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Getting lost in The Hague: UN, Sri Lanka and an ICJ-Advisory Opinion

Dr. Lakshman Marasinghe (Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Windsor) in an article titled ‘Some Random Thoughts on the UN International Advisory Panel’ (Daily Mirror, 14 July, 2010), makes a serious suggestion to the Government; i.e. to obtain an Advisory Opinion (AO) from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, to determine “whether […]


When faced with challenging human rights and humanitarian law issues who should we seek out for advice but a celebrated former Vice President of the International Court of Justice? Faced with the task of peace building after a Thirty Years war, to whom should we turn to spearhead a state-aided national effort, or at the […]

Making Foreign Policy on the Street

The declared threat, the demonstration, siege, fast unto death outside the office of the UN in Colombo by the Wimal Weerawansa led National Freedom Front, raises interesting and alarming questions about policymaking in our country. Wimal Weerawansa announced that he would call upon his supporters to surround the UN office until the UN Secretary General […]

Managing diplomacy with melodrama: Sri Lanka’s Madness

Photo courtesy Vikalpa’s Flickr photostream on the NFF protest The point of departure for this note is the fast unto death by a government (cabinet) Minister, hereinafter referred to as VW, in front of the UN’s Colombo office. The protest campaign launched by the said individual, and his decision to fast, are meant at demonstrating […]

Video from second day of Wimal Weerawansa’s fast unto death

The National Freedom Front (NFF), in a procession from Bullers Road, approached the Russian Embassy today and met with officials inside the premises. The second day of Wimal Weerawansa’s fast unto death (and the third day of NFF’s agitation in front of the UN in Colombo) saw him call a press conference in the afternoon. […]

Photos from Day 3 of NFF protest against UN in Colombo

Original photo here. More on the ground updates and photos from the Twitter feed of Groundviews: Day 3 of Protest outside UN office. Wimal Weerawansa begins hunger strike. Day 3 of protest. Poster outside the UN office. #srilanka #lk #un Protestors outside the UN office in Colombo. Day 3. #srilanka #lk #UN […]

The protest by Wimal Weerawansa against the UN in Sri Lanka: Condoned by government?

On 30 June, senior Government Minister Wimal Weerawansa urged the public to surround the UN office in Colombo and hold its staff hostage until moves by the UN to appoint a panel on Sri Lanka is dropped, putting the UN in Sri Lanka on high alert. On the same day, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said […]

Photos and video from the UN headquarters in Colombo today

Photos courtesy Vikalpa, and more will be added anon. Others taken by blogger Indi Samarajiva can be seen here. Google has the latest updates from all web media, including tweets and blogs. Our curated Twitter news feed also features the latest updates from sources like @DMbreakingnews. More videos from Vikalpa can be accessed here. 8 July […]

Compilation of special edition on the end of war in Sri Lanka

Download the 162 page compilation of content as a PDF in high quality (25.4Mb), or low quality (3.7Mb). The low quality version is good enough to read, but the photos will look and print much better in the high quality version. From 19 – 27 May 2010, Groundviews ran a special edition on the end of […]

Hand Washing

Murder cannot be hidden, bodies decompose but skeletons remain; certainly they can be washed from beach into sea and stripped clean by carnivorous fish yet the panel requires just a few examples, sufficient to flesh out a theory of mass slaughter; satellite shots will be investigated abroad and conversations conducted with survivors of precarious boats […]

Should we prosecute crimes against humanity?

It must be acknowledged that international law, both customary and humanitarian, is undergoing significant changes with regard to crimes committed during armed conflicts.  Thus it is difficult to assert that international legal measures for dealing with crimes against humanity should be assessed primarily in terms of successful prosecutions given that there is a paucity of […]

Mass Graves: Nothing new to Sri Lanka

The recent discovery of mass graves  at Ganeshapuram in  Kilinochchi and at Nachchikuda in the  Mannar Districts  has  been very much in the news during the past weeks.  Such finds need not  surprise anyone.  Following an analysis of satellite images taken during the height  of the war, the American Association for the Advancement of Science  […]

Learning Old Lessons from a New ‘Lessons Learnt’ Commission: the ‘Home-Grown’ Way?

One year after the war, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has established another commission; known as the ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’. Eight eminent members have been appointed. The Commission is chaired by a former Attorney General. The Commission is to ‘inquire and report’ the following: the facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the […]

The latest Commission of Inquiry in Sri Lanka: Another Exercise in Deception

Louise Arbour of the International Crisis Group is reported to have  said during an interview in the BBC that the government violated the laws of war by blurring the line between combatants and civilians, and that its killings of civilians were not accidents.   Perhaps in response to this, speaking to the BBC Tamil Service […]