” In the presence of jumbo sized state military and intelligence service and the state backed paramilitaries and the violent government goons, the HRC is being engineered to do an exercise to undermine any further UN effort on war crimes against Sri Lanka.”
by Rajasingham Jayadevan
May 27 2011 Media reports of government appointing a five member panel of judges to investigate into the Human Rights and Fundamental rights violations in the North-East following the newly appointed Chairman of Human Rights Commission (HRC), the retired Supreme Court Judge Priyantha Perera rises the eyebrows of those who are concerned about the approach the government is taking on the issues very central to the international outcry against Sri Lanka.
According to the news, the five member panel of judges are expected to be selected in a defined racial basis to give majority to the Sinhala community in the investigations. The Judges will be paid on the basis of case by case and they will be reporting back to the HRC.
According to the new Chairman of the HRC ‘I expect to commence the process from June and the response has been encouraging for the calling of applications. The judges will act independently under the mandate of the HRC’.
When HRC itself lacks independence in its affairs, how can the panel of judges derive the very same independence propagated? This is my simple reflection on the comment of the HRC Chairman.
The new thinking of the government comes at the time when international pressure is mounting on Sri Lanka to develop its own internal mechanisms on accountability issues.
HRC that is privy to war crimes in Sri Lanka and has not presented a report on the scale of its knowledge of the complaints received and violations it is aware of to this date is now embarked on a fishing expedition. It has decided to use a new strategy to project that it is doing something creative to deal with the issues in the manner it has been mandated by the government accused of committing war crimes.
HRC’s conduct to this date is an issue that needs to be thoroughly investigated independently. In addition to its inability to play its due role, by succumbing to political compulsions at the much needed time, the organisation is accused of aiding and abetting with the military and intelligence service, thus causing serious harm to the victims and the civil society.
In addition, the new direction of the HRC comes without any effort to abolish the Emergency Rule and the anti- Terrorism law that are throttling the very functioning of the HRC’s.
HRC that comes under the President’s remit, is an organisation that is being pampered and panegyrised by the state military machinery and is now trying to give a new look with the new suit and a new broom without clearly establishing its independence from the political and military pressures and also without the government creating the conducive climate for the victims to come forward with their evidence without any fear.
War crimes accused government, in one front is celebrating its victory over the LTTE having committed untold war crimes against the civilian population and on another front is using the HRC to project a deceptive humane role on accountability issues.
Last year, the President who is responsible for the HRC, proclaimed that the armed forces did not kill a single civilian and that they “carried a gun in one hand and a copy of the human rights charter in the other”. How can the HRC bypass this statement when it is mandated by the very same President who still upholds that there were no war crimes committed and is obstructing any independent international investigations?
In the presence of jumbo sized state military and intelligence service and the state backed paramilitaries and the violent government goons, the HRC is being engineered to do an exercise to undermine any further UN effort on war crimes against Sri Lanka.
Some of the victims have fled the country and many in fear of retribution will not reach the panel to tell their experience, but the government is engineering its well known deceptive methods to play down the international pressure by using its own discredited HRC.
Will the HRC reveal its involvement with the inhuman Ranjith group of the army headed by Mohammed who is exposed in the media of gang raping and murdering Anita Annalingam in Jaffna and committing untold crimes against the Tamil civilian society from Jaffna to Vanni? It is also known that HRC passed information provided by the victims to the Ranjith group to commit further untold crimes against the complainants. Persons with scares of the wounds are the surviving testimonies the so-called HRC panel will not hear.
At the time when HRC is to put on the dock on charges of complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity, it is being now used to undertake investigations against crimes, it is quite privy to. Studying through the complaints HRC received will reveal the facts of war crimes and inhumanity of the War Heroes and according news reports abundance of these complaints will not form part of the HRC panel.
This is typical of banana republic trying to provide kangaroo court justice with the help of those played part in the crimes they are being mandated to investigate.