Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide and the failure of UN

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Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide and the failure of UN and IC to Protect
[Tuesday, 16 March 2010 18:27] Human Rights Articles, NewsThe UN have been playing a very dangerous game with Sri -Lanka in not addressing the Tamil Genocide, War Crimes and Real causes of the conflict – which is Race Hate.

The UN and IC have been avoiding to label the Tamil conflict as Genocide so as to avoid their mandatory obligation (and failed) responsibility to proactively act to prevent!  …be in no doubt as to whats happening to Sri Lanka Tamils is Genocide and the ethnic civil war and war-on-terror being pretext to Genocide. On the grounds of UN Genocide Convention, the comprehensive list of acts of crimes against the Tamil community categorically falls under the section of, Genocide ‘in-part’. Refer to detailed works conducted by Tamils Against Genocide (TAG); Professor Francis Boyle; Genocide Prevention Project; et al.

Genocide statistics

* Over the 60-year conflict circa 150,000 Tamils have been Killed

* The realistic figures for Vanni massacre in 2009 surfacing with ABC News report on 9th February 2010. Gordon Weiss UN’s former Colombo spokesman put the figure to be much as 40,000 civilians slaughtered.

* Ethnic Cleansing

Over 1 Million Tamils have fled the Country and many on refugee status all over the world

Over ½ million Tamils internally Displaced

*  Circa 300,000 Tamil IDP’s (inc 80,000 children) had been held in Nazi-style concentration camps with horrific reported stories of rape, torture, disappearance. Untold thousands of IDPs still secretly imprisoned and tortured…

The Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) findings

The PPT held court proceedings to address the horrific final stages of the war between the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and the LTTE [Dublin on 14th and 15th January 2010]. The PPT tribunal officially concluded on the following (disturbing) findings:

(1) That the Sri Lankan Government is guilty of war crimes
(2) That the Sri Lankan Government is guilty of crimes against humanity
(3) That the charge of genocide requires further investigation
(4) That the IC, particularly the UK and USA, share responsibility for the breakdown of the peace process

The PPT went on to further conclude on the following (recommended) next steps:

1. We call on the Sri Lankan Government to all the UN to conduct an inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated during the final stages of the war between the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and the LTTE, and during the war’s aftermath.

2. We call on the Sri Lankan Government to release all those being detained in concentration camps and the estimated 11,000 people being held secretly at unknown locations.

3. We call on the Sri Lankan Government to end the use of extra-judicial killings, sexual violence and the deprivation of food and water as weapons against a civilian poulation.

4. We call on the Sri Lankan Government to end the suppression of political dissent by violence or other means.

5. We call on the Sri Lankan Government to fully implement human rights for all citizens of Sri Lanka and a political solution involving the full participation of the Tamil population, ending the systematic historical discriminatory measures of the Sri Lankan state against the Tamil people.

Failure of UN and International Community (IC) to protect.

The UN to date has been impotent in addressing the Genocidal issues with the recent Tamil Humanitarian crisis, due to Security Council political folly – China and Russia had previously been blocking at the Security Council. India’s mastermind influence behind the scene with the whole so-called war on terror.

Factual Milestone Statements/ Developments:

(1) The UN and IC responded in a lukewarm manner to the genocide and only moved to opinion ate dissatisfaction when obvious mass slaughter and war crimes evidence was being leaked. The International Crisis Group (11th January 2010) have stated “India and Western governments may yet come to regret giving Sri Lanka the green light – and even assisting it – to fight a “war on terror”.

GoSL primary supporters in UN preventing Human Right Council War Crimes Investigation – India, China, Russia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Senegal, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia.

(2) James Ross, legal and policy director at Human Rights Watch, said at the time of slaughter: “This ‘war’ against civilians must stop. Sri Lankan forces are shelling hospitals and so-called safe zones and slaughtering the civilians there.” Sri Lankan armed forces have repeatedly struck hospitals (30 incidents) in the northern Vanni region in indiscriminate artillery and aerial attacks, according to Human Rights Watch (8th May 2009).

(3) UNOSAT satellite images for the period February 5 and April 19 (2009) in a leaked United Nations report showed evidence of aerial bombing on the safe zone, or “no-fire zone”. US military satellites secretly monitored Sri Lanka’s conflict zone during the latter stages of the war and American officials were examining images for evidence of war crimes during 1H 2009. Human rights activists said the images need further examination and enquiries, but could constitute the strongest evidence yet of violations of international humanitarian law or war crimes.

(4) David miliband, UK Forerign Secretary had previously referenced ‘Acts of Genocide’ by GoSL in parliament and was made aware of the war crimes by GoSL/ SLA principally via Satellite Imagery of their indiscriminate bombings in the No Fire Zone area. David Milliband raised clear doubts about whether Colombo could be trusted in this matter

(5) GoSL presidential top aide Lalith Weeratunga confirmed on 14th January 2010 [what was widely known by the IC at the time] that Rajapaksha’s government mislead the UN over the use of heavy weapons over densely confined civilians in the ‘No Fire Zone’ area and that “Colombo ordered a halt to the use of heavy weapons only in April [2009], two months after a UN envoy was promised that such armaments would not be used”.

(6) Gordon Weiss the former UN Spokesperson has stated on 9th February 2010 – “The Sri Lankan government said many things which were either intentionally misleading, or were lies”.

(7) The UN and in particular Ban-Ki moon has been internationally criticised with his reluctance to act and prevent the genocide and implicit support with GoSL conduct of the Genocidal-War. The TIMES revealed, United Nations Secretary-General was told in advance that at least 20,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the Sri Lankan Government’s final offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels. Mr Ban-Ki Moon never mentioned the death toll during his tour of the battleground on 23rd May 2009… and “Mr Ban never mentioned this figure to his Sri Lankan interlocutors” (GulfDailyNews, 7th June 2009). Steve Crawshaw a UNHRC expert is quoted saying “I hope Mr Ban Ki-Moon will make explicit his backing for the creation of a commission of inquiry, and that the Security Council will wake up in a way that it has failed to wake up during the last three months.”

(8) Professor Boyle stated on 8th May 2009, “UN Secretary General has an obligation to act to prevent criminal activity and either refuses or fails to do so, that would render him ‘complicit’ with the underlying criminal activity – in this case genocide. Article III(e) of the 1948 genocide Convention prohibits, criminalizes and calls for the punishment of:’Complicit in Genocide’.”

(9) Further disturbing UN involvement – revelation by The Times that Vijay Nambiar chief of staff to Ban Ki-moons role as UN envoy dealings with GoSL had come into question since his brother Satish has been a paid consultant to the Sri Lanka army since 2002 and close supporter of General Sarath Fonseka (Commander of SLA forces). Tamilnet reported on 30th May 2009, the French paper Le Monde, quoted Vijay Nambiar as telling UN representatives that the UN should “keep a low profile” and play a “sustaining role” that was compatible with the government”. Professor Boyle commented “in other words, both the United Nations Organisation itself and its highest level officials are guilty of aiding and abetting Nazi-type crimes against the Tamils by the GoSL.”

ICP’s Matthew Lee asked UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky on Mr Nambiar involvement [23rd Dec 2009] “..what was the UN’s role in these attempted surrenders?” And went on to ask “where does it stand on Mr. Ban’s call for accountability or some type of an outside investigation or panel of inquiry into possible war crimes?”

(10) Following the ‘bloodbath’ and overthrow of Tigers during Q2 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) imprisoned ~ 300,000 Tamil civilians in Nazi-style concentration camps which according to Professor Boyle can be charged further with “the international crime of genocide as defined by Articles II(b) and (c) of the 1948 Genocide Convention”. “Furthermore, for the United Nations Organization and Western States to continue to finance these Nazi-style concentration camps renders them complicit in this instance of the GoSL’s genocide against the Tamils in violation of Genocide Convention Article III(e) that criminalizes “Complicity in genocide.”

(11) On UN failure with R2P in Sri Lanka, Norman Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of linguistics at MIT said at the UN General Assembly the “hypocrisy was so profound, it was suffocating.”

War Crimes and failure of UN to investigate

Factual Milestone Statements/ Developments:

(1) Professor Boyle, professor of International Law at the University of Illinois College of Law on 22nd April 2009 – “This same type of deliberate stalling, delaying and obfuscation by United Nations Officials preceded and occurred during the course of the genocide massacre at Srebrenica”; and further stated on 30th May 2009 – “By comparison, today the GOSL’s genocidal massacre of the Tamils in Vanni could be about four times Serbia’s genocide massacre of the Bosnians at Srebrenica.”

(2) Professor Boyle statement on the unprincipled UN Human Rights Council Resolution [27th May 2009] – “This Resolution simultaneously gives the imprimatur of the U.N. Human Rights Council to the ethnic cleansing, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes that the Government of Sri Lanka has already inflicted upon the Tamils in the past, as well as the Council’s proverbial “green light” for the GOSL to perpetrate and escalate more of the same international crimes against the Tamils in the future,” …”Sri Lanka, together with these other [in favour] Council States, are contracting parties to some or all of these International Criminal Law Conventions and therefore must be held accountable for their violation and international crimes against the Tamils,” …”History shall so judge them all!”

(3) Prof Noam Chomsky on UN’s R2P forum said “what happened in Sri Lanka was a major Rwanda-like atrocity, in a different scale, where the West didn’t care”. Further during SOAS conference in London October 2009, he added the way the West acts, “there is no protection for any people who it doesn’t do any good [to the West] to protect, and basically Sri Lankans [Tamils] are in that unfortunate position.”

(4) Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has formally commented that there is catgorical strong indications that the British News Channel 4 video of alleged extrajudicial executions by Sri Lankan soldiers to be authentic. Mr Alston has called on the GoSL to respond to the war crime allegations and for the relevant UN heads to take note of the war crime findings.

(5) Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on 8th November 2009 “the SL government has no interest in holding human rights abusers accountable, as it showed with the last presidential commission of inquiry. That was a farce and so will this latest evasive action” [in relation to GoSL sudden turn around after US Dept published report on SL War Crimes, October 2009 and alarm over Gen Sarath Fonseka being questioned]. “Its time for Ban [Ki Moon] to realise that Mahinda Rajapaksha lied to him when he promised a serious national investigation and to do what he has done elsewhere [as in Africa] and establish an independent commission to investigate possible war crimes”.

(6) Sarath Fonseka (retired) Army General had openly revealed [as part of political infighting, Dec 2009] that Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered troops to kill LTTE leaders when they raised white flags to surrender. BBC Sinhala reported Sarath Fonseka comments on 8th February 2010, prior to his arrest  – “I am definitely going to reveal what I know, what I was told and what I heard. Any one who has committed war crimes should definitely be brought into courts”.

(7) Canadian Tamil Congress spokesman David Poopalapillai told IANS “From day one we knew that war crimes were being committed by the Sri Lankan army, but the international community asked us: where is the proof? Now the proof has come from the top army guy,” “What more proof do world leaders and the international community now need to try the Sri Lankan president and his men for crimes against humanity?”  “Rajapaksa is a war criminal. He should be taken to The Hague to face trial for war crimes. No nation has violated the Geneva Convention as flagrantly as Sri Lanka. No nation [in civilised period following the GC] ever killed the surrendering enemy.”

(8) Brad Adams HRW, stated on 27th January 2010 “Ban [Ki-Moon] and key goverments should not fall for the same trick again and instead should call for an indpendant international investigation. The ball is now in Ban’s court”

(9) The Independent on 12th February 2010 reported that Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the country’s defence secretary has openly stated, “I will not allow any investigation by the United Nations or any other country. There is nothing wrong happening in this country? Take it from me, we will not allow any investigation”.

(10) BBC Sinhala reported on 12th February 2010, “Navi Pillai, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has told a gathering in Dublin, in Ireland that her office is in a clear understanding that national investigations “have not worked so far”.

(11) Prof Boyle has commented on 21st February 2010 – “Now that Defense Minister Rajapaksa has rejected such an investigation by the GOSL itself, under international law the onus is now upon U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a war crimes investigation body with respect to Sri Lanka as he has recently done in Africa”.

(12) ICP reported France Gerard Araud attributed Ban’s reticence to pressure from India and China [5th March 2010]

(13) The UN Secretary-General  Ban Ki Moon does not need the permission of the Security Council to initiate such an investigation – i.e. there is no option here for China to to utilise again its great-power veto. Its important to note reports on China’s strategy with ‘String of Pearls’ and their disregard for human rights consideration in their choice of investment. China [and to a lesser degree Russia] with their powers in the securiy council should NOT be allowed to undermine UN’s credibility and impartiality on such an important humanity matter.

(14) The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has announced in March 2010 that a Panel of Experts will advice HIM ONLY on the way forward. The Secretary General is obliged by his duty of office to ensure violations international law is upheld and MUST follow through with a UN iniated independent commission to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity and UN/IC actions during the course of the conflict between GoSL/SLA and LTTE.

Legal options to prosecute Sri Lanka

Factual Milestone Statements/ Developments:

(1) Legal Sources have stated, the “International law permits International bodies to step-in to conduct investigations on war-crimes in Sri Lanka, as the opportunities given to Sri Lanka to investigate and prosecute war crimes committed by its armed forces have been exhausted”.

(2) On a Legal prosecution option, eventhough Sri Lanka is not a signatory party to the Rome Statute, its important to note Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) have stated the ICC do have the powers to prosecute, “..a strict textual interpretation of the proprio motu rule allows the OTP [ICC Office of the Prosecutor – Moreno Ocampo] discretionary powers to investigate non-signatory countries especially when the violator nation satisfies the following conditions: (1) The State is alleged to have grossly violated international laws having committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide, and (2) Actions of the Stata has statisfied the complementarity mandated by international law”.

TamilNet has further reported that TAG views there is a clear case against Sri Lanka at the ICC and are working on legal material for submission to the ICC under the proprio motu powers under Article 15.

(3) Tamilnet reported “However, [the ICC] prosecutor Moreno Ocampo in a recent interview at the CNN, expressed reservations on using his own powers to investigate Sri Lanka”.

(4) An alternative option to overcome the political game played out by the UN and IC players has been proposed by Professor Boyle – wherby an International Criminal Tribunal for Sri Lanka (ICTSL) could be set up by the United Nations General Assembly and thus avoid the Security Council who have no powers over the Assembly.

(5) Professor Boyle has stated that the findings from the commission should provide the proof needed by the UN General Assembly to endorse the creation of the ICTSL to ensure guilty parties are made accountable for their international crimes against the Tamils.

Way-Forward

IC analysts such as the International Crisis Group report has stated “For the Tamil Diaspora group to try and pursue the politics of the LTTE without the LTTE is politically naive and politically unviable” (Report No 99, 11th January 2010).

The danger here is that if the UN and IC fails again to ‘step in’ to resolve the conflict this will pave the path for the LTTE (or splinter group) to reemerge.

Reverting back to militant methods to resolve the Genocide is a dangerous route on many levels but most of all from a human cost perspective – since, the LTTE or splinter group could potentially start a new line of attack in taking the war down South with a comprehensive bombing campaign in targeting Sinhalese areas in a very disruptive way on any commercial setting to force Economic melt-down and even worse – start killings in an indiscriminate manner duplicating the GoSL/SLA genocidal atrocities inflicted on the Tamil civilians in Vanni. Which will be of no use to anybody and only lead to further bloody prolonged war and crimes against humanity.

The Next Real  (Peaceful) Solution for Sri Lanka lies with the UN and IC jointly acting through all  diplomatic channels and economic sanction measures to ensure complete closure of the Nazi-style Concentration IDP camps; allow independent international bodies to monitor the IDP releases and freedom of movement promised; initiate War-Crimes/ Genocide investigations;  ensure bona fide Truth and Reconciliation process which needs to be internationally monitored; and develop regional devolution (political & economical) – as part of a fundamental frame-work to allow peace a chance, alleviate the ethnic Tamil suffering and overcome tragedy with Sri Lanka as a nation.

The Sri Lankan Tamil’s in general have not helped matters to date by the community inherent problem with lack of unity when it has come to unifying under the greater goal of combating Tamil Genocide and Self Determination. The current challenge that faces the Tamil community during the next episode of this appalling saga is whether they are able to set-aside their differences on strategies, speak with a unifying voice and unite at a global level to capitalise on the diaspora global presence to press for international justice and exercise the UN chartered rights to self determination [given that GoSL is alrady a signatory party to the ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’].

Further Internet based information’s

Eminent Australians have recently spoke-out on Sri-Lanka recent War Crimes, Tamil Genocide, Tamil Perscution Tamil Ethnic Cleansing – Speakers: Hon. John Dowd AO QC; Dr. John Whitehall; Mr. Bruce Haigh, Dr Sam Pari.

http://fastuntoaction.wordpress.com/eminent-australians-speak/

Professor Francis Boyle a leading American expert in international law has recently published “The Tamil Genocide by Sri Lanka” is available from Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA. 30305, USA or online at http://www.claritypress.com/Boyle-Tamil.html. ISBN: 978-0-932863-70-6 ($14.95)

I have found the following YouTube interview with Bruce Fein (America Freedom Agenda), coverage by BloodPolitics to be most eloquent in describing the problem in Sri Lanka.

Sample of demonstration video clips in London on 31st January 2009 (over 100,000 attended, which included hundreds of families with all ages of children in protesting on the suffering and hardship experienced by Tamils in Sri Lanka):

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=2yv74aDqPkU&eurl=http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/feb2009/tamv-f02.shtml