which you calculated your figure?
        What is the figure for reasonable ‘human casualties’ in Iraq war, when the US led NATO forces invaded that country on the bogus accusation of ‘to find weapons of mass destruction’?

        The Sri Lankan government sent the food and medical supplies to the LTTE controlled land to the end through the ICRC, and this fact can be verified.

        The US wants to revoke the Gladstone report because they accept their ally Isreal has broken no law by attacking the civilians used as ‘human shields’! Because they have read the loop holes in the Geneva Convention! You too need to be educated!

      • sabbe laban

        Banda

        True! Our coconut oil doesn’t seem to be so appealing to the West even with the recent evidence pointing towards its health benefits!

  • Suresh

    I think someone needs to explain to ‘Sabbe Laban’ what the expectations of a civilised world are when judging the actions of terrorists and legitimate governments. He seems labouring under the misconception that both entities can operate under the same rules of engagement. Poor child!

    • Sohan Fernando

      Suresh, very true.

      IMHO: Not just “Sabbe Laban” but large numbers of us Sri Lankans seem unable to see that difference which you point out. (Or worse, don’t WANT to see?) It’s a flawed argument that sure is “indefatigably”(!) raised by some people…

      Similarly but in more depth, I thought this comment (in another post) neatly crisply deals with the same 2 issues (non-issues, I mean) which “Sabbe Laban” has raised:
      http://groundviews.org/2011/04/16/the-leaked-un-war-crimes-report-key-points-and-context/comment-page-1/#comment-30341 by “georgethebushpig”

      • sabbe laban

        sabbe laban says to both Sohan Fernando and “georgethebushpig” thus: According to many religions in the world, there is a God and He is always correct;there can’t be anybody or anything holier than God! Likewise our ideas of human rights (whether they are violated or not) and democracy are modelled and standardized after a few Western countries-unfortunately though! We poor third world suckers look up to them as our role models,eh? Howevermuch I oppose the West,it is irrefutable that the Western democracies are considered far superior to the democracies in the developing world in their capacity to preserve human rights.

        Soooooo, we expect them to practice what they preach as the guardians, grand fathers and protectors of human rights in the rest of the world(of lesser mortals!). Therefore they can’t bomb Iraq and get away with it(where is the war crimes probe for THAT?) or launch drone attacks on a wedding party and get away with an opology!(you know we Sri Lankans too are quite capable of apologizing!(danin wetilaa!)

        That’s why georgethebushpig, though I like your name, your argument is flawed. As there is a God and a Gospel regarding the human rights, THE GODS can’t DO WRONG! Yes, we poor Sri Lankans will point our fingers at you and ask that equal treatment be meted out to you too,the untouchable Holy Souls!

        WE NEVER EXPECT THE PARENTS AND GRAND FATHERS OF HUMAN RIGHTS TO BREAK THE RULES!

    • sabbe laban

      Suresh

      So, according to you the “CIVILIZED” world is right in bombing entire cities in Iraq and killing thousands! Where does that civilization come from?

      When I say ‘legitimate targets’ it means no international law was breached;the minimum requirements fulfilled. The panel of ‘puppets’ should have at least read the Geneva Convention before levelling charges against Sri Lanka!

    • Not-A-Rajapaksa

      The Rajiva Wijesinhas, Dayan Jayatillekeas, Rohan Gunaratnas, G.L. Peiris etc. HAVE to be dealt with because they have, thanks to the Rajapaksa Hegemony, been thrust upon us.

      However, it is ESSENTIAL that they be dealt with in the context of what they represent: an amorality that is beyond belief and any kind of acceptance. These are people truly without a principled bone in their bodies who will do ANYTHING to further their own interests that are now inexplicably. Therefore, every reference to them has to be in that stated context. Anything less will only legitimize what should be beyond legitimization.

  • Sohan Fernando

    (Not so much a serious comment, 😀 just half amused) :
    Ha! re “indefatigable” tag! Upon reading the article, I was wondering what if any was its relevance to the author’s article, i.e. the relevance of S.H.’s indefatigableness! The only “slant” I could/can see is “huh, does that imply that S.H. is ‘indefatigable’ in doing things such as ‘leaking’ such stuff?”
    Oh well, at least such extraneous words help to distract me from wondering too much about things like “huh, where/why on earth did he get the idea for such an accusation”, etc.

  • mel

    Sounds like he admires you from afar, Sanjana. Good for you 😀

  • Travelling Academic

    “indefatigable” – wow! Well done, Sanjana! As Mel says, he has been your secret admirer.

    Tomorrow I have my job appraisal with my Faculty Dean — I shall say my objective for next year is to be “indefatigable” (in my habit of constantly annoying uni senior management, that is!) 🙂

    It is a shame that seemingly so sensible people like Rajiva Wijesinghe find it possible to associate themselves with this Government and its dictatorial trajectories, without being able to predict the total disaster our country is heading towards. Why does he not see that we are still a country where the police are free to beat up any suspect immediately upon arrest, that many of our countrymen are locked away without trial for many months and years, and we can’t find a clean public toilet when in need? Can he continue to justify the evils of today by saying “yes, there was, two years ago, a bad guy by the name VP.” How sensible is that?

    But then, I am either a poor judge of character, or this is the third — not the second — glass of wine in front of me: Dayan Jayatillake in the WUS canteen at Peradeniya in 1980 and G.L. Peiris in a Cambridge Senior Common Room in 1986, also sounded very sensible people to me!

    How times change people??

  • Bundoora

    i love to read comments from these so called PhD intellectuals of Sl  , especially persons like   Rajiwa W, DJ and Rohan Gunaratne , do not you love them ?

  • TT

    The law is this.

    You cannot cause civilian deaths or cause destruction to a civilian object in war.

    Except when:

    1. They provide a military advantage

    And

    2. Proportionate force proportionate to the threat level is used.

    So you CAN kill civilians even with full knowledge in war. (Incidental civilian casualties are TOTALLY allowed in the process of butchering enemy troops).

    War chimes allegations have NOTHING to do with human rights or civilian deaths. It is about pressurising SL with these rubbish and getting SL to create a Tamil Nadu in SL.

    For this reason, UNSG will not put the SL case to UNSC or the UN. They want to “settle the matter” outside these because if the case goes to UNSC or UN only 2 things can happen.

    1. Nothing will happen.
    2. SL case may be referred to the Hague, etc.

    Either way, it will not create a Tamil Nadu in SL. If Rajapakshas, Fonsekas, etc. go to the gallows, so what? Nothing changes in SL. There are enough politicians who have nothing to do with the war and they will run the country as it is. (e.g. SB, Sajith, Maithripala, Wimal and most others). There is nothing the UN, etc. can do to impose their nonsense just because of war chimes (if so). In fact if such a thing happens, SLs will follow a hardline apporach, build more army camps, follow strickter security measures, introduce mandatory checking/registration, photographing (self and family), fingerprinting, data bases, mandatory military service or a tax in leiu as in Switzerland, “colonization”, further standardisation, etc. There is nothing the UN can do to stop these as every UN member has the complete right to do so.

    So the UN, etc. don’t want to follow this option. They want to show a few loose wires and say there is a bomb on the plane and get demands. If SL says go ahead do what you can, there is nothing they can do. Even if they actually blows it, it is still less costlier in the long run than giving into their demands.

    This episode to teach SL another lesson.

    NEVER (I mean NEVER) sign the Rome statute!