08 May 2011,
Leading Norwegian Lawyer on Human Rights, Harald Stabell, has filed a case under the Norwegian national law, against the Sri Lankan President and Commander-in-Chief of the SL armed forces, Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brother and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, and former Sri Lanka Army commander Sarath Fonseka, now in Rajapaksa’s custody, and several other SL commanders, for allegedly committing War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and Genocide against Eezham Tamils.
The case is filed on behalf of the Norwegian Council of Eezham Tamils (NCET) and 15 affected Norwegian Tamils. Following the latest revelations by the Norwegian Minister Erik Solheim in Norwegian national media NRK about his knowledge of the white-flag surrender, which turned into a war crime, the lawyers have indicated to the Chief Prosecutor of Norway that evidence may be sought from Mr. Solheim.
One of the 15 Norwegian Eezham Tamils who have filed the case through NCET legal effort, is seeking justice for a Norwegian citizen who died in Vanni during the war. The others are Norwegian citizens or residents who have filed the case requesting the court redress for their kith and kin killed in Vanni.
The Genocide argument is the noteworthy aspect of the Norwegian case, which points out that a systematic and planned military action was carried out by the SL state, blocking the media and humanitarian access to Vanni.
The charges filed in the case arise under Norwegian Penal Code articles (20 May 2005) §§ 101-109 §§ 5 and 6, which are applicable to specific acts committed abroad by persons who are not Norwegian citizens or residents in Norway or in another Nordic country. Under these provisions, Norwegian Eezham Tamils who lost their relatives or property can sue against those who committed these crimes against them.
Under the Norwegian penal code, courts may hear cases involving war crimes and other major violations of human rights.
Norway having signed and ratified the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC), has in accordance with the said statute incorporated war crimes and crimes against humanity in its domestic Criminal law, which paved the way for Norwegians to file review papers relating to these crimes in local courts.
Norwegian Eezham Tamil victims, directly affected by the genocidal onslaught of the Sri Lankan military have come forward to sue the military with the help of the NCET, said NCET’s group for legal action.
In the Court filing the Plaintiffs have cited the report on war crimes by the International Crisis Group and the latest report by the UN Secretary-General’s Panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka.
“Satellite Imagery Evidence Showing Sri Lanka Military Purposely or Intentionally Targeted PTK Hospital,” a key document on SL crimes against humanity, compiled by US based legal group Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) has also been cited by the Norwegian Lawyer.
Video clips collected as evidence material from the ground, compiled by Switzerland Council of Eelam Tamils (SCET) is another key material evidence for the case, according to NCET activists.
It is now left to The Chief Prosecutor of Norway to investigate whether there are grounds for charges or a police investigation.
Human rights activists believe that the Norwegian Police now has an opportunity to investigate the major Sri Lanka state actors and even Norwegian Minister Erik Solheim, the main facilitator during the Sri Lanka Peace process between the SL government and the LTTE.
The lawyer, Harald Stabell has in the past filed similar Review Papers against the Ex-Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister of Israel and many other Military Commanders for attacks against Palestinians in Gaza.
He is assisted in this case by his Junior Mary Bergram Aas.
Two years ago, already at the end of May 2009, Harald Stabell, who was watching the course of the war as well as a video discussion by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told in an interview to Thamizhiyam that there were enough solid grounds under the Norwegian law to sue the criminals of the war.
The video clip of the interview of Stabell in 2009 is reproduced here with courtesy to Thamizhiyam (the producer of Vanni Mouse) that made the document available to TamilNet on Saturday.