Much ado about nothing: Is Sri Lanka in danger of being held accountable by the International Criminal Court?

Image from Joe Klamar/AFP/GETTY

Early last year I set about examining, as a recent graduate, the feasibility of any citizen of Sri Lanka being tried in the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity that were committed in the last phases of the war between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. I concluded that there is no real danger of any case being brought against the members of Sri Lankan Military or the current administration. Such fears are simply unfounded. I wish to revisit the question of if in fact any citizen in Sri Lanka can be held accountable under the ICC within the current context.

There has been much discussion about the issue of war crimes in Sri Lanka in the past week.  The current government and all major political parties have recently commented at many capacities on United Nations panel investigations and its leaked report. Since many commentators have written, and talked exhaustedly about whether any such crimes were committed by the GoSL and the LTTE, this article will not speculate on any of the alleged accusations or its validity. It will simply pose the question of if, in fact, Sri Lanka is in danger of being held accountable by the International Criminal Court under the present context.

Even under the current context it is clear that members of the Sri Lankan military who were engaged in the war against the LTTE, members of the Ministry of Defense, and the Sri Lankan president are in no real danger from being prosecuted by the ICC. The ICC, based in The Hague, The Netherlands, is the first ever permanent international institution with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals responsible for the most serious crimes of international concern: genocide, crimes against humanity, the crime of aggression, and war crimes. The ICC treaty, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, went into force in 2002.  To date, 139 states have signed and nearly 100 states have acceded to or ratified this treaty. In order for a country to be under the jurisdiction of the ICC, the Rome Statue has to be ratified. Asia is poorly represented at the ICC, and countries such as India, Pakistan, and China are not signatories.  Sri Lanka is not party to the statute.

The ICC only has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, the crime of aggression, and war crimes under the following circumstances:

  1. If the state is party to the Rome Statute.  (Sri Lanka is not party to it.)
  2. If the alleged crimes have been committed in a country, or, if the crime was committed onboard a vessel or aircraft which is party to the statute. (All alleged crimes have occurred in Sri Lankan territory).
  3. If the alleged individuals are nationals of countries party to the convention.  (All possible members are either Sri Lankan or American.  Because neither country is party to the convention, the ICC does not have any jurisdiction.)
  4. If Sri Lanka requests the ICC investigate such crimes which may have occurred due to its own inability to do so.
  5. If the alleged crimes committed are referred to the Prosecutor by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.  (Any such move by any member of the United Nations Security Council would be blocked by either China or Russia.  Both are permanent members of the Security Council. Due to our close diplomatic ties and due to their own internal considerations these two countries would not ago ahead with any such investigation.)

The latter point was clearly apparent when Russia opposed any discussion of Sri Lanka on the UN Panel report at the Security Council on the 18th of April.

To date, three states party to the Rome Statute – Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic – have referred situations occurring in their territories to the Court. All three states are Party to the Rome Statute and thus fall under the jurisdiction of Rome Statute.

In addition, the Security Council has referred to the ICC the situation in Darfur, Sudan – a non-state party. The Prosecutor has opened and is conducting investigations in all of the above-mentioned situations. Nearly 80 percent of the cases that are referred to ICC are turned down because they are manifested outside the jurisdiction of the Court; only 20 percent actually warrant further analysis.

Also of note, is that even if Sri Lanka were a signatory of the ICC, the jurisdiction of the ICC would be complementary to national courts, meaning that the Court would only act when countries themselves are unable or unwilling to investigate or prosecute. Thus, even if we were signatory to the statute, if these alleged crimes were investigated in Sri Lanka there would be no room for the ICC to step in.

Thus, one has to ask why there has been so much interest from where there are no real grounds do so. The possible explanation could be closer to home: the President has called upon the people of Sri Lanka to turn the May Day rally into a protest against the United Nations. May day rallies have been historically reserved for the working man to protest against incumbent governments on perceived/real issues in relation to society. Issues that have historically been raised are the cost of living, labor conditions etc. In fact, in Sri Lanka the cost of living has been sky rocketing, the food prices have shot up significantly; so has the price of petrol and electricity, to name a few. (These increases have partly been attributed to increases in global commodity prices, and natural disasters here at home). However, the discussions on these uses have conveniently been avoided. Now, it seems that the opposition together with the government will join hand in hand and protest about an issue that has no real legal bearing. I shall leave the thinking reader to assess what is really going on.

  • TT

    SL should NEVER sign the Rome statute.

    However, the writer missed one key aspect of it. Reconciliation process has suffered an irreversible setback thanks to the UNSG’s report. Mistrust, hate, anger, antogonism, fear, illwill, disunity and the like have crept inbetween the communities.

    Both major political parties depend on multiethnic votebases. They are feeling these effects. The more the report hoovers around people, the more popular TNA, etc. will be among Tamils.

    The government has one more thing to worry. It’s reconciliation process which has already costed billions in development, rehabilitation, free food to IDPs, state sponsored wedding ceremonies of former terrorists, etc., etc. is now dead. No political returns on these investments.

    Although the Tamil Diaspora will be the eventual losers again, it is celebrating now. This is something SL want to avoid. That is yet another reason to hate the UNSG’s report.

    May Day has NEVER been about workers’ rights in SL! It has always been political show of strength for all major parties. Even on the May Day the worker is not made the king but the politician is the king. Workers simply go in procession for the support of politicians every year on May Day.

    Cost of living, corruption, etc. are real problems and politicians would do anything to avoid addressing them.

    • georgethebushpig

      “Reconciliation process has suffered an irreversible setback thanks to the UNSG’s report. Mistrust, hate, anger, antogonism, fear, illwill, disunity and the like have crept inbetween the communities.”

      My gosh TT you are a fount of wisdom! The reconciliation process was proceeding at a brisk clip and it was a regular love fest between the communities prior to the advisory report wasn’t it? Gee if only the UNSG had just left us be this would have been all wrapped up in no time and we would be celebrating Vesak and Pongol just like in the old days.

      Oh and by the way Shakya where does the Geneva Convention fit into all of this?

  • sabbe laban

    Then how on earth was the Sudanese President Al Basheer is under warrent for war crimes in the nternational criminal courts? Sudan is not a signatory to the Rome Statue!

    The Western nations who are desparate to trample Sri Lanka would try to achieve this by passing a resolution in the General Assembly or in the Security Council. Sri Lanka must ensure that this does not happen in the name of justice!

    • shakya

      Dear Sabbe,

      As stated in point 5 of the article Sudanese case was brought to the ICC by the UN prosecutor general-

      “Sudan is not a signatory state to the ICC Charter and therefore the country would not normally be considered subject to its jurisdiction. However, the situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC Prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council in 2005. In an earlier ruling in 2007, on indictments brought against a Sudanese minister, Ahmed Haroun, and a Sudanese paramilitary commander, Ali Kushayb, the judges confirmed the indictments, claiming that this referral by the Security Council meant that the ICC did have jurisdiction over states which have not signed or ratified its Charter.”

      At- http://www.iccwatch.org/article_Mar09.html

  • Bonchi Baba

    True the cost of living, fuel prices, taxes are on the rise in SL. This is mainly due to factors such as the ever increasing global conflicts initiated by western countries especially in oil rich areas. This increases food prices, thus increasing cost of living. Natural disasters are on the rise, and governments cannot bear the costs, so they increase taxes to balance their books.

  • Thambi

    Still we obviously need to resolve all of this. Rajapakse needs to start being more open to dispel the LTTE brainwashed Tamil diaspora’s spin and offer autonomy to Jaffna, Vanni and Muddakalappuwa. Jaffna should be made independent imo to appease the Tamil diaspora and the autonomous Vanni can act as a buffer zone between that and Sri Lanka.

    • MV

      Haha good one, thambi!

      Do you think Rajapakse or any other Sinhalese regime for that matter would commit political suicide by delivering a political solution to this ethnoconflict? If so, it wouldn’t have cost 100,000+ lives and limbs. What do you think happened to even the outdated 13++ that Rajapakse promised?

      • Thambi

        I know Rajapakse will not do what I suggested. But that’s what needs to happen to solve this problem once and for all. Time will tell what the post-Rajapakse governments will do.

    • MV

      Very few people have much faith left in international bodies to deliver justice. The selective use of R2P iis a case in point that shows the hypocrisy of the system – unfortunately, there is no oil (at least yet) in SL.
      Had it not been for widespread slavery and christian-islam fundamentalism involved, no body would have paid any attention to the plight of South Sudanese.

      Anyway, as Kusal has mentioned in one of his articles, it is not as if Rajapakses are unaware of the reach of this report, howver, they will use it to mobilize the patriotic masses around them.

      • MV

        sorry this was not meant to be a reply to Thambi

  • ND

    Its very unwise to assume China or Russia will veto any security council resolution against Sri Lanka. Take Libya or Sudan for example. Both countries had stronger economic and diplomatic ties with Russia and China. However they did not veto moves against Libya or Sudan. Just abstained.

  • Citizen

    Article is aimed at diverting growing objection of Lankans (@least in this forum)over Moon’s report and focusing something else which has not been considered as important by the majority!
    definitely rise of cost of living is a problem and yet in current context rallying against Moon’s high hand approach has become a must.

  • Bundoora

    ND
    Guess what, Russia & china used veto power to rescue Zimbababe and Myanmar, ring any bells ! 

  • jansee

    TT:

    “However, the writer missed one key aspect of it. Reconciliation process has suffered an irreversible setback thanks to the UNSG’s report. Mistrust, hate, anger, antogonism, fear, illwill, disunity and the like have crept inbetween the communities.”

    Many, many thanks for the finding of the century. How would Ban ever know or understand that the Sinhalese and Tamils were “bosom friends” since independence. The 1956 and 1983 pogroms just happened because they just wanted a little bit of fun and excitement – just like playing ping-pong.

    • TT

      Jansee,

      I was referring to the reconciliation process. You don’t need reconciliation if there is perfect harmony!!

      As regards those incidents…

      They lasted only a few days.

      1958 – 14 days???
      1977 – 14 days???
      1983 – 14 days???

      Total 42 days.

      Since Independence, more than 21,000 days have passed!! That is 500 times more days of harmony than disharmony!!! :)

  • MV

    @ Thambi

    “I know Rajapakse will not do what I suggested”

    I have thought there was a military solution to this conflict, now you suggest otherwise. But good on you.

    Anyway, Rajapakse is the reflection of Sinhala polity. Just like his predecessors, he used anti-Tamil/anti-imperialist sentiments prevailing in the South to come to power and in essence further centralizing power with the president – which, by the way was the trademark of the post-colonial Sri Lankan state.

    • Lakshan

      MV You are correct to a certain extent
      But it is unfair to say Anti Tamil sentiment prevailing in the South.
      Majority Sinhalese are anti LTTE not anti Tamil ( and you can pillory me for this comment :))

      • Sohan Fernando

        Majority Sinhalese are anti LTTE not anti Tamil
        While I agree to some extent, I think there is more to the issue:
        Even among the (MANY) Sinhalese who are not anywhere near being as anti-Tamil as they are anti-LTTE, a fairly large proportion:
        1. do nevertheless have SOME amount of “anti Tamil” sentiment; even slightly; even if it’s not so much an actively anti-Tamil sentiment, and more of an overly “pro-Sinhalese” attitude.
        2. When one has a flawed approach to how one views one’s own ethnic (or other) identity, like having an “overly pro-Sinhalese” attitude, that can result – even unintended – in wrong treatment of “other identities”.
        Such wrong attitudes prevalent among much of the South, certainly does seem to have been used by Rajapakse and others, pre May-2009 and after.
        3. In diferent words: I’d say that even among the many Sinhalese who are not “anti-Tamil”, there exists a subtle, incorrect attitude of (only) “condescending acceptance” of or “tolerance” towards non-Sinhalese; I guess maybe what I’m trying to say is that among many such Sinhalese (despite not being anti-Tamil), Tamils are considered as second class citizens.

        Perhaps all these, are also part of what MV meant by the phrase “anti-Tamil” sentiments in the South?

      • MV

        @ Lakshan

        You say that majority Sinhalese are anti-LTTE and not anti-Tamil. If that is the case, then what explains all the ethnic violence that predated LTTE? The ’83 riots, for example, was backed by the then UNP government.

        In the neighbouring South India, there was a Dravida movement that was seeking to create Dravida Nadu, however, it was abandoned later as there was power sharing, which in turn ensured some democratization. However, in SL, the trend has been opposite. When the Tamil people asked for power sharing, instead the Sinhala polity cried separatism, when in fact power sharing would have been crucial to this democratization of the Sri Lankan state. The Sinhala polity as well as some Tamils, thought that with the end of LTTE will come a dawn of peace and democracy. Little did they realize the authoritarian tendency of the Sri Lankan state from the beginning, which only the Tamil militancy (LTTE) was able to counter with force. Now, the Sinhala polity is left with little or no opposition or a radical force that is necessary to counter the authoritarian state.

        The SL state or this regime will not commit political suicide by allowing democratization, for which it will make it vulnerable for opposition arising from Sinhala sections as well as the Tamil polity.

        To sum it up, SL is simply going to become a hub for various powers to play and those who defended the mass murder in Vanni in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’ gave little thought to this.

      • TT

        Most non-Tamils in SL are anti LTTE, anti-Tamil Elam and against the creation of a Tamil Nadu in SL (federal nonsense).

      • Nithyananthan

        Then, please, advocate for referendum. It’ll resolve the dispute of who is ‘Anti & Anti of what’ and so on.

  • Davidson

    Shakya
    Thank you for writing this.

    The response of the government and a considerable section of the South to the report by the UN Panel is simply too consistent with what they have been doing to the Tamils in the last five years which is simply a more entrenched continuation of the previous 58 years.

    Justice to the Tamils? That’s been an anathema to successive governments.

    • shakya

      To Davidson:

      Thanks. It seems within reason the report is used as diversion tactic. History is a key indicator of governments act. During the Roman times, they use to arrange for gladiator fights to keep the masses occupied :). I see a bit of a trend. Perhaps void of a ‘other’ a new one had to be created. They seem to have done a pretty good job.

  • Davidson

    Everything about this report is diverting the attention away from the post-war crimes( severe restrictions on aid agents from helping the IDPs, ”returnees” and the general population of the Northeast, intense militarisation, lawlessness, heightened Sinhalisation, ….- mentioned in the media as well as in the submissions by Sinhalese to LLRC ) of the last two years.

  • Bundoora

    Personally i don’t think UN can take any action against srilanka ( it needs either UNSC or UNHRC approval ) , this report was produced primarily  for two reasons , 
    1)     to please US,UK and France (due to pressure from Tamil Diaspora, INGO etc)
    2)      not to take any action against  SL so that  Ban can please both  Russia and China (he claimed , he is powerless to go beyond the report and seek guidance from Russia) 

    Ban Ki moon can seek his second term without any hindrance from these veto powers, as he has satisfied both ends.  

  • Tharind

    The contention of the article – that the Sri Lankan government is deliberately damaging it’s image on the world stage in an effort to avoid a debate on cost of living – is ludicrous. The government has worked tirelessly to repair the damage done by activist groups in the Canadian and British Tamil communities, who have used propaganda to persuade Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates in the West not to join Colombo in the effort to rebuild war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka. They fear that if northern Sri Lanka prospers in a united and multicultural Sri Lanka, the ethnic seperatist cause will become irrelevant.

    The war crimes issue refuses to go away for two reasons:

    1) The persistent application of pressure on Western governments (Canada, UK, several European Union nations) by activist groups in the respective Sri Lankan Tamil communities.

    2) Concern in the US (and probably also the UK, France) about the current Sri Lankan government’s increasingly close economic ties with the People’s Republic of China. China’s growing influence in the Asian region is considered the greatest threat to the West’s global dominance since the fall of the Soviet Union. Since it appears unlikely that the hugely popular government led by President Rajapaksa will be voted out of office in the forseeable future, a war crimes investigation followed by a kangaroo court seems the only way to eliminate the current leadership before the Chinese have cemented their position in what military strategists in Washington call the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’.

    • georgethebushpig

      Dear Tharind,

      “The war crimes issue refuses to go away for two reasons:”

      Could it also be because, albeit slightly, and I mean quite unrelatedly, that there were in fact war crimes?

      I do agree with you however that it is an absurd proposition that the GOSL is doing this on purpose to divert the objectives of the May Day rally.

    • TT

      True but the government response is insufficient to such a persistent threat. The only long term solution to seperatism is to change the ethnic composition of the north making separatism impossible no matter who tries it and no matter Tamil hearts are with SL or not.

      The longer the government puts off doing that this issue will not go away.

      Some think it is a propaganda/diplomatic issue. It is not. It is a geopolitical issue.

  • TT

    The biased panel report says, “The LTTE began as a Tamil liberation movement and eventually became the most disciplined and most nationalist of the Tamil militant groups, emerging as the dominant force espousing a separatist agenda in the mid-1980s.”

    How nice Hon Karuna used some of that discipline he learnt from the LTTE against the LTTE!! :)

    Hilarious!

    Dozens of better disciplined Tamil militant groups entered the democratic mainstream in July 1987. The group that lacked any discipline (LTTE) remained to be decimated 22 years later.

    Panellists have a funny definition of discipline.

    Anyway it proves my earlier assertion. In future wars GOSL must form counter TE terrorist groups who would EXACTLY the same things TEs do. This is of course in addition to security forces. It will be the clash of disciplined!

    • wijayapala

      Dear TT,

      Dozens of better disciplined Tamil militant groups entered the democratic mainstream in July 1987.

      AFTER just about all of of them suffered internal discord to the degree that they became virtual non-entities. Douglas Devananda, the military wing leader of the EPRLF split off to form the EPDP, and the EPRLF further split into the Perumal and Suresh factions. PLOTE had a long history of internal killings which culminated in the schism that produced ENDLF. EROS split into the pro-LTTE Balakumar and anti-LTTE Shankar factions. Even the annihilation of TELO by the LTTE was preceded by its strife between the Bobby and Das factions.

      Most recently, the TMVP split into the Karuna and Pillayan groups.

      Comparatively speaking, the LTTE did a much better job holding itself together over time, and it is only when it did begin to have serious internal problems, over 20 years after the war began, that the SLA had a chance to win the war.

      • TT

        Dear Wijayapala,

        Agree with the last bit. SLDFs could win the east without moving any of its offensive units thanks to TMVP which acted as a force multilier. OTOH, LTTE was nothing once the Karuna factor was taken out!!

        However, the first bit is not completely true in the context of the IPKF/SLDF in 1987. IPKF would have armed these Tamil groups to fight the LTTE rather successfully under IPKF guidance and protection (like EPDP now). So they could have stuck to their guns. But they were disciplined enough to lay down arms IN TIME avoiding an even bigger calamity on the Tamil population.

        Infighting between these groups and the LTTE could have been encouraged by SLDFs as they did with the Karuna group by providing them with protection. Karuna was driven to safety by a MP!! He was given refuge by the government. Had the previous defectors the same or half of that government support, they would have evolved into potent fighting units.

        The fact that LTTE failed to hold on to their best strategist (Karuna) who saved it many times and the inability to “discipline” him threafter (for whatever reasons) proves its lack of discipline.

      • TT

        Further proof of LTTE lacking discipline…..

        Fighting when they ought to have stopped is a sign of lack of discipline (explained above).

        Not fighting when out to be fighting is another sign of indiscipline.

        2002-2004 provided an ideal opportunity for the LTTE to attack SLDFs when the country was divided politically. But they didn’t. They showed some attachment to Ranil and UNP until finally they realized they were taken on a ride the world over with no political solution.

        If the LTTE had attacked in 2002/3, super powers would not have come to SL’s rescue. Absolutely no chance of it. People were fed up of war. The president and the PM were from 2 parties with UNBRIDGEABLE annomosities between them by then. If war started then, each of them would have blamed the other. There was no one with capable leadership then. Both CBK and RW tried to please the tigers. SL secret services were in tatters!! SLAF was in TOTAL disarray!! SLN was attacked all over the sea!! SLA didn’t have so many MBRLs then.

        LTTE that previously showed it had no long term friends, fell into the UNP trap. It realized this in 2004 but it was too late then. First karuna defected (which could have been avoided if they were engaged in war with SL), then the tsunami battered them, then DPU, then MBRLs, etc.

        If I were VP, I would have started war when peace talks broke down first in early 2003 making full use of the pro-peace weaklings in Colombo (fighintg each other). Hammer the HSZs in Jaffna; blame it on the govt bickering over it and not pulling them out; capture the peninsular (no SLAF, no SLN support, no secret service support, Snatha Kottegoda the army commander! :) :) ). Come back to negotiations and demand the rest. SL leaders will blame each other and high fun!!

  • wijayapala

    Dear MV,

    Do you think Rajapakse or any other Sinhalese regime for that matter would commit political suicide by delivering a political solution to this ethnoconflict? If so, it wouldn’t have cost 100,000+ lives and limbs.

    Kindly show us where the LTTE demonstrated any interest in “political solution” that would have spared us the loss of 100,000+ lives.

    • MV

      @ Wijayapala

      The LTTE did agree to drop the demand for a separate state in exchange for genuine power sharing founded on internal self-determination during the peace process. Rather than implementing federalism, the Sinhala polity chose to accuse Ranil of appeasing the LTTE and questioned LTTE’s sincerity. Ranil, too, backtracked by defending that Karuna split was engineered by their party. When Rajapakse came to power, everything began to roll back.

      In fact, one of the main obstacle stated for arriving at a political solution was the ethnic bidding that both the main political parties were engaged (and continue to engage) in for their political survival in the South.

      I have asked you this before: if LTTE was the obstacle then why is it that even after 2 yrs that no progress is made? As I said, the regime simply won’t commit political suicide by delivering a political solution that it refused to do before. In fact, the repression has rather increased now with the elimination of LTTE. There is effectively no opposition left – even the little that was there had been neutralized through the war. Democratization would weaken this regime further and make it vulnerable to various forces, hence they will continue to rule with fear psychosis.

      • wijayapala

        MV, sorry I didn’t see your response until now:

        The LTTE did agree to drop the demand for a separate state in exchange for genuine power sharing founded on internal self-determination during the peace process. Rather than implementing federalism, the Sinhala polity chose to accuse Ranil of appeasing the LTTE and questioned LTTE’s sincerity.

        Sorry, but the ISGA was not a federal solution, but merely a transition towards a separate state. Could you find a single scholar who claimed otherwise?

        Ranil, too, backtracked by defending that Karuna split was engineered by their party.

        Could you please show where he had claimed that? Do you believe that Ranil had engineered that split?

        In fact, one of the main obstacle stated for arriving at a political solution was the ethnic bidding that both the main political parties were engaged (and continue to engage) in for their political survival in the South.

        Your “ethnic bidding” argument falls flat given that Chandrika won the 1994-5 elections on the platform of offering a political solution, and Ranil won the 2001 election on a platform of a CFA that would lead to a political solution.

        I have asked you this before: if LTTE was the obstacle then why is it that even after 2 yrs that no progress is made?

        The answer is that there is currently no Tamil leadership that can articulate Tamil interests/concerns in a coherent manner. There is all sorts of talk about “political solution” but hardly any concrete suggestions. The low turnout of Tamils for elections gives the impression that they are not interested in a “political solution,” despite what the TNA claims.

    • MV

      Also, much of this has been predicted by many, including some Sinhalese in exile (not the calibre of DJ, Rajiva, and other patriots). But they would have been labelled unpatriotic.

      • wijayapala

        You mean the same way how the UTHR-J and DBS Jeyaraj were labeled “unpatriotic” for predicting that the LTTE would die?

    • MV

      @ TT

      It would make more sense to let both the entities (Tamil and Sinhala) to develop on their own than what you have today – a ‘unitary’ state effectively held under authoritarian rule and a playground for powers. In fact, that would have been the key to peace and prosperity of both.

      Do you think India, China, Russia helped SL w/o any strings attached?

      • TT

        It is not about Sinhala and Tamil. There are others too. It is about SL.

        Tamil Nadu provides the best Tamil environment for Tamils to prosper culturally.

        Yes; I agree these nations helped SL with strings attached as with all help. SL will have to fulfil its obligations to them. However, just because so, it does not mean these would be bad for SL. There may be win-win situations for both SL (as a nation) and those nations.

        e.g. I’m pretty sure at future elections, these nations will support their favourite candidates if the west supports their favourites. However, unlike the west, the other group MAY not give much importance to HR, democracy, etc. That opens whole new opportunities (to some); threats to others.

        Russia and China didn’t give anything free. Obviously they didn’t give anything of propritory value either. China (and its ally NK) were the biggest weapons supplier to LTTE. Ukraine was a bigger weapons seller to SL than Russia. MOST “Russian” weapons were purchased from Ukraine.

        US, British and Israeli weapons also played a HUGE role.

        e.g. SLA used firefinder artillery to target LTTE artillery positions. This works automatically. It tracks the trajectory of oncoming arti, backs it up with its radar identification of the origin, allows to fire its own artillery. In other words, it does not matter where is LTTE arti was coming. Wherever it is, it allows firing at it. This is perfectly within the international law. It’s US made.

        e.g. Britain allowed its nationals to sell weapons, provide expertise, etc. during the war. Kneejerk reaction they had was AFTER the war.

  • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com/ Mango

    I think India’s reaction is the key to what happens next. We’re in India’s sphere of influence and it was India that protected SL during Western/EU meddling in May ’09.

    MR & Co gave India lots of warm words about the post-war settlement. Prof DJ confirms this directly, in a prescient article from June 2010.

    “We need India’s support to balance off those who are hostile to us or are influenced by the pro-Eelam trend in the Tamil Diaspora. India is our buffer with the USA. Delhi is under pressure to take a stand hostile to us, or to stop supporting us. That pressure comes from Tamil Nadu but not only from Tamil Nadu…from India’s civil society as well as some of India’s Western friends. If India stops supporting us, not even the Non Aligned Movement will defend us fully, because they take their cue from respected Third World states such as India.”

    http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/06/for_india_sri_lanka_is_not_ind.html

    It’s crunch time for MR & Co, who were obviously hoping that they could continue with business as usual and forget the promises made to India during the War.

    I want the Indians now get serious with MR and not be fobbed off with warm words and cold Lion lager from Mahinda’s fridge

  • MV

    Wiyajapala,

    “The answer is that there is currently no Tamil leadership that can articulate Tamil interests/concerns in a coherent manner.”

    Oh my….So currently there is no political solution because the “correct” Tamil leadership isn’t there? So a change of tamil political leadership should do. It has nothing to do with the GOSL or the Sinhala polity.

    Lol!

    By the way, LTTE’s military defeat was somewhat anticipated as early as 2008 or back to Karuna’s defection – they were simply defending their last bastion in early 2009 with nowhere to escape as they had lost control of the sea.
    Anyway, they could easily be defeated on a conventional front with an army that outnumbers atleast 10:1. They weren’t able to comeback with a low scale guerilla warfare but even if this option had been possible, it would not have been favoured in the current climate. You don’t need DBSJ or UTHR-J to tell you about this.