Govt cannot dance to the tune of foreigners – Gomin Dayasri
The Sri Lankan forces should not be penalised for liberating thousands of people from the grip of the LTTE.War crimes allegations should have been investigated soon after 2009 to prevent white nations waging a witch-hunt, said famed legal luminary Gomin Dayasri adding “This is where the former government missed the bus”.
He said, “The litmus test for the government is the wording in the American backed Resolution at the UNHRC.”
Q: Is it a possibility that Sri Lanka’s military may have committed war crimes against the LTTE terrorists at the decisive final stages of the war as alleged?
A: War crimes are different from ordinary crimes. There are two imperative ingredients that are essential -not a requisite under the general law, namely (a) central intention to harm civilians (b) using excessive power than what is required. Within those parameters if any civilian deaths are caused, it is not a war crime. That is how the Americans overcame Hiroshima and Nagasaki where millions including babies were killed in a few seconds and the drones that kill innocent civilians in multiples today.
The presiding judge must wear the cap of a commanding officer of the particular unit that committed the excesses in deciding the above queries. There is no jury and in his seat sits the commanding officer. This is known as the ‘victors law’ and we are the only ‘victor’ to be punished for overcoming dreadful terrorism.
War crimes came to punish the Nazis and Japanese Forces. The Allied Forces never faced any trial nor were they punished because they won the war. There are forces within and outside the country to bring disrepute to our forces for comprehensively wiping out terrorism from its roots.
I do not find our forces guilty of such crimes since we can prove we saved over 175,000 Northerners held in captivity by the LTTE, in the largest human rescue operation known to mankind. We provided them with the basics and full democracy where they could openly criticize, enjoy political freedom and the freedom of movement. So Northerners have elected their representatives in a free and fair election defeating the government in office. Is not life better after the end of terrorism for all of us? The security forces contributed to the victory sacrificing life and limb.
There could always be isolated acts since war is a dirty game unlike cricket or rugby where there are umpires, referees and TV replays to make instant rectifications.
Q: Time and again Sri Lanka has been called upon to investigate allegations of war crimes by certain members of the international community led by the US. While some demand an international mechanism, others say it should be a domestic mechanism. Meanwhile, UN Human Rights High Commissioner Prince Zeid called upon the Government recently to set up a special hybrid court. Should Sri Lanka set up a domestic mechanism to investigate these allegations ?
A: If there are any allegations it must be investigated, especially to clear our good name in saving the country from terrorism.
This should have commenced immediately after the war and completed during the period of euphoria before the ‘white nations’ started the witch-hunt. The mistake was not having a domestic mechanism for it. This is where the last government missed the bus.
Our Constitution does not provide for a hybrid mechanism. Hybrid is a slimy device to include foreign participation in a domestic inquiry where it is not permitted, unless otherwise as invitees.
We must resort to a Special Presidential Inquiry for which there are laws enacted under a truly domestic mechanism. If required we could have foreign experts to provide evidence and foreign observers like at the Udalagama Commission where there were French/EU and Japanese representation till the end.
Q: But the former government accused the international community of constantly shifting the goalpost. Could that be the case with the new government if they fail to please the super powers?
A: The previous government had no goalkeeper and would not even be able to net a ball into their own goal. If they accused the international community of changing the goal post – it did not know where their own goal post stood. Reason – The former minister, spent time globe trotting in luxury at public expense and the man to whom he abdicated his authority without a murmur was incarcerated recently and knew little about international affairs.
The former government was a failure in a time of peace because of a lame duck Foreign Ministry and a great success in times of war due to an effective Defence Ministry.
The litmus test for the present government is in the wording of the American resolution at UNHRC. Good chance for the government to come out smelling roses or face an inquiry under a domestic municipal law with the invisible hand of an international outfit which will incur the wrath of the people. Can the government shift the American document to its advantage?
Q: What is the best way out for Sri Lanka in Geneva in the present context?
A: I have outlined the way and we can see the ineffectiveness of the government when we read the American Resolution at the UNHRC sessions. The government must first win the confidence of the people to govern. They cannot dance to the tune of the foreigners who were anxious to help the terrorists. People also know the benefits of eradicating terrorism.
Our stance at Geneva is to safeguard national interests especially security concerns.
Q: What is your take on the consensus resolution mooted by the US? What can be the repercussions of getting onto this bandwagon?
A: I don’t have the wisdom or inclination to read the minds of the US government. There are qualified people in the pay of the Westernized NGOs who know the mind of Uncle Sam better. Ask them? They will help you.
The only bandwagon we must travel is in the ‘Pro Sri Lanka’ caravan and for sure the government will travel in thatt if they want to win the hearts and minds of the majority at home.
Q: We are currently witnessing a major shift in Western power houses, with new alliances being formed and old alliances being ruptured, a case in point is Germany and US relations. Should Sri Lanka exploit these undercurrents for its benefit?
A: We must try any source for our welfare provided we do not lose our independence, culture and inherent values. These are the characteristics that helped us to overcome terrorism that no other country could. It must forever be a pro Sri Lanka stance.