The United States of America first brought its resolution to the United Nations Human Rights Commission on Sri Lanka in 2012. Rajapaksa regime had sent plane loads of ‘jokers’ to Geneva spending millions of rupees to campaign against the American move.
As transporting people in busses for election rallies in the Island, Rajapaksa regime with its ‘frog in the well’ thinking had even spent enormous amount of money for the accommodation in Geneva of its ‘stooges’ who had returned to the Island empty handed with the US bringing out the resolution against Sri Lanka comfortably.
It was not once, but thrice until 2014, the US Government had succeeded in bringing its UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka ‘unmasking’ the Rajapaksa regime.
The Rajapaksa Government didn’t possess the capacity to fathom the strength of the International Community in dealing with the critical issues and the regime didn’t even think that all three resolutions in Geneva brought by the US were paving the path gradually for its downfall.
It is high time to remember, the significant role played by the late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in cornering the LTTE internationally, during Chandrika Bandaranaike’s Government. Lakshman Kadirgamar succeeded, to a great extent, in exposing the atrocities committed by the LTTE under the banner of a liberation struggle.
So after the untimely death of Kadirgamar there was hardly any figure of that stature to streamline the Lankan foreign policy with regard to the outcome of the three decades of civil strife in the Island.
However, the US resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ which was adopted unanimously with the Lankan Government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the main Opposition party joining hands in supporting it has even reflected very much the thinking of Lakshman Kadirgamar who had paid a heavy price towards strengthening the unity and integrity of the Island nation.
China supported US resolution
With various countries including China being supportive of the US resolution, it could be considered a change in the thinking of the International Community, towards Sri Lanka. The two pronged US resolution while emphasizing the need for promoting reconciliation and human rights has also clearly stated the importance of accountability by investigating the alleged atrocities believed to have been committed during the final phase of the civil strife in the country.
As far as the alleged war crimes are concerned the people in the North and the East had suffered not only in the hands of Lankan Security Forces, they had also faced the death and destruction exactly 28 years ago when the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) launched its military operations against the LTTE on 9 October 1987.
So the UNHRC Chief’s suggestion on the necessity of foreign judges investigating the alleged war crimes has been even released in the backdrop of the Jaffna General Hospital getting ready to mark the 28th death anniversary of 25 members of its medical staff who were killed by the IPKF ‘Jawans’ when they first entered the Jaffna city in October 1987.
India being the first country to involve in the ethnic crisis of the Island with the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord in 1987, the latest US resolution has highlighted the magnitude of the globalized state of the Lankan crisis.
The former UNHRC Chairperson Dr. Navanethem Pillay who was in office when the three previous resolutions were brought against Sri Lanka in Geneva in an interview with ‘Thanthi ‘, a Tamil Nadu television station a few days ago had accused India saying that the country had failed to prevent the deaths of nearly 40,000 people during the final phase of the civil war in the Island.
Navanethem Pillay said: “India in my view failed to intervene in the early stages when they could have taken very firm steps to ensure that there is a process of justice and reconciliation. It could have helped to prevent the deaths of almost 40,000 people. The argument I find India saying those are internal matters is invalid.” The former UNHRC Chief also pointed out that the UN intervened in Rwanda, Baltic, Libya and other countries and told the UN should have done so with Sri Lanka as well.
Since the people in the North and the East had suffered immensely in the hands of those who had posed as their liberators and on the other hand in the grip of the Security Forces, they will be focused towards accountability and will look forward for justice through the judicial mechanism proposed by the UNHRC Chief a week before the adoption of the US resolution.
So the overall success of the US resolution towards ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights’ will largely depend on the impartiality and the effectiveness of the judicial mechanism proposed by the UNHRC Chief to mete out justice to those who had borne the brunt of the war.