An elephantine gestation: UN Panel’s report on accountability in Sri Lanka released

Leaked versions of the UN Panel’s report found their way into The Island newspaper, where over the past week, Groundviews has contextualised the content that was published in print. Today, the Hindustan Times published an article based on the full version of the report, based on a leaked version of the full report the paper had acquired. Interestingly, the unimaginable horror highlighted in the HT’s report (body parts of babies on tree tops after shelling by the Army) is not content that was published in The Island.

The UN had earlier expressed its deep regret over the leak to mainstream print media in Sri Lanka. Accusations between Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s envoy to the UN in New York and UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq over who is responsible for the leak have been traded.

The constitution of the Secretary General’s panel and its mandate was announced in June 2010. As noted on the UN website,

“The Secretary-General has appointed a Panel of Experts that will advise him on the issue of accountability with regard to any alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka. Its members are: Marzuki Darusman ( Indonesia), Chair; Yasmin Sooka ( South Africa); and Steven Ratner ( United States).

The Panel will advise the Secretary-General on the implementation of the commitment on human rights accountability made in the Joint Statement issued by President [Mahinda] Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka and the Secretary-General during the latter’s visit to Sri Lanka in May 2009. It will look into the modalities, applicable international standards and comparative experience with regard to accountability processes, taking into account the nature and scope of any alleged violations in Sri Lanka. It will be available as a resource to Sri Lankan authorities should they wish to avail themselves of its expertise in implementing the commitment.”

There was some concern that the ostensibly on-going discussions between the Foreign Minister and the UN Secretary General would delay indefinitely the public release of the report. However, despite strong calls from Sri Lanka to not release it (and strangely, Oman), the UN went ahead and published it today.

The official version of the report, released today around 5.45pm New York time, can be read in full below. The UN Secretary General’s statement on the official release of the report can be read here and is reproduced below as well.

Download it directly here (~9.2Mb).

Pertinent to recall in light of this report is the investigation commissioned by the erstwhile Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Mr. Philip Alston, in relation to the authenticity of the “Channel 4 videotape”, showing the execution of unarmed persons by the Sri Lankan Army. However, the authenticity of this video, also referred to in the report of the UN SG’s Panel of Experts, continues to be vehemently denied by the Sri Lankan government. Alston’s official report to the UN on the video and its appendix can be read below.

  • xy

    Thank you for putting this up. Now at least people will have the ability to look at this material before making hurried judgments as before.

  • TT

    This one sided report has no legal force. It should be disregarded.

    If UN agencies’ work is disrupted it is people in the north and the east who will suffer. But if the UN uses them to collect what they call “evidence” GOSL must ban UN agencies from functioning in selective areas. Most Sri Lankans don’t gain anything from these agencies and they lose nothing!

    On a personal note, I think it is good for those Tamils who believe there were war crimes in SL, to leave SL. Most SLs, the GOSL and its armed forces are not convinced they did anything wrong. We will do just the same again. It is the right thing by the 20 million people. They need not suffer just because a few tens of thousands want to fight for Tamil Elam. This is a fact. Military camps in the north are not going anywhere. Paramilitants are not going anywhere either. They are here to stay. This report creeps mistrust, disrespect and antagonism between these groups. It cannot be reversed now. Those who have war crimes beliefs in mind and continue to live in SL will become mental slaves – cannot do what their conscience tells them. That will breed an unhealthy, meekly population, especially in the north that can be manipulated by politicians. The longer it goes, the worse it becomes.

    The reconciliation process will have to restart again from gear #1 and I doubt the people and the government of SL have the heart to do it. They have better things to do that are productive not going waste at the drop of a report. After all reconciliation does not benefit the winners; it benefits the losers. The winners genuinely attempted reconciliation and now it has been reversed. They have nothing to lose by not restarting it again. Meanwhile the dignity of the losers has once again fallen and it may not be restored. At least there is no reward for the winners (those who are triumphant) to do so.

    • Zorro

      @ TT,
      this report could not have been otherwise, because GoSL and the most nationalist did not want to have an impartial report by not allowing a fair investigation in Sri Lanka. And it seems you would not want to accept the fact that not all the Tamils are Elamists and the GoSL has no right to discriminate every Tamil for his ethnic identity. And you accept the presence of illegal paramilitary forces and eventual war crimes as legitimate? Reconciliation is not the alms of the GoSL and the “good hearted” It is the duty (moral) of the govt. to its citizens and the right of these people to expect it because they suffered the war. The world helped the SL nation after the Tsunami because it is not their duty to help but their moral pledge to help the weak. I hope for you that this acceptance of mistreatment would not backfire against the patriotic nationalistic fronts; You accept every evil done against the Tamils by a racist regime and even defend anything they do or say because your hate is such enormous against the Tamils. I think you are more a racist than most of the war mongers in both sides, because you can disguise yourself better in your words. The world is not just black or white. And you don’t want the report to be published, then tell me are you scared to [Edited out] because of a “one sided report which has no legal force”?

      • TT

        Zoro,

        Whatever the reasons are it IS one sided.

        Re: racism

        There is no worse racism than,

        1. howling about TAMIL (only) gravenesses.

        2. demanding
        2.1 Tamil only aspirations
        2.2 Tamil only homelands
        2.3 Tamil only self determination
        2.4 Tamil only sovereignty
        2.5 Tamil only nationality

        3. voting for Tamil only political parties since 1947 till now. Just take a look at their names to see for yourself how unashamedly they didn’t even care to hide their racism.

        4. creating Tamil only district after district by genociding Sinhalese and Muslims in Jaffna, Mulaitivu, etc.

        5. severely protesting people of other races settling in areas Tamil Elamists call “Tamil (only) homelands and calling it Sinhala colonization!

        The good thing is these racists due to the very fact of them being racists (racially excluding themselves from others) have dug their own grave! May be its evolution. Only multiethnic societies can survive in this world. Except Tamil Elamists, all other ethnic communities in SL LOVE to live in multiethnic societies as their CAPITAL CITY (Colombo) shows! :)

        The beauty is the Tamil Diaspora which is at the forefront of Tamil racism is not surviving as a Tamil seperate community EVEN when it is forced to live in multiethnic societies.

        LTTE having killed almost all free thinking Tamil leaders dragged hundreds of thousands of Tamils to grave along with it. MOST of them were saved by SLA but not all.

        Please don’t turn back and look. Please don’t blame Tamil race centred politics since 1923. Please don’t see anything wrong of the LTTE. Please don’t correct anything of the Tamil Elamist community. Because if you do, that stops this glorious momentum.

        Only the dead have seen Tamil Elam!

      • Burning_Issue

        TT,

        What exactly is one-sided in the report? Please elaborate rather than dismissing it out rightly. You must pinpoint exactly what is one-sided in your opinion!

      • Thambi

        It’s one-sided because only Tamil diaspora organizations contributed to it. No actual input from Sri Lanka went into it. Yes, this is the fault of Rajapakse’s paranoia and refusal to work with the UN but this doesn’t change the fact it’s one-sided.

      • TT

        BI,

        Thambi is right.

        1. “Evidence” was provided ONLY by Tamil Elamists as GOSL flatly refused to co-operate with the panel.

        The panel has no right to punish the government for non-cooperation!

        2. The panel was not given evidence of the context as someone pointed out. Attacking NFZ/hospitals takes a whole different aspect when you put that into the right context.

        If a hospital is attacked when it was used for military purposes, it is OK.

        If the LTTE moved weapons into the NFZ which it did, it is OK to attack it.

        3. Panel’s INTENSE interactions with the Tamil diaspora had an unseen outcome! The panel got a first hand account of how racist the Tamil Diaspora is! :) Read points 417 to 420.

      • Burning_Issue

        If this report is regarded as one-sided, one should deem the UN Panel was one-sided. The panel collected evidences; consulted experts; satellite images were reviewed. Neither the LTTE nor the GOSL were involved despite UN’s keenness in engaging the GOSL.

        If this is one-sided as you claim, you guys are not prepared to face up to what really took place during the later stages of the war! DO you care whether 8,000, 10,000, 20,000 or 40,000 perished? What about the death certificate for these unfortunate people?

      • TT

        BI,

        The report is one sided. The panel failed to assess the context, failed to visit SL, failed to get a first hand account of ground views, failed to obtain an equal amount of “evidence” from sources other than the Tamil diaspora.

        The number in itself is not much of use. What is important to know is.

        1. the correct number with names, DOBs, birth certificates.
        2. how many of them were LTTE activists and how many were not.
        3. what was the context they died.

        These make all the difference.

        There is no numerical threshold passing which makes anything war crimes.

      • TT

        I understand this is an emotional issue for you but you must understand that bringing emotions into it PREVENTS you from looking at it objectively.

  • luxmy

    Groundviews
    Thank you and please continue your good work.
    It isn’t easy to resolve this very vicious and complex conflict. But we need to keep trying till all have justice.

  • TT

    Groundviews has done a good job in standing for a view it believes in (right or wrong). I believe in total media freedom (subject to obvious restrictions to protect morality, peace, etc.) as a means of addressing key issues from ALL sides. Of course not all views are equally important to everyone.

  • http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~lkawgw Fazli Sameer

    I believe it is more important to investigate and report on the double standards perpetrated by many developed western nations in this campaign that lasted more than 25 years and has taken almost 100,000 lives.

    It was only after 911 that these nations woke up from their slumber to fight terrorism after they were bitten by it hard and strong.

    We, the people of Sri Lanka, are fully aware of the immense sufferings we have had to undergo as a result of the LTTE campaign to create a separate state for the Tamil People in Sri Lanka. The very fact that the LTTE leadership used their own people as human shields to try and defend themselves when they were cornered is ample proof of their intentions.

    I do not run away from the basic fact that the minorities in Sri Lanka do have issues that need to be resolved with the ruling majority Sinhala Buddhist majority. However, it has to be done in a legitimate and positive manner rather than creating a killing field of madness.

    Thank God its over. Its time to move on and fix the problems at hand rather than worry about how the end was achieved.

    • Burning_Issue

      “Thank God its over. Its time to move on and fix the problems at hand rather than worry about how the end was achieved.”

      I bet that you will be saying exactly this in 5 years time; the dreaded problem will remain unfixed! Of course, all Sri Lankans suffered, but the Tamils in particular continue to suffer 2 year on end of war! There is no LTTE; there is nobody demanding; still the Sinhala Buddhists are not ready to embrace magnanimity!

      • SD

        Dear Burning Issue,

        TT is not a Buddhist.

      • TT

        SD,

        What do I got to do with this?

      • TT

        Lets fix problems affecting EVERYONE first.

        e.g. poverty, landlessness, corruption, bad governance, climate change, high cost of living, low GDP per capita, lack of development, political violence, lack of media freedom, HUGE political structures, outside inteference (e.g. 13 amendment), lack of hospital beds, lack of university opportunities, lack of good roads, no electricity/clean water to 100% of households, etc.

        Problems faced by just 12% of the population can and MUST wait.

        Resolving everyone’s problems will make it easier to solve the problems of the 12%.

        Problems of the Tamil Diaspora need not be addressed. They are irrelevant to SL.

  • Zorro

    @TT,
    i have heard you sing the same song in many forums. I am not defending the atrocities of the LTTE and I condemn the LTTE and its blind supporters. They are/were wrong, brutal and definitely not representing all Tamils. They even robbed the chance for a peaceful solution for the Tamils. But have you ever reflected that the racism in Sri Lanka could have either been institutionalized by the major political parties like UNP, SLFP and JVP (recently). And please don’t tell the racism begins at the initiative of Tamil politicians and the Sinhalese were just reacting to the racism calls of Tamils. This story of yours I have heard a lots of time, and you want to colonize north and east, then why not colonize the whole SL to have a homogeneous mixture, and you would say there won’t be any pogroms against Tamils organized by the state and the monks helping the mobs like in the past 1958, 1983 etc. You mentioned many times, that LTTE was carrying out ethnic cleansing (of course they did), then I ask you why there were Sinhalese regimes working together with them at the cost of their citizens? and why still Karuna, Daya master and KP are such important figures for the present GoSL, at the same time small fishes are vanishing from the face of the earth? Ethnic identity is a necessacity and and a good thing. But assimilation and suppression are definitely no civilized methods.
    You are such definitive to assume there were no war crimes on the part of the govt. forces. How come that you know that so sure? I have asked you this questions earlier too, but no answer from you. You like to believe it to apeace your appease your mind, don’t you.
    Today in the DM there is a news about Chanel4 footage on the war crimes in SL. http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/11069-channel-4-to-air-horrific-lanka-footage.html and the funniest thing in the news item is, that by the last transmission of a such footage by chanel4 “The Sri Lankan government attempted to discredit the video and complained to Ofcom, while trying to keep its identity as the complainant from being disclosed” Why trying to hide the identity? have anything to hide? Tell me why not allow an international body to prove the innocence of the security forces, why are you so hell bent on refusing it? Please dont come up with the sovereignty of SL, by allowing you prove that you preserve the sovereignty of Sri Lanka. I noticed that you have written “howling” it shows that you have no intention in a civilized discussion at all, you assume like always that your position is unquestionable and impeccable and different opinions should be wrong.

    • sabbe laban

      “….then I ask you why there were Sinhalese regimes working together with them at the cost of their citizens? and why still Karuna, Daya master and KP are such important figures for the present GoSL, at the same time small fishes are vanishing from the face of the earth?”

      Zorro,

      Those people you mention renounced terrorism. Prabhakaran COULD HAVE done the same when the opportunity arose!

      “SMALL FISHES…”? Prabha and all his high rankers were not ‘small fish’! They are “big fish!”

      Channel-4 can show anything, and the closet Tigers of Tamil Eelam would be happy about it. But that won’t even ruffle a hair in Sri Lanka!

    • TT

      Zoro,

      It is not the LTTE but “T” political parties are at the root of this.

      Obviously you cannot, have not and would not be able to, refute my FACTUAL statements. That is the truth.

      Repetition does not make them weak.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Zoro,

      “Tell me why not allow an international body to prove the innocence of the security forces,” from your post of April 26, 2011 • 8:30 pm

      There has been countless wars waged all over the world. Some were justified and some were not. Sometimes the aggressor was from the East and at other times from the West.

      In all these wars, innocents had suffered. Are we to assume that in all these wars Human Rights were not a casualty and that war crimes were not committed?

      Human Rights were denied, abused and war crimes committed in the case of the Carpet Fire Bombing of Germany, dropping not one but TWO Atomic bombs on Japan, Attacks on Iraq, Attacks by Israel on the Palestinians and on Lebanon, Drone attacks on Pakistan border towns, War in Afghanistan etc etc.

      Were BABIES spared in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
      Were BABIES spared in German Cities?
      Were Babies spared in Iraq?
      Were Babies spared in Lebanon and Palestine?
      Were Babies spared in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

      In Nagasaki and Hiroshima HUMANS irrespective of age were VAPOURISED.
      Those that lived just after the bomb were walking around with their skin hanging off their bodies like tattered clothing. Those who had visited the Museums in those cities would have seen the pictures of the horror that was Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the Nuclear attack. This was the WORST WAR CRIME EVER in Human History.

      Ever seen any Graphic descriptions of Baby deaths by any UN report after the Iraq War? Was there any UN or Independent Investigation of Guantanamo, Abu Gharib, Deigo Garcia, Lebonan, Mai Lai for War Crimes?

      The UK and the USA were drumming up WMD as an excuse for attacking Iraq. Wiki Leaks have publicised the UK Govts involvement, in obtaining for BP, lucrative Iraq Oil deals after the war. There was no WMD so why was there a war? Why did BABIES had to end up dismembered by Cruise Missiles? Does anyone think that a cruise missile had built in intelligence to spare the babies? Where would you think such body parts would end up after a shell explodes? Probably in Iraq the trees were spared from receiving baby body parts.

      I would welcome Independent War Crimes Investigations PROVIDED the Scales of Justice are held even and EVERYONE is held accountable and equal before the law.

      I don’t believe ANY COUNTRY should subjugate itself to ANYONE or ANY other Country, hell bent on Bending Rules and exempting themselves from any law that they want imposed on others.

      If there is an International Law that Law should be the same for ALL.

      Now can you tell us why the World is afraid to do what they are asking Sri Lanka to do?

      Now if you cannot show us that what the World is asking of Sri Lanka has been UNIVERSALY applied, you have answered your own question.

      • yapa

        Dear Off the Cuff;

        I think the same expert panel can look into the human rights and international law violations taken place in the LAST PHASE OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those who are interested in LAST PHASES can make a request, to justify their demand for war crime investigations.

        This demand is not about investigating war crimes or any other crimes in general, but about investigating whatever the others do that are not withing the agenda of the world powers.

        Justice and fairness has become a legacy of a section of the world. They are to make laws and others to follow.

        (What a world is this Marisipala?)

        Thanks!

  • Pareadiselost

    the daily mirror link about Chanel 4 has been blocked after 3 hours of its appearing; by whom???? however available under http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/apr/26/channel-4-sri-lanka-footage

  • TT

    There are many from the Tamil diaspora here.

    They must read what the UN report says about THEM.

    In short, they are guilty of LTTE war crimes by providing it with material support, etc. Their extremism is a reason for violence. They MUST accept a COMMON HOMELAND of Tamils and others in SL. It is funny how the Tamils of the Diaspora here have missed these! :)

    On the other hand, the UN report does not say ANYTHING wrong about the other SL diasporas abroad! :)

    Even the biased panel didn’t miss the OBVIOUSNESS of these accomplices in LTTE war crimes and Tamil racism. Tamil is only a race and never a nation. SO it is Tamil racism and not Tamil nationalism. Same goes for Sinhala racism and not Sinhala nationalism if it is referred anywhere.

    Page 114 of the UN Report.

    “E. The Tamil diaspora
    417. It is to be expected that the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, large parts of which provided vital moral and material support to the LTTE over decades, continues to harbour grievances about the plight of Tamils and to protest the actions of the Government during the last stages of the conflict. However, significant elements of the diaspora create a further obstacle to sustainable peace when they fail to acknowledge rights violations committed by the LTTE and its role in the humanitarian disaster in the Vanni.

    418. During the last stages of the war, many in the diaspora remained silent in the face of numerous LTTE violations, including holding tens of thousands of Tamils hostage in theVanni, using violence to prevent their escape and forcibly recruiting children into their ranks. At the end, parts of the diaspora appeared more concerned about preserving the political State of “Tamil Eelam” than about the suffering of the civilian population trapped between two fighting forces.

    419. The LTTE engaged in mafia style tactics abroad, especially among expatriate Tamil communities, to generate funds for their cause. Significant parts of the Tamil diaspora, who were supportive of the LTTE, played an instrumental role in fuelling the conflict in this way. It is reported that former front organizations for the LTTE continue to operate through private businesses and to control some of the temple incomes. Activities of these organizations should be monitored. In addition, funds acquired by the LTTE from the diaspora and elsewhere, and which still exist, should be secured for the purpose of making reparations to those in the Sri Lankan Tamil community who were victims in the conflict.

    420. Members of the Tamil diaspora, through their unconditional support of the LTTE and their extreme Tamil nationalism, have effectively promoted divisions within the Sri Lankan Tamil community and, ironically, reinforced Sinhalese nationalism. A stable future in Sri Lanka demands that all of its ethnic communities, including those living abroad, recognizeand respect the rights and interests of others with whom they share a common homeland. The diaspora, which is large, well educated and has considerable resources, has the potential to play a far more constructive role in Sri Lanka’s future.”

    • Zorro

      I am amused to see that readers like TT accept certain parts of the panel report selectively as relevant and not biased or flawed. And I believe they would not deny that the LTTE did and should be accused of war crimes, and of course the Tamil diaspora too for blindly supporting the course of LTTE, for whatever reasons they are intended to. Of course these elements should be kept responsible for the suffering and harm done to the uninvolved civil population in Sri Lanka. But how can then only the part of the report blaming GoSL be marked as biased or flawed. I do not see any logical reason behind this selective believe of yours. And however that the GoSL was denying to make their point to the panel does not mean that they are free of any guilt or liability. And then it is not the fault of the panel to make this report with the evidence they have, it is the paranoia of GoSL to blame, that we have this results today.
      @TT, you are claiming repeatedly that there were no war crimes committed from the security forces, now the report says a different story, it is for you to prove that these allegations are wrong and stop blaming everybody for believing what is out and published, or discard the report and make no comments on it. And because you repeat the same story even millions of time does not necessarily mean that what you assume or believe is the truth! “Repetition does not make them weak”. Repetition does not make them true either! You have evidence then come out with them.
      I ask you again what is wrong there in letting a neutral and international body make an objective investigation with regard to the claims made in this report, to make the facts visible. Or are you scared that you may confront a different truth than what you want to believe? Or are you saying that the whole world is manipulated by the Tamil diaspora / LTTE to conspirate against Sri Lanka. Your or the GoSL paranoiac stance does not make the situation any better, please accept it.

      you say “that the problem of 12% of the SL population can and must wait” and at the same time you claims that the Tamils in Sri Lanka have equal rights in Sri Lanka, then why should they wait, they can take forward the problems with equal priority as they were any part of the population in Sri Lanka. Equal rights does not bound to the number or percentage of the population. If a harm done to a single citizen is not less than a harm to the general public, at least the law guarantees this right, and whoever it is. Killing of a Sinhalese is not more serious crime than killing of a Tamil, equality. What you say would again mean killing one person is not serious than killing two persons, under consideration of law this statement has no value. JR was making a statement like this earlier similar to …. he cant look after the problems of Tamils because he should convince the Sinhalese…. This is racism and no equal rights. And you say only the Tamils are racist? And even you dare to say it is right to stop reconciliation if the UN panel report should be published? this is racism and trying to find a scape goat for your faults.
      And to your blame of “T” in Tamils affairs there is no racial significance in the name as you prefer to claim. Does it mean introducing “sri” in the car number plates a nation wide racial act? should be according to your definition. In this regard you had lots of discussions with others in a previous thread (vaddukottai resolution and so on). And for my question of making a homogeneous population in whole SL and giving to guarantee for minorities against majority assaults or pogroms like in 1958 or 1983 you avoid saying anything. How come that you see the misshapes in the majority community with greater concern than the misshapes in the minority communities; isn’t it favoritism and racism? I don’t believe in your claim that you are a democrat! Have you heard the proverb, awaking a sleeping person is possible but someone pretending to sleep is not possible!

      • TT

        Zoro,

        I’m amused that why the Tamil Diaspora that accepts ALL parts of the report deliberately don’t accept and correct what the report says about them!

        Has the report made similar comments about other SL Diasporas? No.

        Looks like the panel obtained their “evidence” from the Tamil Diaspora and in the process got to know its true nature.

        Meanwhile Tamil Diaspora’s Propaganda Contractor Francis Boyle attacks BKM for discrediting the Tamil Diaspora. The bottom-line is both SL and remnants of the LTTE reject the report.

      • wijayapala

        Zorro,

        And I believe they would not deny that the LTTE did and should be accused of war crimes, and of course the Tamil diaspora too for blindly supporting the course of LTTE, for whatever reasons they are intended to.

        Did the report suggest any form of “accountability” for those in the diaspora who had supported the LTTE?

  • Chandra Goonewardene

    There should be a wider debate on the ethics of the private media. Today’s Daily Mirror publishes a fawning editorial alongside an article by JHU Minister Udaya Gammanpila containing factually false comments about the ‘credentials’ of the three Advisory panel members.

    I am a patriotic Sri Lankan, a former public servant and I was sent the actual biodatas of the three Advisory Panel members by my brother. I extract them below for the readers of Groundviews.

    Gammanpila is entitled to his views. But why should the Daily Mirror uncitically agree with them editorially is beyond me. Does the DM have a particular bias towards the JHU?

    We should constructively engage with these individuals and not abuse them falsely.

    Chandra Goonewardene,
    Dehiwala

    Marzuki Darusman Attorney General
    Indonesia
    Marzuki Darusman had a privileged upbringing. The son of an Indonesian diplomat, Darusman spent his formative years in Europe, where he acquired a taste for the more equitable social norms of the West. Whenever he returned home to the impoverished island of Java, the extreme class and economic differences made Darusman feel awkward in social situations with other Indonesians. ”Creating a level playing field,” recalls Darusman, ”was an elemental obsession.”

    Now he is getting his chance to bridge the gap–and risking his life to do it. Appointed Attorney General last November, Darusman, 55, is prosecuting cases that symbolize the inequities of Indonesian society. Corruption, mass murder, and human rights abuses during the three-decade rule of former President Suharto are all on the agenda. Indonesia is now trying to hold accountable a privileged class that exploited the vulnerable. ”This is a push to create a situation where there is at least a sense of decency and rightness,” Darusman says.

    His caseload is a wide-ranging corruption investigation of Suharto, his family, and his cronies. The case had been closed in mid-1999 by Darusman’s predecessor under pressure from army generals loyal to Suharto. After their leader, General Wiranto, was taken off active duty by President Abdurrahman Wahid soon after his election, Darusman reopened the case. Then he took the unprecedented step of placing Suharto under ”city arrest” and putting his closest business associate, Mohamad ”Bob” Hasan, behind bars to keep him from tampering with evidence. Prosecutors are studying the records of several ”charitable foundations” that were chaired by Suharto and run by Hasan.

    Darusman also is prosecuting Wiranto, the former armed forces commander, for crimes against humanity in East Timor. The Wiranto case is based on eyewitness reports that his troops carried out a scorched-earth and mass-murder campaign in the former Portuguese territory last September. The case gave President Wahid the ammunition to boot Wiranto from his powerful cabinet post. It also paved the way for Darusman to convict several Wiranto subordinates for human rights violations in the gas-rich province of Aceh.

    Still, Darusman is reluctant to go too far. ”We’ll have to stop at the point where the public feels that we’ve settled the scores of the past and not go beyond the point where it would start a witch-hunt,” he says. Darusman says he’ll throw the book at Suharto and leave clemency ”in the domain of politics.” Indeed, Wahid has said he would pardon Suharto if the former President is convicted of corruption–and if he turns over $25 billion of his alleged fortune to the state.

    INSIDE TRACK. Flanked constantly by bodyguards, Darusman is the third-most-heavily guarded Indonesian government official, after Wahid and Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Every day, Darusman’s security men change his schedule to confuse would-be assassins. But he’s not about to back down. He sees his current job as the challenge he has been preparing for since he went into politics in the 1970s. Convinced that the only way to make a difference is from within the system, Darusman spent 15 years as a member of Parliament for the ruling Golkar party, representing Bandung, West Java, where he graduated from law school. Then he served on the National Human Rights Commission for seven years, investigating complaints against the army of kidnapping, mass murder, and gang rape.

    A driving ambition also plays a major part in his character. In 1992, he told an Indonesian magazine that ”any self-respecting politician would want to become President.” In Suharto’s Indonesia, such a phrase was tantamount to submitting one’s candidacy. Golkar immediately struck his name from the list of the party’s candidates in the 1992 election. Today, Darusman insists that he does ”not really” covet the presidency.

    He proved his leadership qualities months before he became Attorney General. When Golkar was torn apart last year by a rift between Suharto loyalists and reformists, Darusman led an internal coup and put himself in charge of a pivotal committee to remake the party. He helped galvanize support for Wahid, a tolerant Islamic cleric from outside the party, as a presidential candidate. ”I’m not fighting against the system. I’m trying to modify it,” he says. So far, Darusman has what it takes to do that.

    Yasmin Sooka
    Ms. Sooka joined the Foundation for Human Rights in 2001 and serves as its Executive Director. She practised as a human rights lawyer during the apartheid era. In 1995, she was appointed as a Commissioner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and was responsible for the final report.

    From 1998-2001, she was also an acting Judge of the Witwatersrand High Court. She is widely regarded as an expert on transitional justice and has been a consultant to a number of governments, commissions and civil society organisations. She was appointed by the United Nations to the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    BIO DATA ON THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW WEBSITE
    Steven R. Ratner, the Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law, came to the University of Michigan Law School in 2004 from the University of Texas School of Law. His teaching and research focuses on public international law and on a range of challenges facing governments and international institutions since the Cold War, including ethnic conflict, border disputes, counter-terrorism strategies, corporate and state duties regarding foreign investment, and accountability for human rights violations. Professor Ratner has written and lectured extensively on the law of war, and is also interested in the intersection of international law and moral philosophy and other theoretical issues. In 1998-99, he was appointed by the UN Secretary-General to a three-person group of experts to consider options for bringing the Khmer Rouge to justice, and he has since advised governments, NGOs, and international organizations on a range of international law issues. In 2008-09, he served in the legal division of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. A member of the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law from 1998-2008, he began his legal career as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. State Department. Professor Ratner holds a J.D. from Yale, an M.A. (diplôme) from the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales (Geneva), and an A.B. from Princeton. He established and directs the Law School’s externship program in Geneva.

  • Zorro

    @TT and Wijayapala,

    in my last comment I do blame the support of the Tamil diaspora to the terrorists and would support to make them responsible for the war mongering. TT you try deliberately to over see this fact and you were counting down the blaming on the LTTE and Diaspora and at the same time refusing the rest of the report. And I don’t. IF other “SL Diaspora” is not mentioned in the report, may be they are highly satisfied with their situation, doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that there were elements in SL who were supporting the discrimination and killing under the guise of patriotism. And you still don’t answer my question of evidences against the accusations, where are they, put them forward!
    @Wijayapal, I would not reject to see the TNA and other cohorts of LTTE including Karuna, KP and all others and the new leaders of war mongers in both societies drag to justice, and this can be done if GoSL is ready to charge them with war crimes, for that, first they have to answer the charges now directed against them. By collectively rejecting and amassing the south under false pretensions to demonstrate against the report without telling the facts would result in every culprit get scot-free. By a total rejection of the report to save the current leaders of SL, this is the intention of the GoSL, we admit that the LTTE and the diaspora too get out of any charges. This is blind-patriotism, and not based on morality.

    • wijayapala

      Dear Zorro,

      By a total rejection of the report to save the current leaders of SL, this is the intention of the GoSL, we admit that the LTTE and the diaspora too get out of any charges.

      The LTTE will get out of any charges anyway because its leaders are all dead.

      As for the LTTE elements in the diaspora, do you really believe that even if Mahinda opens up the entire country, armed forces etc to “independent” (i.e. western-led) investigations, the western countries will actually take any action against those who had funded the LTTE?

      • Burning_Issue

        Wijayapala,

        Let’s leave a side of the roles played by both the Diasporas and GOSL during the war for a minute. Two years have elapsed since the end of the war; do you believe that the MR regime has done enough to show that the Tamil Diasporas supported a wrong path? What can you point out since the end of the war that stands as testament to the one nation concept? Why is N&E still under military grip?

        The IRA was supported by the Irish Americans for centuries; has there ever been any conviction? By contract, the LTTE funding mechanism was scrutinised by various Western governments and certain personal were convicted. If there is a proof that one supported the LTTE financially, one can be still charged.

        Why should this prevent a full scale investigation of the atrocities; there are credible evidences exist that unimaginable crimes have been committed; accountability is fundamental to democracy; this is what lacking in Sri Lanka in all front. In my view, the Tamil Diaspora must accept their role unreservedly; they must accept and corporate with any inquiry fully; ultimately, they should be part of the rebuilding process.

      • TT

        BI,

        “Why is N&E still under military grip?”

        Because:
        1. Tamil racism still is alive and well in the NE. Since 1947, at almost ALL general lections, Tamil racism won in Tamil majority areas in the NE.

        2. As seen in the 1970s, it is very easy to restart an armed campaign by these racially motivated voters.

        3. There is a place called Tamil Nadu just a few kilometres away which is full of Tamil racism and the strong desire to get the Tamil nation which they once had (Tamilakam). However, getting it from India is impossible. So they channel their dream to SL. This threat is always real and must be countered militarily, NOT politically alone.

        4. The north and the east are for Sinhalese and Muslims (and Tamils too). However, the past conduct of the Tamils (not the terrorists) has not been very condusive for Sinhalese and Muslims to live in the north.

        e.g. After July 1983, Tamils in Colombo had a house (burnt though) to go back to. But Sinhalese and Muslims from the north had no their IMMOVEBAL PROPERTY ALSO stolen not by the LTTE but by the people!

        Sinhalese and Muslims are in grave danger in the north is not for the military.

        The presence of the military affects Tamils (18% of the population) and non-Tamils (82% of the population) differently. NO decision should be made disregarding the 82%.

        5. I beleive the ONLY lasting solution the socalled “ethnic problem” is to change the ethnic composition of the north. It cannot be done without large military bases at the start of the process.

        Tamils in the north MUST learn to live with the military or leave the country.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear BurningIssue,

        Hi old friend,

        Re your post of April 26, 2011 • 8:34 pm

        “I bet that you will be saying exactly this in 5 years time; the dreaded problem will remain unfixed! Of course, all Sri Lankans suffered, but the Tamils in particular continue to suffer 2 year on end of war! There is no LTTE; there is nobody demanding; still the Sinhala Buddhists are not ready to embrace magnanimity!”

        I sometimes wonder how the LTTE managed to Bankroll a war for 30 years. Of course they had their own income, what with Human smuggling, Drug trafficking, Extortion, Credit card fraud, Piracy etc to name a few. But could they have done it without the support of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora? What was the magnitude of the monetary contribution that the Diaspora gave the LTTE? Surely it was not a few thousand dollars.

        The SL Tamil Diaspora carries a great responsibility towards the Vanni Tamils who suffered under the LTTE jackboot as that suffering was bankrolled by the SL Tamil Diaspora.

        The Diaspora, by their silence at LTTE atrocities towards the Vanni people, and by their monetary support of the LTTE, are as responsible for the Child Soldiers, Death, Suffering and Destruction of the Vanni people as much as the LTTE.

        The Diaspora bankrolled the LTTE. Is it not time for the Diaspora to alleviate the suffering of the Vanni people by helping to bankroll their rehabilitation with the same vigour?

        Were the Vanni people just an expendable pawn in consolidating the Diaspora Residential status in the West?

        Else have the Diaspora Tamil Hindu’s lost their humanity towards the Vanni people?

        Is the SL Tamil Diaspora ready to Walk the Talk?

      • SD

        Dear OTC,

        I’m not sure why you are fixated on the diaspora. Burning Issue is not a part of the diaspora and in any case, we have no control over what they do and don’t do. They won’t live in this country anyway. Therefore, their hypocrisy is not relevant to the discussion, but ours is. The burning issue is what is being done to address the issue politically in Sri Lanka. The answer is zilch.

        Isn’t it about time we focused on that? Or should we wait for a shameful war-crimes probe, and maybe even a cattle-prod up our arses, before we are capable of generating anything beyond a mulish response?

        The irony of this is that Rajapakase started off the war saying that “one needs to speak to the LTTE in the only language they understand”. It appears that the LTTE is not the only group with such comprehension issues.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear SD,

        Your post of April 29, 2011 • 8:37 pm

        You say. “I’m not sure why you are fixated on the diaspora.”

        This website is a place where opinions are expressed and formed. I myself have changed my view about the Thesawalami Law after a discussion with BI on this very website and I have provided BI with a SL Supreme Court reference to be used in any future challenge by anyone about the Thesawalami.

        This site is frequented by the Diaspora who takes any opportunity to spread their views on these web pages. Spreading Hate is not conducive to reconciliation. A good example is an article authored by Ms. Marissa who I believe is a Sinhalese with a misplaced sense of responsibility. Her applauding audience was the Diaspora.

        BI raised a few questions that allows similar interpretation.

        Hence I would rather wait for his views on the points he raised without prematurely answering yours.

        I have written a reply about the war crimes probe addressed to Zorro at this link.

        http://groundviews.org/2011/04/26/an-elephantine-gestation-un-panels-report-on-accountability-in-sri-lanka-released/#comment-30887

        My views about such a probe are expressed there. You are welcome to read it and express your opinion about such a probe as you see fit.

        Although I welcome an independent probe, NO COUNTRY with any self respect can submit to a system of justice that is NOT equal by all. Then it ceases to be Justice.

        War crimes investigations MUST be carried out under a system where Each and Every Country is equal under the regime of Investigation. A Super power or a small nation like the Maldives should be treated equally, otherwise there cannot be any JUSTICE.

        Such an International Regime comes FIRST.
        Investigations comes SECOND.
        It cannot be done in REVERSE.

        My idea of JUSTICE is where each and everyone is equal before the law, whether it relates to a person or a country. I do not subscribe to the view that the King can do no wrong. What is your position?

      • Burning_Issue

        Dear Off the Cuff,

        I am very sorry for the belated response; I did not have enough time to read and digest your post to me.

        I have never defended the Tamil Diasporas anywhere. However, such a support for a course is not unprecedented. I have already mentioned about the Irish Americans; there are several examples where people leave their motherland as a result of war, division, and repression carry their wound for centuries passing down the generations. We can debate on the morality of such a situation, but it will not get us anywhere. What I say is this; GOSL is in prime position to bridge the gap rendering all divisive elements as outdated; this is my point. Are you supporting a one-nation concept with equality for all or are you supporting a Sinhala Buddhist nation that expects all the other to be sun-ordinates?

        The MR regime rushed through the 18th Amendment, but dragging it’s feet when it comes to the issues pertinent to a national reconciliation. All I expected from the MR regime to show magnanimity in victory and lead the nation with all citizens as true Sri Lankans; you cannot blame the Tamil Diasporas for this utter failure, can you?

        I know for a fact that, the vast majority of the Tamil Diasporas would respond positively to a one-nation concept. Such people do not have a voice as a result of lack of movements within the Sinhala Polity! The voice of the Tamil moderate elements must be strengthened; it can only be done by the GOSL!

      • SD

        Dear OTC,

        RE: “I myself have changed my view about the Thesawalami Law….”

        Interesting. Can you elaborate and also please provide said supreme court reference?

        RE: “This site is frequented by the Diaspora who takes any opportunity to spread their views on these web pages.”

        But the problem is, amidst the noise, there’s a point to what they say. Are we to ignore those points?

        RE: “Spreading Hate is not conducive to reconciliation.”

        Neither is denying reality. It will only show the Tamils who are living in Sri Lanka, our fellow citizens, that they are more or less on their own, because the Sinhalese show no interest in speaking up for their rights. At least the Diaspora is speaking up on their behalf.

        What is the point in pretending everything is hunky dory, when the reality is that clearly, the government is doing *nothing* to improve this situation. Burning issue is spot on, look how fast they got the 18th through when it served their interests.

        How on earth can we expect reconciliation when the problem isn’t a few hate-mongering individuals on the internet, but the complete apathy of the public at large in pressurizing the government towards initiating meaningful reforms?

        That’s the whole point behind war-crimes investigations isn’t it? If the govt. had made sincere efforts to bring about reform, would the UN have any grounds for initiating a war-crimes investigation? As it stands now, the govt. kills thousands, brazenly claims zero casualties, and then doesn’t even both with properly implementing the 13th. Is that likely to bring about reconciliation? Or would I be correct in saying it only brings about the ostensible “appeareance” of reconciliation?

        When are we going to pressurize our government and change public opinion? Or is the endless castigation of an ineffective diaspora the only hope we have towards reconciliation?

    • TT

      Zorro,

      “And you still don’t answer my question of evidences against the accusations, where are they, put them forward”

      One who asserts must prove!

      Those who present these absurd “evidence” must prove their credibility, not the other way round.

      Main thing about these “evidence” is they don’t say anything about the context. Evidence is not evidence when the context is ommitted. Shelling hospitals, NFZs or anything for that matter is acceptable when done in the context of using such installations for military purposes. Ommitting the context totally distorts it. Those who allege the shelling of hospitals, NFZs must prove beyond reasonable doubt that these were NOT used for military purposes at the time of the alleged attacks.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Burning_Issue

    Two years have elapsed since the end of the war; do you believe that the MR regime has done enough to show that the Tamil Diasporas supported a wrong path?

    By asking this question, do you actually believe that the Tamils in the Wanni had been better off over the two years prior to May 2009 under the LTTE?? With their children used as cannon fodder (while LTTE supporters in the West were sending their children for arangetram) and themselves being used as human shields to slow down the SLA?

    By contract, the LTTE funding mechanism was scrutinised by various Western governments and certain personal were convicted.

    These LTTE elements were arrested only after Tamils complained to the police how these elements were attacking and stealing from them. The pro-IRA groups in the US were never so stupid as to openly engage in violence to get money from Irish Americans.

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Groundviews (and other interested readers),

    War Crimes

    Personally, I welcome War Crime investigations and investigation of Human Right Violations and subsequent punishment of any Country or Any person so involved. This will make the World a better place and hence should receive the support of any right thinking person or a Country with morals.

    Does the World have the International Laws in place under which this could be done and Justice meted out?

    If it did, then every person and every Country should be treated equally under such an Investigative Regime.

    If it did, then no Country and no person can be exempt from this investigative regime.

    If the Laws are to be made retroactive then every Country and every Person should be held accountable without ARTIFICIAL time limitations.

    If the above conditions cannot be ensured Justice becomes perverted and prostituted.

    No Country and No person with any self respect should submit itself to such a Perverted Investigative Regime.

    I believe that Firstly a JUST regime for War Crime Investigation and Human Rights Violations should be set in place.

    Secondly, every Country without exception should submit itself to the above regime’s Jurisdiction

    Thirdly, punishment for those found guilty should be meted out with equal severity.

    Would you agree?

    If not why not?

    • Sohan Fernando

      About your list of three things: as an “ideal state of affairs” to aim at, it sounds a to me a good overall plan. Also yes I say we SHOULD keep striving towards such a setup, even though it is NEVER going to be attained, not in this World. (Keep aiming at the stars, otherwise we’ll never even reach the rooftop.)

      BUT, such a utopian setup will never be attained (due to dozens of problems, such as USA will never agree to something or the other, or China will never do something else, etc etc etc). And even if it will be, until it is attained we still DO need to go along — in the present — with whatever the “best” that we can get right now: i.e., the setup that we have today which is less or even far less than perfect:

      Consider for a moment a much smaller fish pond: Sri Lanka’s overall justice system (i.e., police, courts, government, law makers, bribe-giving-public; …everything). Surely IT doesnt meet any of the three things you listed? If a high ranking politician or some popular person in the public eye raped someone or committed some other grave crime, will such people always be brought to justice? And, will the punishment — and the entire process — be “meted out with equal severity”, equal to how it’d be if some “normal average” citizen commits the same crime? I think not?

      (quite apart from public figures; even in smaller ways, sometimes though not always isn’t there a huge amount of inequality in how things are done: maybe based on race, maybe on social/economic class, etc.?)

      So if such “equality” (and so on) is sometimes absent in our overall justice system, then are we going to say we will just refuse to let ANYONE from being dealt with by the system?

      On that excuse, some chap can commit a crime within his family or within his village, and then tell the external authorities: “you outsiders, you hypocrites, you are not meting out justice with equality, therefore I am going to do whatever I want in my family, and YOU CAN’T TOUCH ME, I won’t submit myself to such a Perverted Investigative System” ??? (and maybe he’ll turn around and, err, moon them?!)

      Hmmm, hypothetically… maybe on some May-Day some such chap’s whole “village” will listen to him make evocative speeches, watching patriotic emotions exude from his regal face and and from his emotionally quivering moustache; enraptured by his eloquence as he pledges to “protect” them all from such perverse outsiders. And the fired-up villagers maybe will then parade the streets, shouting slogans against and HITTING and punching such effigies of the various bigshots of the flawed Sri Lankan justice system?! (Aside: then maybe Banyan News will write about that?)

      And all that will be alright — because, some people may think, no “self respecting” villager should submit himself to the far from perfect Sri Lankan justice system?

      In any case, one glaring fact about reality has to be faced: yes true that the UN etc are messed up and fall far short of the original intentions behind it, BUT:

      1. it is still better than having no UN at all;

      2. the reason for such failures is not ONLY because of things such as USA (etc) being a hypocritcal blank blank whatever, and etc.; rather, it’s more a matter of human nature being what it is: i.e., whoever happens to be powerful will always do similar wrongs, so any UN, no matter who the superpowers are will soon be as messed up as today’s UN is. (Same for even an “alternate UN” if ever formed)

      So e.g., looking at selfishness and dishonesty and corruption and so on in Sri Lanka and among many Sri Lankans, just on a small individual scale, it seems likely that if Sri Lanka ever becomes a superpower and joined the permanent security council, the UN might then be in an even worse and even more biased and hypocritical state than it is today; certainly no better.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sohan Fernando,

        Are you arguing for a System of Justice where “Might is Right” ?

        Existence of Strong Arm Tactics does not mean the weaker should submit to them meekly. That will only increase such Lawlessness.

        Arguing for a Lawless UN to spite MR, is like cutting the nose to spite the face.

        For me MR is a non entity. What matters is the country’s pride.

        Any Law should be equal to All. Then ANY investigation and subsequent punishment is welcome. Not otherwise.

        That is an unalienable principal in a Democracy. The West appears to be the self appointed guardian of that.

      • Sohan Fernando

        dear OTC,

        Are you arguing for a System of Justice where “Might is Right” ?

        No.

        “might is Right” is barely relevant in this situation.

        Current international/world setup is NOT close to being a hugely distorted setup of the “Might is Right” type. (If at all, it is the situation within Sri Lanka that’s maybe far closer to a “Might is claiming to be Right” system.)

        E.g., British empire was much better example of such; or the Roman empire I suppose. Today’s setup is nowhere near as bad as those, it’s far from perfect but also far from being absolutely terrible.

        In any case, you seem to miss the point of my argument (and of loads of other commenters throughout many posts here on groundviews). I.e., just because the “Policeman” doesnt investigate or followup on some peoples’ crime, that’s no excuse for us to refuse to investigate OUR crimes.

        If a doctor refuses to give good health advice to some powerful people (because he doesn’t want them annoyed with him), but if he comes and screams at you pointing out good advice, then are you gonna refuse his advice, even if his a nasty pompous fellow? That’ll be absurd. Or if a patient who’s refusing to follow good health advice, nevertheless tells YOU this good advice, are you gonna refuse to listen to that advice and tell him “who are you to preach to me”?

        That’s what Sri Lanka is doing. Hence, we’re no better than the rest of the world, and in some cases worse.

        Of course, my argument is irrelevant to any of these Sri Lankan people who appear to have some magical ability to somehow know — without even investigation — that “no war crimes and so on ever happened here”.

        What matters is the country’s pride.
        Pride? Such a misplaced pride is a large part of the problem; Sri Lanka is putting pride before far more important things like Truth, Justice, and a bunch more.
        Pride is pathetic and useless without those other things.

      • Off the Cuff


        Dear Sohan Fernando,

        Re your post of May 4, 2011 • 2:58 pm

        “might is Right” is barely relevant in this situation.

        Oh sure you are right.

        Thats why Iraq got bombed by Stealth Bombers and cowed down by more than 725 tomahawk missiles worth at least $415 million. That was just the Tomahawks, the war would have cost $ BILLIONS. Was it to liberate the Iraqi’s or to pillage their oil wealth?

        Of course the Tomahawks spared the BABIES due to the capability of the smart bombs to identify and spare them.

        The rich and powerful ganged up on Iraq and after the war helped themselves to the spoils. Find out how the UK govt intervened, to obtain for BP, lucrative Oil deals

        Do you think the Iraq war was a JUST war?

        Might is not Right huh?

        You are right, Iraq WAS the powerful country it had WMD.

        US soldiers rape and burn under-age Arab girls in the presence of the parents in Iraq (documented) but the US govt refuses to have the perpetrators tried under the laws of the country in which the criminal atrocities were committed.

        Of course you are right they were able to invade another country and rape and murder and pillage because the US was weaker than the Iraqis.

        The US cut off access to the Hospitals in Baghdad and cut off water and electricity as well. Who cares the Iraqi’s were not Human. So how can human rights get violated?

        What happened at Abu Ghraib were not really crimes against humanity they were just playing games with the internees so what can the International Community investigate when nothing happened?

        Watch the documentary and Listen to the dialogue very carefully.
        The US soldiers have even robbed Gold and Jewellery from the Iraqi civilians.

        1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtDGWH2RCcM

        2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UekvS3n-8iY&NR=1

        http://warisacrime.org/node/43237

        War Crimes? Oh no …how can you call these War Crimes?

        How on Earth can a Super power, the self appointed policeman of Democracy and Human Rights do any of these things? These are fabrications and lies.
        So dont even suggest Independent International Inquiries.

        The type of inquiry that the UN is asking Lanka to face.
        What the hell, Lanka is from the Third world and expendable in the new world order of things.

        The Sabra and Shatila massacre took place in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon between September 16 and September 18, 1982, during the Lebanese civil war. Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were massacred in the camps by Christian Lebanese Phalangists while the camp was surrounded by the Israel Defense Force. In that period of time, Israel was at war with the PLO in Lebanon. Israeli forces occupied Beirut, dominated the refugee camps of Palestinians and controlled the entrance to the city. After the assassination of Bachir Gemayel, leader and president-elect of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, a Maronite group, also called Lebanese Forces militia group, entered the camp and murdered inhabitants during the night. The exact number of victims is disputed, from 700–800 to 3,500 (depending on the source).
        Israeli forces enabled the entrance of the angry Kataeb Party group to the refugee camps, by providing them transportation from outside Beirut and firing illuminating flares over the camps. (wiki)

        Why no International War Crime Investigation?
        Afraid of the Israelis or their protector the USA ?

        UK too excelled in Iraq and is guilty of crimes against humanity in the not too distant past.

        UK Completely wipes out the inhabitants of Deigo Garcia but of course UK is a weakling compared to the Military might of the Chagosians.

        Here is an extract from democracynow.org. I hope it will help remove the blinkers that you are wearing now.

        JUAN GONZALEZ: We turn now to another island that is a key military outpost for the United States. Located in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia has been used for—often used for strikes on Iraq and Afghanistan. The island also played a critical role in the US extraordinary rendition program.
        The military analyst John Pike recently described Diego Garcia as the most important facility the US has. According to Pike, the military’s goal is to be able to run the planet from Guam and Diego Garcia by 2015.
        Unlike Guam, Diego Garcia has no inhabitants resisting the US military. All of the island’s residents were forcibly removed in the early 1970s by the British as part of an agreement with the United States. Most of the former residents of Diego Garcia were shipped to Mauritius, located over a thousand miles away. For the last four decades, former residents of Diego Garcia and their descendants have been fighting for the right to return.
        We’re joined now by Olivier Bancoult. He is a leader of the exiled people of Diego Garcia and president of the Chagos Refugees Group. He was expelled from his native Diego Garcia when he was four years old.
        JUAN GONZALEZ: David Vine, you have chronicled this incredible story that is little known throughout the rest of the world. How did the British end up depopulating the island on behalf of the United States?
        DAVID VINE: It was—and this is one of the main points of my book Island of Shame—it was, from the beginning, a US plan. The US identified Diego Garcia as the site for a military base beginning in the late 1950s and approached the British to gain access to the islands and to remove the Chagossians. And with the help of a $14 million secret payment that we made to the British government, we secured their agreement to give us access to the island and then to forcibly remove all the Chagossians, which was ultimately done, again, on our orders.
        JUAN GONZALEZ: And the island remains under whose sovereignty right now?
        DAVID VINE: It remains a British colony,

        BTW the Chagosians won their case against the British Crown in every court but Justice was denied to them using the Crown Prerogative.

        The My Lai Massacre was the mass murder of 347–504 unarmed citizens in South Vietnam on March 16, 1968, conducted by a unit of the United States Army. All of the victims were civilians and most were women, children (including babies), and elderly people. Many of the victims were raped, beaten, tortured, and some of the bodies were found mutilated.

        War Crimes anyone?

        Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the WORST war crime in Human History. Even if the first bomb was excused, what was the need for the second Bomb? Babies got VAPOURISED there or did they?

        Then there was the Carpet Fire Bombing of German cities. Of course burning people alive including the unborn, new born, etc is not a War Crime if done by the Rich and Powerful

        Independent International Investigations anyone?

        “Of course, my argument is irrelevant to any of these Sri Lankan people who appear to have some magical ability to somehow know — without even investigation — that “no war crimes and so on ever happened here”.

        You have no argument because you fail to look at the facts. You want Crimes by a section of the World excused. You want a regime of Double Standards. One law for the Rich and another for the poor. The worlds worst War Crime was the dropping of the Atomic Bomb. Make a list in descending order and place it on GV, then we can see where Lanka stands.

        “Pride? Such a misplaced pride is a large part of the problem; “

        Ask any American, a Britisher, a Frenchman, an Indian, or an upright citizen of any country big or small, whether he is proud of his country. The answer will probably help you to understand the meaning of National Pride. Unfortunately the lack of such pride in some Sri Lankans and the will to cut the Nose to Spite the Face, is the Lankan Problem.

        Thank God that we had people who had such Pride at the helm of Govt, who were able to resists the Milibands, the Kutcheners, the Hilary’s and the like else the Murderer Prabahkaran and gang would still be living and directing operations from Norway.

        “Current international/world setup is NOT close to being a hugely distorted setup of the “Might is Right” type. (If at all, it is the situation within Sri Lanka that’s maybe far closer to a “Might is claiming to be Right” system.)”
        What do you think the foregoing narrative was about, prehistoric times?
        Then we have pathetic people like you making excuses on behalf of the Rich and Powerful.

        The arguments you make boils down to the following,
        Mass Murder committed by the Rich and Powerful is not mass murder.
        Rape committed by the Rich and Powerful is not Rape.
        War Crimes committed by the Rich and Powerful are not War Crimes.
        HR violations by the Rich and Powerful are not HR Violations.

        Why should not the powerful be brought to Justice?
        Why should we allow the UN to be used as a Tool to perpetrate Injustice?
        Why should we not demand Justice?

        War Crimes and HR Violations SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED. It will make the world a better place provided that there are no exceptions. Such investigations should be automatic and applicable to anyone and should be done transparently.

        Justice is not served by having the perpetrators or their agents as Investigator, Prosecutor, Judge and Jury.

      • Sohan Fernando

        Dear OTC,

        Firstly, you’ve fully distorted what I said and have put completely made-up words into my mouth; it’s pointless trying to have a sensible discussion if that’s your approach! I.e., you said:
        You [sohan] want Crimes by a section of the World excused.
        and ….. you making excuses on behalf of the Rich and Powerful., etc.

        I NEVER said any such thing. Where did I ever say that! You seem to be taking words out of empty cyberspace.
        On the contrary I think I’ve said elsewhere, and I certainly implied it via my “doctor not giving right advice to some people” allegory, that yes there are many other thngs that also should be investigated and prosecuted but which hypocritically are not being done by the UN and such others.

        If had I wanted to “excuse them” and if I wanted different standards for “them”, then why on earth would I have agreed with you (right at the top of my first comment in this thread) that yes we SHOULD aim at an international setup where your three points (of your original post) are met?

        Secondly, As I already said once before: you seem to have missed the particular point that I raised; you’ve NOT addressed that specific point.

        Many other right thinking people too have pointed out in many (much neater and clearer than mine) comments — e.g. I recall “georgethebushpig’s” comments in some others posts — a similar position to my main point:

        A) I agreed that we SHOULD aim to have an international body that DOESNT have the hypocricy and so on of the present-day UN and similar bodies;

        B) but that we CAN”T be just waiting for that utopian setup to happen (if ever), to start doing what is right in our own backyard. (Note that refusing to do so will NOT in any way help to improve the international body’s hypocricy; It’s NOT like a workers’ strike action for example.)

        IF everyone says — as you do — that they WON’T submit to what’s right until there “are no exceptions” and until everyone else is also doing what’s right, then no one will start and we’re gonna be waiting forever and there’ll NEVER be even some improvement.

        The greatest genuine Pride SL can possibly achieve now, is to at least take the first step and behave better than the rest.
        But INSTEAD, Sri Lanka’s current false pride seems to be like the small kids who suffer from “Potty Pride” (I may be confusing this with a different child-psychology term), where the more their parents tell them to “let go” of their you-know-what and let it fall into the you-know-where, the more they insist on “holding on” to it! Those small kids don’t understand about “health”.

        It is disgustingly amazing that the recent misplaced nationalist pride in SL, is fueled indirectly around the atrocities that seem likely to have been suffered by our own countrymen: we are shoutng about our “pride” and nationalism and “sovereignty” and so on, AT THE EXPENSE of these suffering masses: we’re “holding on” to that “excreta” (which is our countrymen’s sufferings) just so that we can present a “proud” face to the rest of the world, “proudly” telling them “na, na na, na, na: we’re so proud because no one is able to tell us what to do, heh heh heh”, even though the “health” of the “real” country suffers: and yet, the people become “proud” of what we’re doing: THAT is what “pathetic” truly is.

        Even though the UN or whoever are hypocrites, the valid advice that we are given about investigating our likely atrocities properly and seeking genuine Truth and so on, is GOOD advice and we should take it. (Of course it’d have been far better if we had by ourselves implemented this much earlier without waiting for the hyocritical UN to tell us. Especially after MUCH internal advice by our OWN people over these past many many years).

        Not gonna keep replying you any more if it’s simply to reiterate my main point which you keep on not addressing, or to counter your repeated concocting false statements attributed to me; but just a final time:

        1. your detailed list of evidence that “Might is Right” was misused by the Americans et al, IS quite irrelevant to the point that I had raised.

        I do NOT say it is irrelevant to the UN’s hypocricy. So contrary to your accusations of me (taken by you out of empty cyberspace), I certainly DO fully agree with the general direction of your facts about many other entities’ warcrimes, in your most recent reply; but, it’s simply irrelevant to the PARTICULAR points that I raised in reply to your main post in this thread.

        2. I never said “Might is Right” is NOT what’s often happening with some of the Americans’ actions in the middle east and so on; rather, as I illustrated from the (admittedly absurd!) allegory of “taking a doctor’s advice” — which you don’t seem to have taken in or replied to — I was saying that the fact that THOSE other likely criminal acts are NOT given the investigations they deserve, does NOT mean that we shouldn’t ourselves do what is right in OUR country.

        A different perspective: your kind of argument suffers from the problem of being overly focussed on something(s) which, while true, are beyond our immediate control, at the expense of NOT focussing on the things that are more in our control as well as being in the immediate sphere of our RESPONSIBILITY.

        3. Clarifying soemthing in (expanding on) my “stand”:
        IF by REFUSING to follow good advice given by the UN etc., then we are somehow forcing them to start reducing their turning-a-blind-eye to others’ wrongs, then I might agree with you that we should consider refusing. like workers going on strike for valid reasons.
        BUT: that is NOT the case: whether we “obey” or “disobey”, will NOT contribute to improving their hypocrisy; there’ll be nothing positive achieved, and only negative to be achieved.

        4. “Pride” (Unfortunately used as a euphemism for “stubbornness”, in Sri Lanka).
        The only “pride” that we Sri Lankans can perhaps have today in relation to recent events, is the false pride of being “proud” of the fact that “we” could not be brow-beaten by the “Might is Right”-toting hypocritical UN/”West”/whatever; and that kind of false “national pride” IS what is being much touted today here.
        But most of us seem conveniently blind to the fact that this PRIDE is greatly overshadowed by the much greater SHAME in the fact that WE are as bad as the rest of them in refusing to open our eyes to the Truth of what happened/happening/will continue to happen in our own setup…
        Why on earth should I ask an American etc about pride (as you said)? Often, their “pride” too is very similar to the kind of false misplaced national pride that I mentioned about Sri Lanka too. THEY too often proudly refuse to acknowledge their wrongs, and proudly refusing to listen to the good advice others in the world give them; we are doing the same.
        It’s strange that you appear to SUPPORT their kind of pride (I disagree with you on that), while you also simultaneously find fault (I agree with you) with the very wrongsdoings on WHICH that same pride of theirs is revolving! E.g., after seemingly committing war crimes in Afghanistan etc, they are now “proud” of “defeating” Bin Laden as a result: you’re condoning their pride, while condemning their war crimes – That’s quite illogical!

        5. you said
        Justice is not served by having the perpetrators or their agents as Investigator, Prosecutor, Judge and Jury.
        I agree and disagree.
        A.) I agree that no way will the ideal and best justice be served in this way; and agree that we should aim as close as possible to such an utopia.
        B) I disagree with what I think you are implying that NO JUSTICE WHATSOEVER will be served thus. (SOME justice is served even in our greatly flawed local setup isn’t it… despite no angels or saints and despite there being perhaps many devils… Yet I won’t and I assume you won’t advocate disbanding and disobeying all our local system’s authorities.)


        Seem basically you’re taking a highly theoretical and ideal view of things and assuming things are all black or white: I agree it’s good and fine to identify what an ideal setup would look like, but one must ALSO identify how to best achieve as much as possible in the reality of our non-ideal world.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sohan Fernando,

        Sorry for not replying to you earlier.

        My argument is based on Justice and not selective Justice that is advocated by many.

        In order not to repeat my arguments which are taking place in another thread, kindly follow the thread below and join the ensuing discussion there as it contains all the answers to the questions raised by you in this thread.

        http://groundviews.org/2011/05/06/opening-a-public-case-against-the-us-and-its-presidents/#comment-31470