The Island newspaper continues to publish leaks from the report produced by the Panel appointed by the UN Secretary General to look into post-war accountability in Sri Lanka. Groundviews has contextualised in detail the Executive Summary and Parts 1, 234 and 5 of the leaks.

The Island published today Part 6, which focusses on, inter alia, the conditions faced by IDPs interned in camps after the end of war, allegations of the use of cluster munitions or white phosphorus and torture in detention of suspected LTTE cadre.

As before, we provide context and background information to frame these highlights.

“Civilians emerging from the conflicts zone were initially housed in a network of 21 IDP sites spread across Jaffna, Mannar, Trincomalee and Vavuniya districts. Most were eventually sent to Menik Farm near Vavuniya, which at its peak, housed around 250,000 IDPs, making it one of the largest IDP sites in the world and one of the largest population centres in Sri Lanka.”

“Menik Farm and other IDP sites were closed camps, guarded by the military and surrounded by barbed wire. Essentially, the entire Vanni IDP population was detained and not allowed to leave.”

“… when IDPs came out in larger numbers, the international agencies failed to take a common position on the pre-conditions. Many international agencies continued to provide assistance, in spite of the dramatically substandard conditions that prevailed at Menik Farm.”

“[In Menik Farm] While many persons suffered from depression, psychological support was not allowed by the Ministry of Social Services, and some IDPs committed suicide. Some died while awaiting passes to get basic medical treatment or died from preventable diseases.”

“Provision for food, water, shelter and sanitation at Menik Farm was highly inadequate to cope with the large numbers of people who arrived in April and May.”

“Some women were forced to perform sexual acts in exchange for food, shelter or assistance in camps.”

“While basic conditions at Menik Farm were inhumane, a Western Union (money transfer facility) soon opened, and thousands of people, many of them LTTE with connections among the Diaspora, were able to buy their way out of the camps by bribing the military.”

“The sounds of beating and screams could be heard from the interrogation tents. The UNHCR recorded at least nine cases of torture in detention. Some detainees were taken away and not returned.”

“During the screening process, the SLA removed those suspected of being LTTE members to separate detention facilities at Boossa and Omanthai, generally under the Prevention of Terrorism Act or the Emergency Regulations. In many cases the SLA did not provide family members with notification for the detention of their relatives; neither did it identify the criteria by which it was identifying suspected LTTE.”

“According to the September 2010 figures provided to the Panel by the Government, “approximately 6,500” alleged ex-combatants were undergoing “short term” rehabilitation, “around 3,500″ were undergoing term rehabilitation”, and “less than 1,500” were identified as “hard core” LTTE and designated for prosecution.”

“There is virtually no information about the conditions at these separate LTTE “surrendee” sites, due to a deliberate lack of transparency by the Government. The fact that interrogations and investigations as well as “rehabilitation” activities have been ongoing, without any external scrutiny for almost two years, rendered alleged LTTE cadre highly vulnerable to violations such as rape, torture or disappearance, which could be committed with impunity.”

“There are allegations that the SLA used cluster bomb munitions or white phosphorus or other chemical substances against civilians, particularly around PTK and in the second NFZ.”

“Various reports have alleged that the political leadership of the LTTE and their dependents were executed when they surrendered to the SLA.”

“Both President Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Basil Rajapaksa provided assurances that their surrender would be accepted. These were conveyed by intermediaries to the LTTE leaders, who were advised to raise a white flag and walk slowly towards the army, following a particular route indicated by Basil Rajapaksa.”

“While there is little information on the circumstances of their death, the Panel believes that the LTTE leadership intended to surrender.”

  • TT

    SL never used rape as a weapon of war. Individuals on their own may have done it as it happens in all modern wars.

    These criminals should be identified, tried and punished. Not doing so casts a doubt on SL authorities genuineness on the whole thing. However, the extent of it is very low and does not warrant anything more than a number of criminal cases.

  • TT

    ““There are allegations that the SLA used cluster bomb munitions or white phosphorus or other chemical substances against civilians, particularly around PTK and in the second NFZ.””

    “cluster bomb munitions or white phosphorus or other chemical substances”

    This is a vague statement. Which one was used? Obviously the statement says not all were used. Certainly they were NOT intended to be used against civilians.

    Cluster munitions are legal to be used. SL has not signed and do not intend to sign the cluster bomb ban.

    LTTE leaders were given enough time to surrender. Some did (George Master, Daya Master) but others didn’t. Other LTTE leaders considered it cowardly to surrender and fought till the last moment. Anyway the government NEVER accepted conditional surrender.

    Basil Rajapaksha and Palitha Kohonna were not in the military chain of command. So no point getting assurances from them. The fact that they were seniors does not make any sense. They had no authority on the matter. If you are sick, you don’t go to the best engineer. You go to a doctor. You can’t blame the engineer for medical negligence saying his brother is a doctor!

    All LTTE cadres in custody must be punished for terrorism.

  • Velu Balendran

    Only the word genocide has not been mentioned, but every element/act that defines genocide is alleged to have taken place. An independent UN panel, if allowed to investigate will definitely make that connection. One can understand the fix the govt and its supporters are in.

    This is history in the making and honourable Sinhala people should not keep quiet, but make their stand clear; if ever they want the Tamils to feel that there is hope within a united SL. That will be a first step towards reconciliation.

    • Padda

      @VB – If it was ever mentioned, it would have been associated with LTTE. LTTE carried out genocide of two races. Not even Nazis did it.

    • Thambi

      If a investigation was done — the only thing you would see is that these allegations are false. Mahinda’s paranoia and secrecy doesn’t in any way verify these claims,

  • our 2500 year civilization and here we are preparing to commemorate 2600 years of Buddhism. Does Buddhism allow for such terrible things against fellow human beings. We are a nation of hypocrites. But we should seek reconciliation. Wha attitdue should be adopt to the UN Report?The Way Ahead on the UN Panel Report by R.M.B Senanayake
    The Report of the Advisory Panel appointed by the Secretary General to advise him on the allegations of war crimes and humanitarian violations in Sri Lanka has been published by the local press and everybody except the TNA which represents the Tamil people, are responding negatively. The Government has condemned it alleging bias on the part of the Members although it secretly met the Panel and held discussions with it. It must be stressed that it is not a UN Report but only an advisory report to the Secretary General. The Panel has said that there is a prima facie case to investigate the allegations further. These same allegations have been made before by Tamil people both here and abroad. The government prevented foreigners from visiting the Vanni and meeting the Internally Displaced persons. It also placed restrictions on the freedom of movement of the IDPs.
    But persons from the area and even from the Armed Forces have apparently collected evidence or on the government’s version fabricated evidence to show that there have been war crimes committed and violations of the Humanitarian Law. The UN Panel says such evidence is credible and therefore requires an investigation by an impartial body. But it has not pre-empted such a body from being set up in the country. But unlike the former Commission of Eminent Persons it would have to be free to carry out its own investigations. Those who oppose the setting up of an international investigation ultimately have to fall back on State sovereignty. Yes we should oppose an international investigation because it would make our efforts of Reconciliation more complicated if not torpedo altogether. But can we avoid the demand for such an investigation by merely denouncing the Report and criticizing the UN Panel as biased?. But the UN has always agreed to a domestic investigation provided it is credible. But if the appointment of such a Commission is to be entirely at the discretion of the President who himself has been tainted, it will not perhaps be sufficient. Since the entire Sinhalese people and the UNP are against such an international Commission, the decision to set up a domestic Commission, its terms of reference and procedures could be based on a consensus between the Government, the Opposition and the TNA. The TNA cannot be ignored since the findings of such a Commission have the most implications for the Tamil community. I would even suggest consulting the Tamil expatriate community if such a Commission is to further the process of Reconciliation. Revenge or Sending anybody to the electric chair is not the rationale for such a Commission. The rationale is to provide an opportunity to those who wish to give evidence for or against the allegations to do so. It should be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission rather than an Investigation with a view to prosecution. Its aim should be to find the truth but not to pin point who is guilty or not guilty. This issue would no doubt come up and the opportunity should be given to those who wish to confess and seek pardon for any personal transgressions. It could be modeled on the lines of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of South Africa.
    Unless we set up such a Commission the ethnic problem is likely to take a more complex turn. As for the accountability of those against whom there are allegations it is unlikely that the UN can take any action as long as Russia and China can veto any resolution in the Security Council. But these are turbulent days and in the case of Libya the Security Council did not veto UN action. It would be prudent for us to set up our own Commission with eminent men. END

    • TT

      Rubbish!

      This is exactly what should not happen. What should happen is to ignore the report which has no legal force and continue the reconciliation process.

      Further dwelling in the war past breeds hatred and suspicion, nothing else. But sadly some live in that era still. Let them live in the past. Let the others move forward towards development. Don’t drag the entire Sri Lankan people in the reverse gear into the war past.

      This “recommendation” assumes the illegality of the panel report and wants SL to do investigations. 🙂 Hilarious! If the panel report has no legal force, so be it! There is no need to give it or its recommendations ANY legitimacy.

    • Velu Balendran

      Fantastic analysis. Wholeheartedly concur with everything you say Sir and appreciate your courage.

    • wijayapala

      Realist, I kindly suggest using paragraphs next time. Nobody enjoys reading a disorganized stream of consciousness. Thank you.

  • “There are allegations..” is going to be an oft-repeated claim in this report. I’m glad they repeated the cluster bomb nonsense. In fact, the types of casings used on SLAF bombs clearly prove that they used ‘dumb bombs’. An excellent technical report er… shredded that particular smear, as shown here:
    http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2009/1/38096_space.html

    Jim McDonald of AI USA was caught out trying to frantically backpedal from his original cluster bomb claim with this gem:
    In Jim’s own words: “…..Do the army commanders in Colombo know for a fact that some lower ranking officers or troops in the north didn’t use the cluster bombs?” AI grudgingly agreed that their original cluster bomb smear story was wrong. http://tinyurl.com/4vwjbya

    Did Jim think that Private Piyadasa would, on his own initiative jump into a fighter-bomber and carry out his solo mission?

    Looking on the positive side, this report will ensure that a host of ‘Sri Lanka specialists’ in INGO groups will enjoy near-permanent job security.

    I’m also puzzled by those in the West crying out for re-conciliation whilst simultaneously pressing for war crimes trials against SL. That really isn’t very logical, is it ? Its like an abusive husband telling his wife how much he loves her, as he beats her.

    Oddly, this report looks only at the last stages of fighting. The UNSG defined the time frame to ensure that SL appears in the worst possible light. Even Stalin managed to put on more convincing show trials than this report.

    I love this bit the best. “…the Panel believes that the LTTE leadership intended to surrender.” Oh really? Does the panel also believe in Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny?

    • veedhur

      I agree Mango,

      We should forget all the killings and destruction. Now that we have won the war the tamils too should forget everything and fall in line to ‘reconcile’. (particularly those whose innocent next of kin were killed or maimed or just disappeared)

      While the (UN) husband cannot beat the (Sri Lankan) wife and expect reconciliation – the (Sri Lankan) husband can beat and do much worse to his (Tamil) wife and expect reconciliation as a matter of right! Funny that.

      Strange that UN should keep talking about investigating to find the truth, ensure accountability and punish impunity while we wan’t to do none of those and instead gear up to celebrate the next Buddha Jayanthi. I would think it is pretty un-buddhist to shy away from truth and responsibility!

      • Thambi

        Veedhur,

        Do you lack the ability to comprehend what you read? Mango didn’t say anything related to what you just spat out.

      • veedhur

        @ Thambi

        The following line in Mango’s post triggered it – “I’m also puzzled by those in the West crying out for re-conciliation whilst simultaneously pressing for war crimes trials against SL. That really isn’t very logical, is it ? Its like an abusive husband telling his wife how much he loves her, as he beats her”

        While the contradiction in the west’s cry for reconciliation and call for accountability is taken to be self-evident, It does not come out clearly that there is contradiction in the Govt’s (and many others) cry for reconciliation and the call to forget what happened.

        And of course I did NOT mean to imply that Mango was calling for such an amnesia from tamils. If it had come across as such, it was not intended.

  • TT

    “The Panel believes that the LTTE leadership intended to surrender.”

    Heroes NEVER EVER surrender; only cowards surrender.

    • Zorro

      @TT, either you believe what the panel says that VP was killed/ massacred as he tried to surrender to the govt forces, and he is indeed a coward! or you trying to say he was indeed a HERO killed in action? I don’t think with this assumption you cant go to sleep, should accept that this terrorist was indeed a hero? make up your mind TT.

  • sabbe laban

    Well said Mango! I must say that there is a lot of ‘saban’ in the penals report! That’s why it’s on hold! Maybe there is ‘saban’ in the brains of those who prepared it as well! That’s why UNSG wants to bargain his re-oppointment with Russia as well! Looks like personal agendas can override magnonimous ideals!

    Ha,haa The LTTE leadership wanted to surrender! How do you like yor heros, diaspora hypocrites?

    • TropicalStorm

      Are you confused over whether they surrendered, or died fighting, in your fanatical need to label them as heros or zeros?

      Well, the ones who died after surrendering, died fighting.

      Try not to forget to remember that which is worth not forgetting.
      Er…yes

  • Thambi

    (April 24, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The key allegation in the Ban Ki-moon panel report on Sri Lanka is the shelling of civilian targets and hospitals during the last phases of the war. Of paramount importance is the methodology used by the panel in collating their information. An account given on pages 20 and 25 of this report states very clearly that the UN and other INGOs had left the LTTE held areas by the end of September 2008 and from that moment on there were no continuously present international observers in the Vanni. The last UN officials who transported food into the Vanni left on January 29, 2009, and the Last ICRC international staff were evacuated from the Vanni by ship from Puthumathalan on February 10, 2009. Thereafter, until the end of the war, only the ICRC would have access to the Vanni and that too took the form of a few ICRC officials disembarking on the Puthumathalan beach to bring food and take away civilian patients by ship.

    If there were no international observers in the LTTE held area after February 10, 2009, who were the sources of information the panel has relied on to frame their allegations? The panelists say on Page 21 that “there were reports emerging via text messages, emails, phone calls and other sources originated from national staff of international organizations, religious leaders, local government employees, doctors or Tamil Net, a pro-LTTE website. But all these sources were Tamil and regularly contested or dismissed by the government.” Speaking of the methodology by which they arrived at their conclusions, on page 40, they say that: “If an incident could not be verified by three sources, or could have been double counted, it was dismissed. Figures emanating from sources that could be perceived as biased, such as Tamil Net, were dismissed as were government sources outside the Vanni.”

    Thus the panelists would have us believe that Tamil Net was the only pro-LTTE source of information and that all other sources in the Vanni who sent them information especially Tamil government servants, were pristinely impartial. This is a major methodological error which calls into question the entire report. Reports by Tamil government servants were deemed to be reliable when they were under LTTE control and unreliable when the same individuals came under government control again. On page 39, the panelists assert that the doctors who had been in Puthumathalan were speaking the truth when they were under LTTE control and were lying ‘under pressure’ after they came under government control again. Their assumption is that people under the LTTE had the freedom of speech and expression while those in the government held areas did not.

    Faulty methodology

    Thus the LTTE which was designated in 2008 by the FBI as the world’s deadliest terrorist organization outranking even Al Qaeda, becomes an upholder of the freedom of expression as against a UN member state which is also Asia’s oldest democracy, and has seen ten peaceful changes of government since independence and has enjoyed universal franchise for eighty years!

    We in Sri Lanka know that very little unbiased information came out of areas under LTTE control. This is not a point that needs to be laboured. The UN should know this too, because even the UN’s Tamil staff were completely under LTTE control and were not allowed to leave the Vanni when the UN pulled out as the Moon panel itself states on page 21. In late 2005, Phillip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions was in Sri Lanka and in his report he has spoken of the way the LTTE uses killings as a way of enforcing their writ over the Tamil people. One of Alston’s key recommendations was that Western countries should persuade the Tamil diaspora to exert pressure on the LTTE to change this practice of killing and intimidating the Tamil population under their control.

    One of the few Tamil organizations over the years to challenge this culture of fear (They were able to do so because its key members lived in exile outside the north) – the University Teacher’s for Human Rights – Jaffna (UTHR-J) has written of the control the LTTE has always exerted not only over the Tamil people but over government servants in areas under their control in the following terms –

    “In Jaffna, it (the LTTE) virtually controls the Sri Lanka police, administrators, local councils and educational officers. It controls schools and through the education department Batticaloa, has distributed portraits of Prabhakaran to be hung in schools in lieu of the head of state.” (UTHR-J Information Bulletin No: 30 December 3, 2002)

    “Controlling village headmen (Grama Sevakas) is also to control the people. The government’s social welfare measures, ration cards, identity cards, and voters lists are all routed through the headman. From the 1990s the LTTE has used the headmen under its control to police the people, force them to attend demonstrations, perform compulsory military service as auxiliaries, impose punitive cuts of rations, diddle government aid and report on those coming in and going out.” (UTHR-J Information Bulletin No: 39 Nov. 1, 2005)

    That Tamils under LTTE control had no choice but to toe the LTTE line is a well known fact, and to expect an unbiased flow of information in such circumstances is a major methodological error by the panel. The narrative in the panel report on ‘credible’ allegations against the government begins with the first hand experiences of two UN international staff who illegally set up a ‘UN hub’ in Suthantirapuram, which we discussed last week. From first hand experiences, the narrative moves on to information provided by unnamed sources. Even the foot notes give no indication where or from whom this information was received. Even though the panel report tries to establish the legitimacy of this information by repeatedly using the word ‘credible’ all material coming out of LTTE held territory was ipso facto tainted.

    High handed action

    Even this ‘UN hub’ referred to in the report’s narrative, should never have existed. The UN left the Vanni at the end of September. Thereafter, they sent food convoys deep into LTTE held territory and came back to base in Vavuniya after each trip. On January 16, 2009, however, a food convoy had gone to Puthukudirippu and unloaded the cargo but the seven UN international staff had been stuck there for four days because of fighting further up the road. On January 21 however the convoy was able to return to Vavuniya and five of the seven international staff went back while two stayed back.

    These two international UN staffers then proceeded to set up a ‘UN hub’ in Suthantirapuram which was not authorized by the government. UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/46/182 of 1991 which governs the issue of humanitarian assistance, states the following very clearly:

    “Article 3: The sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of States must be fully respected in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. In this context humanitarian assistance should be provided with the consent of the affected country and in principle on the basis of an appeal by the affected country.”

    “Article 4: Each State has the responsibility first and foremost to take care of the victims of natural disasters and other emergencies occurring on its territory. Hence the affected state has the primary role in the initiation, organization, coordination, and implementation of humanitarian assistance within its territory.”

    What this means is that UN personnel can’t just set up ‘UN hubs’ as and when they feel like it. Despite the fact that the LTTE ignored the declaration of a no fire zone on January 20, 2009, the two UN staffers proceeded to set up an unauthorized ‘UN hub’ right in the path of the army when the panel report itself says, ‘a large offensive on Puthukudirippu seemed imminent’. According to the panel report, the first no fire zone was only 800 meters away from the advancing army. To make matters worse, the LTTE was also firing upon the army from the no fire zone and the vicinity of the unauthorized UN hub. If not for that UN hub which attracted civilians with handouts, they would have been dispersed and out of harms way.

    Apart from the fact that the UN hub itself was unauthorized and located deliberately between two hostile military forces, the two UN personnel responsible did not follow the basic rules laid down by the UN for humanitarian workers in coordinating with military forces in conflict areas. The UN has issued a ‘Civil-Military Coordination Officer Field Handbook’ to those involved in humanitarian operations in conflict situations. This document stresses the need for “structured and formal interaction with the military forces” and stipulates among other things that before a mission, the official concerned should confirm that country security clearance has been granted. Then immediately upon arrival they should make a courtesy call on the local military commander and find out among other things, the military unit’s ability to support humanitarian activities. Then the UN workers have to “carefully manage expectations on both the civilian and military sides and find opportunities to present the humanitarian view point and advocate for humanitarian principles and humanitarian space”. This UN handbook also advices UN officers to be prepared to explain to the local military commander, their mission, key terms of reference, and who they represent and report to etc.

    None of these procedures had been adhered to in establishing that arbitrary UN hub in Suthantirapuram. All they had done was to set up shop and relay their coordinates to the army! The first thing that has to be done by the UN, is to charge the two UN officials responsible for putting Tamil civilians in harms way by setting up an unauthorized hub between two warring forces and attracting civilians into the no man’s land. On Page 24 of the panel report, it is said that the UN personnel tried to get the army to stop their shelling. Interestingly, they do not say that they even attempted to get the LTTE to stop shelling the army from near the ‘UN hub’.

    The hospital routine

    Apart from this first hand account from UN officials about what happened at the unauthorized UN hub, the rest of the narrative in the Moon panel report is based on unspecified sources under LTTE control. There are several reports of hospitals being attacked. It begins with the Udayarkaddu hospital on January 24, 2009, and then continues on to the Puthukudiirippu, Puthumathalan and finally the Mullivaikkal hospital. The panel in fact says that: “Throughout the final stages of the war, virtually every hospital in the Vanni, whether permanent or makeshift, was hit by artillery. Particularly those which contained wounded LTTE were hit repeatedly.” (Pages 23-24)

    Hospitals have always figured prominently, in LTTE propaganda. There were two ways of doing it. One was to provoke actual attacks on hospitals and the other was to falsely claim that an attack had taken place. They even used it to turn Tamil Nadu opinion against the Indian Peace Keeping Force in the late 1980s. For example, an official statement of the Indian External Affairs Ministry issued on August 17, 1989, read as follows:

    “A group of LTTE militants under cover of darkness sneaked into a civilian hospital in a heavily populated area of Mannar, broke open the windows of the main hospital building and in utter disregard for the patients opened fire on an IPKF picket which was in the vicinity of the hospital for security and policing duties. The LTTE used rocket propelled grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns against the IPKF. But the IPKF soldiers in deference to the inmates of the hospital, did not use heavy weapons to retaliate. As a result, 24 IPKF soldiers were killed and a portion of the hospital along with a temple in the vicinity were damaged. The hospital was one of the biggest in the northern province and had 200 beds. It had 89 patients and a large number of staff at the time of the incident.”

    “The hospital was used with total disregard of the 89 patients within. Since the IPKF could not retaliate, they suffered heavy casualties. There is a clear political motive to disrupt the IPKF and to bring it into disrepute, to demoralize the civilian population and to jeopardize ongoing Indo-Sri Lankan talks.”

    This is just one example; there were many such incidents involving the IPKF. Since this was a tried and tested trick in the LTTE repertoire, they applied it to the final war as well. They started with the falsehood approach first. The saga of the Puthukudiirippu (PTK) hospital is a case in point. According to the US State Department report of October 2009, the Americans first began getting reports of the PTK hospital being shelled when the army was barely out of Killinochchi over 30 kilometers away. The US State Department report begins its section on “Harms to civilians and civilian objects” with a report of “heavy shelling” of the PTK hospital on January 2, 2009 which killed an unspecified number of civilians. On January 12, the PTK hospital was allegedly shelled again, injuring two patients. The next day, January 13 it was hit again killing one patient and injuring six others. Patients fled to take shelter from the shelling. On January 28, there had been heavy shelling within one kilometer of the PTK hospital where at least 21 people had been killed.

    The Puthukudiirippu hospital was not a major hospital with huge buildings like the Kandy or Jaffna base hospitals and these reported attacks alone should have been enough to completely flatten it and to make the staff and patients all flee into the jungles and refuse to come back. Because of these reported attacks, the Americans had taken satellite images of the PTK hospital on January 28, 2009, and to their surprise, the hospital “did not show visible signs of damage and appeared to be functioning”! What was remarkable is that despite repeated attacks of a magnitude that would have sent even the police or army scuttling into the jungles, the PTK hospital continued to function.

    The American report continues: On February 1 the PTK hospital was shelled again just before midnight, and nine patients were killed and 15 seriously injured. Multi-barrel rocket attacks had been observed within 100 meters of the PTK hospital. On February 2 the PTK hospital was shelled again and the shelling continued for 14-16 hours. The hospital had sustained three direct hits in less than eight hours. Around nine people had been killed and 20 injured. The next day, the hospital was hit yet again destroying the operating theatre. The panel report says accusingly on page 26 that two international ICRC staff were on the scene when the PTK hospital was shelled on February 4.

    Two paragraphs down on the same page, they admit that “the LTTE had fired mobile artillery from the vicinity of the hospital but did not use the hospital for military purposes until after it was evacuated”. What happened is clear to anyone who knows the LTTE. Firing at the army brings retaliatory fire and when that is done in the presence of the ICRC officials there is authenticity given to their propaganda. According to Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions, even a hospital loses immunity from attack if used for an offensive purpose and it is hardly surprising if the LTTE fire was returned.

    What the UN heard

    Both elements of the LTTE’s standard operating procedure are visible in this instance. Up to January 28 there were four reports of attacks on the hospital, but the Americans could see no damage or disruption and neither the patients nor the staff had fled, obviously because the reported attacks were nothing but LTTE propaganda. According to both the US State Department report and the panel report, on January 29, the ICRC and UN evacuated the PTK hospital bringing 226 civilian patients with their family members to Vavuniya in a convoy of ambulances and buses. By this time, the Army had been on the verge of taking PTK town. After this evacuation, the hospital should have been closed.

    But as the panel itself admits on page 26 of their report, LTTE cadres too were treated at the PTK hospital and these cadres were not allowed to go to Vavuniya with the civilian patients. After the civilian patients were evacuated, this became an LTTE hospital from January 29 onwards. The US State Department report says that on February 1 the LTTE had fired at the army from near the hospital. It was only on February 4 that the hospital was finally evacuated and the remaining (obviously LTTE patients) and captive staff taken to Puthumathalan on the coast.

    After the evacuation of the PTK hospital, the panel says that a hospital had been functioning in Puthumathalan, a small clinic at Valayanmadam and another hospital at Mullivaikkal all within the second no fire zone along the coast. (Page 30) If these three were civilian hospitals, the report is completely silent on where injured LTTE cadres were treated. Civilian patients under LTTE control were regularly evacuated by the ICRC. According to the report itself, between February 10 and May 18, 2009, the ICRC removed over 14,000 civilian patients by ship from Puthumatalan and Vellamullivaikkal. Once again, LTTE casualties were not allowed to leave. The report does not say anywhere that there was a backlog of civilian patients that they could not remove. It says that the last three hospitals in the no fire zone were shelled, but without any independent information source which can vouch for the authenticity of the claim.

    The report says on page 27 that the LTTE positioned their artillery among IDPs without specifying whether they located any near the hospitals as well. If they did, retaliatory fire has to be expected under Protocol II of the Generva Conventions. A curious fact that one notices in all the Western reports that have come out so far, the European Commission’s Interim Report of August 19, 2009, their Final Report of October 19, 2009, the US State Department report of October 2009, the International Crisis Group Report of May 2010, and now the Ban Ki-moon panel report, is that you never come across any report of an LTTE target being attacked by the army. No observer reporting on the war to the outside world, has ever seen any LTTE injured or any LTTE dead bodies. Reading these accounts, gives one the impression that the Sri Lankan government was fighting Tamil civilians and not the LTTE.

    The US State Department report of October 2009, has 217 reports of “Harms to civilians and civilian objects” by both the government and the LTTE. Of this, 45 are violations ascribed to the LTTE. The remaining 172, fall into the government’s account. Of this, no less than 40 are direct attacks on hospitals (23% of the total). The LTTE’s control over information going out of the areas under their control was almost water-tight. The US State Department report has around 45 incidents of causing harm to civilians ascribed to the LTTE. However this does not mean that there was a free flow of information from LTTE areas and that people were free to complain about the LTTE to outsiders. Most of those negative reports about the LTTE had gone to the Americans through civilians who had just escaped from LTTE control. On close examination of the US State Department report, only one adverse report on the LTTE seems to have actually originated from within their territory. In contrast, almost all the reports of attacks on hospitals and other civilian targets by the army, had originated from LTTE areas.

    In 2002, the US Defence Department prepared a top secret assessment of both parties to the war in Sri Lanka at the invitation of the Ranil Wickremesinghe government. Excerpts from this report which was issued by Peter Rodman of the US Defence Dept, was published in The Island in 2007. This is what the US Defence Dept said in that report, about the LTTE’s propagandizing:

    “Prabhakaran uses deception as an intergral part of his modus operandi… Deceptive guidelines are given to LTTE cadres on how best to answer questions posed by the public and the media. Carefully worded guidelines are even provided to the Tamil diaspora over the internet on how best to respond to questions on the conflict posed by non-Sri Lankans. These guidelines are designed to portray LTTE cadres as freedom fighters pitted against a hostile and ruthless government.”

    This is why Western governments and international bodies like the UN have been hearing only about civilians and hospitals from their informants and almost nothing about the war between the SL armed forces and the LTTE. Except for the ‘UN hub’ incident discussed above and one ICRC report on shells falling into the Puthukudiirippu hospital following LTTE fire from the vicinity, all other information regarding attacks on civilians and hospitals in the Ban Ki-moon report has been obtained from LTTE controlled sources. This seriously compromises the integrity of the report.

    Courtesy: The Sunday Island

  • Bundoora

    With regards to this Ban’s report, there are few questions need to be answered by some one.

    1) Why did SL leak the portion of the report to pro government newspaper. Island?
    2) Why did the president say “I’m willing to go the electric chair with a smile for the sake of motherland?”
    3) At the same time Why did the president call for mass demonstrations on May Day

    this is not a UN report , this report is for Ban’s consumption, if this report needs to go further , it has to go UNSC , Russia has already stated they will block (remember Russia had US $ 300 million worth of arms deal with SL in 2010 , Chechnya war crimes ) this at the UNSC and china will follow suit (geo political interests and enormous investment in SL i.e Hambanthota, Shangri la etc ), our president claims zero casualties during the humanitarian operation and the real war hero General Sarath Fonseka claims he will bear all the responsibilities what has happened during the war, on top of this Mr Ranil Wickramasinghe did not sign the Rome statute , hence no one can be taken to Hague for war crimes. say it did go to to UNSC , still it needs an investigation , which might takes good few years to come to conclusion, after that only they could call for a hearing in Hague, I’m puzzled and amazed of this sudden turn of events taking place in SL ,
    can any one dismiss , this is not a another political gimmick to hood wink the masses for a very long time ,just to keep away away from the real burning issues like cost of living, recent price hikes gas, petrol, flour, bus fares etc .if one takes in to the considerations of so many distractions created by MR to dupe the gullible sri lankan earlier occasions i.e the war , IIFA, Hambanthota port saga , opening of power plants for public , world cup cricket etc..

  • Santosh

    I think, China will not support the alledged the Rajapaka Repressive Regime !!

    Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Ambassador did want to attend the Sri Lanka Minister Peiris briefing on UN report even though all Ambassadors of all diplomatic missions in Colombo (except Chinese envoy) attended the briefing

    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=33853

    Why Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Ambassador did want to attend the Sri Lanka Minister Peiris briefing on UN report ?

    Is this the case that the ras abandon Sri Lanka sinking ship in a hurry … 🙂

    May be China is getting tired of Rajapaksa’s lies and broken promises , Rajapaksa Repressive Regime catastrophic proportion corruption, abysmal overspending and waste of public funds on military, his stooges, luxurious lifestyle for his family ??

    • the way of the Dodo

      alas, santhosh you maybe wrong. Sri lanka is important for the Chinese master plan of world domination. they need a stable sri lanka. to understand this you need look at how african oil is going to get from that continent to china.

  • huck

    Accountability needs to start at home and thats the simple truth.people in SL have no problem if their soldiers are brought before a tribunal if the charges are proved.but two problems: SL will and should NOT allow its soldiers to be hauled before a tribunal as long as US,NATO and various other troops within western nations walk free after substantial evidence of war crimes.most of the evidence against such troops in the US,NATO etc are concrete compared to the flimsy ones brought out in this panel.Our soldiers are safe because we all know the US has no intention of doing this.neither can they force us to do such a thing because the world order is changing.China,Russia has too much of a stake in SL to allow any meddling in the country by the US OR ANYONE ELSE.We as srilankans need to identify the importance of accountability too.it is not right to completely ignore the allegations and sweep them under the carpet.we as a nation should punish the wrongdoers rather than allow external forces to meddle.A fat ask i know!!