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Mar-22-2014 16:15printcomments

Sri Lanka Blames US for Pressuring Other Countries to Support UN War Crime Investigation

Sri Lanka's Genocide of Tamils broke all barriers, and the fact that the government targeted and killed journalists for years has taken away the myth of Sri Lanka's innocence

Sri Lanka's G L Peiris
Sri Lanka's G L Peiris. Photo: UK Tamil News

(SALEM) - Sri Lanka is launching a desperate tactic to try to squeeze out from under the long arm of international law for its horrendous, countless crimes of Genocide against the minority Tamil population. The latest line from the administration of President Majinda Rajapakse is a claim that most of the 47 member countries of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) are receiving pressure to lend support to a tough US-sponsored resolution calling for an international probe into the above cited human abuses during the country's war with Tamil Tigers.

Sri Lanka has already been found guilty of Genocide. This verdict was reached by The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal world court, in December 2013. Press release: The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka – Session II 7th – 10th December 2013 Bremen, Germany.

"The panel of eleven judges unanimously found Sri Lanka guilty of the crime of genocide against the Eelam Tamil people, and that this crime continues today," the The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal wrote.

Sri Lanka devastated the Tamil Tigers in 2009, everything to do with the armed forces of Tamil Eelam, the breakaway Tamil state in Sri Lanka, was leveled and dismantled. Locations of former Tamil Tiger bases have now undergone "Sinhalazation" and many former bases are now bases for the Sri Lankan Army (SLA)

With almost no exception, all former LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) soldiers are subject to constant scrutiny and harassment. Thousands were rounded up and placed in reeducation camps. Many women affiliated with the Tigers are raped and tortured for their involvement, this includes many people who have been falsely connected to the defunct military group. Men report rape and sex crimes also, many experts speculate that this is routine and systematic in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's G L Peiris said, "Countries have told us they do not want to pursue Sri Lanka's case. But they want to be seen with the US. Some of them have defence pacts with the US and wider trade links."

While the latter is certainly true, anyone in any country can look at the thousands of images of butchered people and gloating Sri Lankan soldiers, most of which were taken in 2009. The visual documentation is absolutely everywhere, along with gut wrenching video clips of the most depraved military behavior noted in modern history.

The resolution against Sri Lanka, sponsored by the United States, is the third resolution in as many years. Later this month, members of the UNHRC will vote on the matter, which Sri Lanka considers to be a gross violation of national sovereignty. The United States endorses the recommendations by UN rights chief Navi Pillay to open an external probe into charges that Sri Lankan troops killed up to 40,000 civilians during the final months of Sri Lanka's civil war against the LTTE that ended in 2009.

The war spanned a quarter of a century.

Sri Lanka's Genocide of Tamils broke all barriers, and the fact that the government targeted and killed journalists for years has taken away the myth of Sri Lanka's innocence. This is no secret to groups like Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders.

Peiris says members of the pro-LTTE diaspora possess large sums of money and are running an anti-Sri Lanka campaign in order to win over the Western countries. "They collected large sums of money during the war. They still own businesses in many countries."

In reality, only a handful of groups around the world are trying to raise awareness, mostly through publishing news articles and statements. Most U.S. media outlets didn't even cover the civil war, let alone the years of suffering that define the Sri Lankan Tamils.

Americans know there are no television commercials or programs pushing for accountability, there are no ads in major newspapers; the Tamil diaspora is far from wealthy, and a good amount of property formerly owned by Tamils has been seized by the GoSL. Indeed, the only real high dollar efforts taking place are all the design of Sri Lanka, in its efforts to avoid responsibility for its own intentional acts.

Peiris must not visit the northern provinces of his own country. If he visited these areas with an open mind, he would see the signs of ongoing persecution of the Tamil community. They are as clear as the smell of the dead in May 2009, when Tamils were dying so hard and fast at the hands of the Sri Lankan Sinhala Buddhist army that their bodies had to be piled in the street and burned to avoid the spread of disease.

The latest posturing follows years of snide denials, with overconfident members of the government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) boasting of their destruction of the "terrorist" LTTE and refusing to acknowledge that their armed forces were ordered to commit the act of "Total War" which is directly and specifically forbade by international law. In fact, the concept preventing "total war" - where civilians are killed as though they are military, and there are no rights for Prisoners of War (POW's) - is why there is international law against war crimes in the first place.

Peiris outwardly admits that it is pride that prevents Sri Lanka from acknowledging its deeds.

Yesterday in parliament, Peiris said that Sri Lanka admitted the country easily have avoided actions of the UN Human Rights Council if it had responded to international pressures. "We have a national pride. So we cannot give in," he said.

The Permanent People's Tribunal found that, "More than 30 direct eye‐witnesses and experts testified in support of the Prosecution’s case, providing evidence on various alleged crimes that could be determined to constitute the crime of genocide, as well as on the legal and historical background and the charges of complicity."

As Sri Lanka accuses the pro-LTTE diaspora of creating pressure on the UN system to act against it for political reasons, one might ask, is mass murder and ethnic cleansing a valid political reason? It goes far beyond most politics. Navi Pillay, UN Human Rights Commissioner, and the U.S. government are trying to give the rule of law respect. They know that if Sri Lanka gets away with this series of crimes against humanity, it will open the door for other similar governments to simply murder political opponents instead of reasoning with them

Tim King

19 March 2014



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