UN-UNHRC, please answer Sri Lanka
In 2010, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon commissioned 3 members personally selected by him to submit a report on the ‘final months’ of Sri Lanka’s conflict. The Report by the Panel of Experts is known as the Darusman Report.
- Report on ‘final months’.
- Report not commissioned by either UN General Assembly or UN Security Council or UNHRC.
- Report was a personally commissioned report.
- Report was never officially tabled by UNHRC for Sri Lanka to officially respond.
This report was leaked. How & why? This begs to ask how can UNHRC head quote a leaked personal report & how can 3 successive UNHRC resolutions be based on a personally commissioned leaked report? How legal are these UNHRC Resolutions? How legal is the OISL investigations? How legal are the demands & recommendations being made?
Where can Sri Lanka seek answers for these legally questionable acts?
Is the action of the UNSG questionable under UN Charter Article 2(7), Article 99 & Article 100?
No one has the answers or is answering these fundamental questions.
Sri Lankans should start asking for answers.
The role of the UNSG is covered in the UN Charter – Article 97, 98 & 99
The UNSG can only use Article 99 (Commission a Report) if there is a threat to international peace & security.
The UNSG commission his personal panel more than a year after Sri Lanka’s conflict ended. There was no threat to international peace & security.
If the UNSG deemed a threat existed even after elimination of the LTTE in May 2009, UNSG was bound by Article 97,98,99 to bring the threat to the attention of the UN Security Council & seek to commission a report on Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was suffering 30 years of terror and no UNSG saw the need to commission a report on the situation or threat to peace prior to 2009, if so why in 2010?
Sri Lankans must also start wondering. How legal are these Resolutions against Sri Lanka? Could it be that the Darusman Report was leaked because there was no legal argument?
Are we wrong to conclude that leaking the report & using that against Sri Lanka runs ‘ultra vires” to the UN Charter and the spirit with which goodwill should prevail among members?
Did the UNSG violate Article 2(7) repeatedly by meddling in affairs that fall ‘within the domestic jurisdiction of members’?
- Can a UNHRC head demand a sovereign country to change its constitution?
Can a UNHRC head openly denigrate Sri Lanka’s judicial system & judges?
- Can a UNHRC head ask a country to delist LTTE fronts?
- Can a UNHRC head praise constitutional amendments promoted by western governments (19a)
- Can a UNHRC head demand repealing of terrorism prevention acts of countries?
- Can a UNHRC head make reference to sensational stories that are quoted without evidence?
- Can a UNHRC head make passing comments & sensationalized allegations sans evidence?
- Can a UNHRC head decide how Sri Lanka is to celebrate ending terror – applauding holding a Remembrance Day instead of Victory Day while she is mum about Allies celebrating Victory Day since 1945.
- Is the UNHRC head not violating Article 2(7) of the UN Charter?
“Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present”
LTTE’s terror reign came to an end after a humanitarian mission turned into a military offensive which had to be conducted alongside another humanitarian rescue mission.
The humanitarian mission by Sri Lanka’s armed forces started on 21 July 2007 when LTTE foolishly closed the Mavil Aru sluice gates denying water to some 30,000 farmers in East Sri Lanka.
Did UNHRC regard closing of water as a war crime & force LTTE to return supply of water? UNHRC did nothing.
What did LTTE do next? They began attacking villages in the East forcing the Govt to order troops to counter-attack & defend the lives of civilians.
Did UNHRC stop LTTE attacking villages & save the lives of civilians?
Who is more important to the UNHRC – LTTE or civilians?
LTTE’s attacks on villages began since 1980s. LTTE has killed even babies & pregnant women. Did UN system stop LTTE carnage?
UNHRC that is always quoting ‘civilian dead’ now were silent about the civilians that LTTE killed. Were the victims of LTTE not civilians? Why didn’t UNHRC stop LTTE killing civilians?
While UN speaks about LTTE ‘civilian’ dead (note LTTE had a civilian armed unit) no UNHRC head has ever visited a single victim of LTTE terror attacks. Can UNHRC separate LTTE ‘civilian’ dead from Tamil civilian dead? This is where the blur of distinction lies.
Presume UN-UNRC could not stop LTTE attacking civilians, they could stop LTTE fronts from providing material support & engaging in propaganda for LTTE to raise funds to purchase arms & ammunition. Why didn’t UNHRC take action against such fund raising?
If UNHRC was not stopping LTTE killing civilians throughout 1980s, 1990s, 2000 upto 2009, if UNHRC was not stopping LTTE fronts raise funds for LTTE, what did the UNHRC expect the Sri Lankan Govt to do? Watch LTTE killing people?
Did civilian lives not matter to UNHRC? Is it LTTE civilians that UNHRC is concerned about. The enthusiasm UNHRC shows towards ‘civilian’ dead was non-existent when LTTE was carrying out suicide bombings and assassinations.
UN & UNHRC shows so much concern for human rights & child rights – did UN stop LTTE forcibly kidnapping children, training them and turning them into child soldiers while teaching them to commit suicide biting the cyanide capsule? Adele Balasingham a nurse taught children to kill & commit suicide and she lives happily in UK without UNHRC so much as mentioning her role in violating the human rights of the child. She has even boasted about her role in training child soldiers in books published by her.
Next we come to figures that keep dropping from the sky claiming dead from 40,000, 100,000, 150,000 without names, details, police complaints, or names inserted to Missing Persons Commission. There are no skeletons of the dead no mass graves and no video footage of mass graves being dug or dead people being thrown into them.
Lets also not forget that Ban Ki Moon arrived in Sri Lanka 3 days after the conflict ended & travelled by helicopter over the area of the conflict. He & fellow travelers would have seen newly dug graves. It is impossible to hide 40,000 dead bodies! Just imagine for yourself.
So, without dead bodies, without graves, without skeletons can a national army be accused of war crimes?
How many names of dead does the UNHRC have? Have these been investigated to verify their authenticity – names cannot be given unless proved that they actually were in the final months of the conflict.
The Presidential Commission covering 1983 to 2009 has less than 20,000 names of which 5000 are missing soldiers.
The Govt set up a Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance which met twice a month. UN officials, Foreign envoys, select NGO heads, Sri Lankan Officials, Armed Forces officials were present to answer questions. UNHRC listed allegations of killing civilians, shelling hospitals, denying humanitarian assistance and even allegations outside of the conflict zone. Why did those present not bring up these allegations during the CCHA meetings? They could have demanded answers immediately – why wait for the conflict to end and bring up allegations over a year later?
LTTE may not be signatory to international conventions, but the laws of war are applicable to LTTE. No one is permitted to fire keeping civilians near them. LTTE kept civilians and fired from civilians. While LTTE can fire – the other party also has the right to return fire. The key understanding is both sides are not meant to fire keeping civilians near them.
LTTE had a civilian armed force – which implores to ask did any of these LTTE civilian force die from return fire. These LTTE “civilians” cannot enjoy civilian status.
The Govt transported 534,227 metric tons of food & medicines to the conflict zone. ICRC has also acknowledged this. How can UNHRC claim that Govt denied food supplies?
Why does UNHRC ignore the Sri Lanka Govt census by Tamil teachers in Feb/Mar 2012 in which they place war dead at 7432 including LTTE killed in combat. The missing is placed at 2600 of which 1600 had been with LTTE.
Why does UNHRC ignore the population survey by Tamil Teachers in North Sri Lanka in July 2011 covering migration, deaths, untraceable persons from 2005-2009 which placed dead at 7896 including LTTE dead & 1102 dead from natural illness & sickness.
If 5000 out of 7896 dead were LTTE – this 5000 LTTE dead is collateral deaths in a war that lasted 30 years killing thousands of innocent people. US war on terror since 9/11 has killed over 1million people for the 2977 people killed in US.
Why does UNHRC ignore the UN Country Report of 2009 giving estimated deaths between August 2009-13 May 2009 as 7721 (this figure is close to the 7432 & 7896 deaths giving by Sri Lanka)
Why does UNHRC ignore the aerial photos of the conflict zone by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Of the 3 graves they located 2 were LTTE & not new. Ban Ki Moon on a helicopter going over the conflict zone 3 days after the conflict ended did not see any mass graves either.
Why does UNHRC ignore the embedded Indian journalist Murali Reddy & prefer to accept 3rd party or 4thparty versions by people living overseas? Murali was in the conflict zone covering the conflict till 19 May 2009. He reports give detailed accounts of the conflict. His report confirms ICRC suspending operations on 15 May 2009 (4 days before LTTE was defeated) because ICRC was satisfied that there were no civilians in the conflict zone & only LTTE & Sri Lanka military were engaged in final combat. Murali interviewed civilians inside the conflict zone. None of these civilians accused the Sri Lanka military of killing them. His reports confirmed that LTTE were firing at civilians trying to escape LTTE. LTTE even denied water & food to civilians who were not LTTE family members.
Why does UNHRC ignore David Gray – Reuters report who toured the battlefield in April 2009. His reports cover Sri Lankan forces even sharing their food rations with civilians.
Why does UK Govt/UNHRC ignore the military dispatches that Lord Naseby questions?
Why does the UNHRC ignore the terrorism reports by eminent terrorism experts headed by late Sir Desmond de Silva which cover every legal argument & negates war crimes allegations.
No one can compare South Africa’s conflict with that of Sri Lanka or cut & paste South Africa’s Truth & ReconciliatioN Commission for Sri Lanka. It is a non-starter when many of the truths are kept hidden or not answered. South Africa’s problem was majority indigenous blacks being ruled by minority invader whites. Sri Lanka’s conflict was a group of terrorists killing anyone they disliked.
Why is UNHRC & countries presenting resolutions seeking retributive justice for the Sri Lankan armed forces & restorative justice for terrorists?
UNHRC has shown no appreciation for Sri Lanka being the only country to end a terrorist movement in just 3 years while simultaneously carrying out a humanitarian rescue mission that saved 295,873 Tamils. There are close to 30million IDPs worldwide & over 62m refugees.
Sri Lanka completed 5000sq.km of demining from 2009-2012.
Sri Lanka rehabilitated & reintegrated 11,989 LTTE combatants who surrendered in civilian clothing
Sri Lanka gave a Presidential Pardon to 594 child soldiers & gave them education, vocational training & even jobs
Sri Lanka restored irrigation, canals, tanks, revived agriculture & farming, restored over 1000 schools and health care facilities & renovated & even built kovils.
Let’s see if UN/UNHRC can answer some questions
- How many civilians did not take part in hostilities?
- How many civilians took part in one or more acts of hostilities blurring distinction?
- How many civilians volunteered to take part in hostilities
- How many civilians died while taking part in hostilities
- How many of LTTE’S CIVILIAN ARMED FORCE died during hostilities – these cannot be classified as civilian deaths.
- How many will admit & own up to being a civilian but took part in hostilities
- How can UN rely on these civilian accounts if those saved claim they did not take part in hostilities
- How many LTTE fought in civilian clothing (note all 11,989 combatants who surrendered to the Sri Lanka military were wearing civilian clothing)
- How many LTTE combatants killed were in uniform
- How many LTTE combatants died in combat wearing civilian clothing – these cannot be classified as civilian deaths
The bottom-line is UNHRC has no grounds to establish any courts without first presenting names and details of 40,000 or more dead.
Its now 13 years and no one has come up with 40,000 or more names.
OISL did not give 40,000 names
Presidential Commission on Missing Persons did not have 40,000 names (as of June 2016 – the missing was recorded as 19,006 of which 5000 were soldiers)
Police entries do not have 40,000 names (this is the basic requirement to investigate a case of missing)
How many have thought to answer why Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces would sacrifice soldier lives to save 295,873 Tamils, accept 11,989 LTTE combatants BUT KILL 40,000, 70,000, 100,000 or 125,000 ‘invisible’ people? Is there any logic to this?
No one should be allowed to throw allegations sans evidence.
No one can throw numbers & expect to put a national army into prison without proof.
Who are throwing numbers?
- Robert Blake, former US envoy quoted 40,000 dead at US Congressional hearing
- Siobhain McDonagh (UK labor MP) declared 100,000 dead & 40000 as civilians
- Charles Petrie reviewing UNSG’s report claims 70,000 dead
- Times of London came up with 20,000 dead
- Amnesty International quoted 40,000 dead
- Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph claimed 147,000 missing but did not log a single name with the Presidential Commission or the OISL investigators
- Alan Keenan, Project Director of International Crisis Group came up with civilians killed between 40,000-147,000
- How did UK Guardian quote 40,000 dead
False Allegations of ‘disappeared’
Who remembers Thayaparaja family?
They were classified as ‘refugees’ ‘asylum seekers’ ‘dead’ ‘missing’ ‘killed’. The Sri Lankan Govt was flogged by UNHRC quoting K. Thayaparaja. Sri Lankan Security Forces were accused of torturing & killing him on 13 September 2009. This story was confirmed even by University Teachers of Human Rights (Special Report 34/Dec 13, 2009) claiming he was tortured in Avissawella by Sri Lanka Army & shot on 13 Sept 2009 & died while being taken to Kalubowila hospital. His death was even mentioned in the Australian Government Refugee Review Tribunal in 2010.
However on 5 May 2014, this ‘missing’ Thayaparaja was arrested by Dhanushkodi Police in Tamil Nadu. How did a man supposed to have been tortured & killed in 2009, included into international reports as “MISSING’ / “KILLED” spring to life in 2014?
How many more Thayaparaja’s are there?
Name 1 tribunal or hybrid courts conducted by UN that has delivered justice to victims?
International Criminal Court was set up in 2002. It spent 10 years to complete 1 trial & spent $900m and all investigations were against Africa.
The Chief Judge in the ICC case against Kenyan President was not even a lawyer.
The Chief Prosecutor was accused of withholding information on Lubanga, the Congolese military leader
Why has ICC never taken up West’s illegal military interventions, war crimes, use of illegal weapons, arming rebel movements & terror groups?
The Tribunal against former Yugoslavia in 1993 took 23 years spending $2billion & was accused of selective bias in the indictments & omitting NATO crimes from investigations.
The Serbian leader who was arrested & imprisoned & exonerated 13 years later by which time he had died in prison. Allegations of war crimes in Serbia exceeded 100,000 eventually there was only 2788 dead bodies & that ended the ‘mass genocide’ story.
The UN claimed that the Yugoslavia tribunal was to deter future crimes, however this did not prevent atrocities in Kosovo & indictments for Kosovo didn’t stop atrocities in Sudan, nor Libya nor Syria.
The 1994 Rwanda Tribunal excluded foreign involvement including UN from investigations & spent 20 years, spending £1 billion. The Tribunal took 8 years to find 2 arrested in 1999 as not guilty in 2011 citing ‘errors’ in initial judgement. So much for greatness of foreign judges! 95 indictees cost £11 million each.
The 2006 Cambodia hybrid Tribunal took 8 years spent $200m but only 5 indictments and 1 conviction for alleged killing of 1.7m by Khmer Rouge in mid 1970s by Pol Pot! US, UK complicity in these crimes were never taken.
The 2002 Sierra Leone Special Court had a 65 hectacre court complex, costing $1,066,300 to the taxpayer (who live on $30 a day), prosecution lawyers were mostly from US or US influenced countries and no local judges. Court spent $23m on every defendant but only 22 have been indicted.
The 2007 Special Court for Lebanon tried suspects in absentia. 4 years of investigation cost $325m with 49% of court funded by Lebanese govt where poverty rate is over 60% and money wasted on the court could have easily be spent on the people.
Special Hybrid Court East Timor for crimes committed between 1975-1999. 75% of the people indicted remain at large. Only 1 person is in prison. There was no sovereign East Timor when the Tribunal was created. East Timor became independent in May 2002. UN ended Mission in 2005. Relationship between Indonesia & East Timor can be compared to Sri Lanka & India.
East Timor, Cambodia & Sierra Leone, Kosovo were hybrid courts – combining international & national element. Hybrid tribunals were set up to cover crimes committed prior to establishment of ICC. Hybrid courts do not have direct authoritative backing of the UNSC and will apply domestic & international law & international & domestic lawyers which is probably career prospects for some local lawyers in Sri Lanka.
It is time Sri Lankans too start thinking about the questions raised above & demand answers. It is time the Sri Lankan Govt & the foreign ministry stop dilly dallying. Our Armed Forces and the Country is being humiliated for no reason. Yes, every war has casualties. No one in combat fires roses. Yes, there is collateral damage but a country that suffered bombs, suicides, assassinations & lived in fear for 30 years finally felt relief when LTTE was defeated in May 2009. As shown above Truth & Reconciliation & Hybrid Courts are just a sham. The conflict was not ethnic the conflict was terrorist. Sri Lankan Armed Forces fought not with Tamils but with a terrorist movement. Sri Lanka does not have to reconcile with terrorists. Truth cannot omit the role of who trained & armed LTTE, the Church & NGOs who helped LTTE, foreign govts that allowed LTTE fronts to operate on their soil to raise funds for LTTE, LTTE fronts that provided material support for LTTE. All those that operated behind the scenes have to be first named for any Truth & Reconciliation. If this is not going to happen, Sri Lanka does not need to waste money of such a mechanism.
Shenali D Waduge