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Panel report will hamper the progress of UN – Champika Ranawaka

As a result they may try to revitalize the LTTE and other disgruntled military and political elements in South in the form of a common front. It has been reported the possibilities of using one or two African countries as training grounds and the possibility of the Naxalite movement and other terrorist groups in Indian sub-continent being used to supply arms and ammunition. 

04 May 2011 t

By Patali Champika Ranawaka, General Secretary, Jathika Hela Urumaya

“We are once again reminded that America (USA) can do whatever we set our mind to,” President Obama was reported to have said it in his address to the nation when he publicly declared the US forces’ killing of the leader of Al-Qaida, Osama Bin Laden. However, this statement could not be taken as “end of the war on terror.” They have done partly what we had comprehensively achieved in May 18, 2009. The killing of Osama Bin Laden should be welcomed. But, there have been a huge number of civilian deaths and collateral damages in the progress. Will there be a UNSG’s expert panel on accountability issues of the USA on their war against terror?

Despite the heavy protests by the Sri Lankan Government against publishing the so-called Advisory Panel Report of Ban Ki-moon, it has finally seen the light of day. The ostensible justification given by the UNSG for publishing it was that to ensure his transparency and due to public interest. However, the pertinent query of the Government of Sri Lanka in this regard is that if the whole exercise was to get himself advised, why was it made public?

It is clear that the appointment of this panel itself is a gross violation of the UN Charter as its article 2 clearly spells out that it should safeguard the sovereignty of its members and non-authorization of UN intervention in affairs that fall within the domestic jurisdiction of any state. If the UN had foreseen the necessity of any such enforcement measure, it should have, in the first instance, got it ratified by the UN Security Council, UN Human Right Commission or UN General Assembly. In May 2009, attempts made by some interested parties in this regard were foiled by the Security Council. Similarly, In May 2009, the UN Human Right Commission in Geneva, adopted a resolution, with an overwhelming majority, preventing the UNSG from legally appointing any such advisory, investigation commission or preparation of Indictments against Sri Lanka.

It is no secret that Ban Ki-moon is lobbing for his second term re-election this year and as a result it is inevitable that he is subject to tremendous political pressure. However, against the backdrop of his appointing a panel on Sri Lanka, he has overstepped his authority as the UNSG.

The next noteworthy factor of the report is the track record of its three members – Darusman, Zooka and Ratner who had been aided and abetted by the US, the UK and their allies, from the very inception. The brains behind the so-called expert panel report – the US and the UK – are the only two countries that so far have endorsed it.

Notwithstanding the flawed methodology with which the panel was formed, its thrust itself has overstepped its terms of reference, scope or mandate. There is no such advice spelled out in the report. Instead, it has come out with some recommendations based on unilateral and prejudiced investigations forming a basis for future indictment Authorities in Sri Lanka on charges for having fought against Neo Nazi terrorism.

According to their report they have “found credible allegations’ that comprise five core categories of potential violations committed by the GOSL. Namely, Killing of civilians through wide spread shelling, shelling of hospitals and humanitarian objects, denial of humanitarian assistance, human right violations suffered by victims and survivors of the conflict including both IDP and suspected LTTE cardres and human right violations outside the conflict zone, including against the media and other crimes of the government.

They also have found the LTTE having associated with 6 categories of violations. Namely, using civilians as a human buffer, killing civilians attempting to flee LTTE control, using military equipment in the proximately civilians, forced recruitment of children,  forced labour and killing of civilians through suicide attacks.

However, they have made four recommendations aimed only at the Government of Sri Lanka whilst none against the Global Tamil Forum or the so-called Transnational Eelam Government run by the LTTE rump in the west.

When we talk about civilian deaths we should remember that over ten thousand LTTE terrorists surrendered after the demise of the LTTE Neo Nazi leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and to the credit of the Government of Sri Lanka, it also should be remembered that none of those detained were harmed and no single incident was reported after May 1, 2009. This is a clear manifestation of the fact that the intentions of the forces of the GOSL were to eliminate the LTTE and the LTTE only.

All four Geneva conventions permit military action against terrorists or non-state actors who resort to violence or military means to achieve their political goals and more so when a terrorist outfit of the calibre of the LTTE using artillery, rockets, mortars, air strikes, naval operations. When the LTTE was using civilian hospitals, schools and even UN bodies to wage military action against the forces of the democratically elected government, one cannot rule out the possibility of people and institutions getting attacked.

However, in accordance with international “principles of proportionality”, the forces of the GOSL had never used excessive power to vanquish the LTTE, in any way similar to the methods adopted by the US and the UK to devastate Dvesctan and Hiroshima which are even now continued in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. It was also no secret that guerillas armed with AK47s in those countries had met with tom-hawks missiles and cluster bombs.

As a whole, the Ban Ki-moon – Darusman report at issue is possessed with three core essentials which are detrimental to Sri Lanka, South Asia and to the whole world in general.

Firstly, this report will hamper the progress of the UN, which is an organization setup to maintain international peace and security based on the principles of sovereign equality of its members. The deviation from the UN charter and its procedures to achieve the hidden objectives of a few will bring about irreparable damage to the rights of sovereign countries in maintaining their sovereignties. Also the failure to appoint such committees to investigate reported atrocities committed by the US military in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan where millions are killed is nothing but clear manifestation of double standard adopted by the UNSG. This stance on the part of UNSG tantamounts to his endorsement of the US hegemony, whilst justifying dictatorship and undermining democracy.

Secondly, the UNSG – Darusman Report has dealt a severe blow to the fight against global terrorism. They would forget to tell the world, the kind of so-called accountability that had prevailed in Sri Lanka if the LTTE had won the war and also would conveniently forget the resultant impact of terrorist and separatist movements would emerge in India and many other countries in the world, similar to that of recent waves of anti-government political agitations in Tunisia, Arab and North Africa. If the LTTE had won the war it would have definitely triggered a violent wave of terrorism in the whole of South Asia. The LTTE had been the sole terrorist organization in the 21st century which had possessed heavy artillery guns with MBRLS, Armed tanks, rockets, small fighter planes, naval attack crafts, submarines, international procurement network and a unique mode of diplomatic media network.

The USA had been well aware of the fact that the terrorist techniques of the LTTE were being practised by Al-Qaida and Taliban. It was found in 1993, that the LTTE had supplied Ramzi Ahamed of Philippines with forged passports and other travel documents. Ramzi was the brain behind the 1993 aborted New York World Trade Centre attack and also the assassination attempt on Pope and Boinjka where 11 US planes to be hijacked and exploded.

Under these circumstances that prevailed in the past, the entire world should have congratulated the GOSL forces for having made a valuable contribution in fighting against the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization, without having obtained any super power support. This achievement on the part of a democratically elected and relatively poor government such as Sri Lanka, undoubtedly serve as a demoralizing note to all those who indulge in terrorist activities in the world.

However, it is unfortunate that the UNSG – Darusman Report whilst undermining the GOSL’s contribution against terrorism it encourages terrorists all over the world to use civilians as human shields, so that they could subsequently interpret it as human right violations against legitimate governments. At the same time it discourages democratically elected government to fight against terrorism due to a possibility of UNSG making quarries on the so-called accountabilities.

The third essential point is the possibility of this report hampering the political and social re-conciliation process in Sri Lanka. Forgetting the past, Sinhalese, Muslims and anti LTTE Tamils are now trying to reconcile with Ex-LTTE cardres, their supporters and sympathizes who are “acting” as Tamil civilians. However, it is very unfortunate that a small but a powerful section of the Tamil community inclined to egotism and racism are now trying to revenge the GOSL forces for having vanquished Neo-Nazi LTTE and it may eventually give rise to social questions such as “look, we have tried our best to forget the past and rebuild the future at the expense of our tax money and our development. But they are pushing us towards the unfortunate past. So what else can we do without meeting the LTTE and their gurus with equal and opposite activities.” The UNSG Darusman Report can now be used by the Colombo based TNA to intensify their political activities. Sooner the better if the TNA, Tamil Nadu politicians and migrated Tamil Neo-Nazi forums that any demand on their part for a 13+ or Federal form of governance as a panacea for all the problems they and their ancestors had created, would jeopardize much sought after reconciliation attempt in Sri Lanka. They also must realize their egoistic thinking that they a superior nation and they could defeat Sinhalese will affect innocent Tamils who are trying to rebuild their lost development.

Since it is clear that the report at issue has been designed to lay the foundation to destabilize Sri Lankan state in future, it is prudent that we initiate sensible counter measures without much delay. If the US and the UK with the LTTE rump – the axis of devils are so determined they may extend their four-prone assaults on Sri Lanka, militarily, politically, economically and technologically. However, at present they are unable to use the military front due to non-availability of a stable political actor to sabotage any ongoing peace process. As a result they may try to revitalize the LTTE and other disgruntled military and political elements in South in the form of a common front. It has been reported the possibilities of using one or two African countries as training grounds and the possibility of the Naxalite movement and other terrorist groups in Indian sub-continent being used to supply arms and ammunition. So we have to be prepared for any eventuality as one cannot rule out the possibility of Libyan kind of rebel operation in Sri Lanka.

It was evident that certain western countries as their contribution towards political assault on Sri Lankan state openly supported some opposition parties and candidates during major elections in 2010. Similarly they supported opposition parties of their choice to instigate democratic waves in Arab and North Africa. Since the opposition in Sri Lanka is in a state of disarray, they may try to make use of INGOs and NGOs as a strategic front, paving the way towards diplomatic offensives at an opportune time in the future. We should not forget the fact that although the US and the UK failed in their bid to initiate some kind of investigation against the GOSL in May 2009, through the Security Council and Human Right Commission, they succeeded it in Serbia and Sudan against heavy opposition of Russia (Slav neighbours of Serbia) and China (which is heavily involved in Sudan affairs) with their Veto powers. If they still fail to initiate their sinister agenda, they may initiate the US and the UK kind of diplomatic offensive similar to one that was taken up against Sudan, Serbia and Libya without obtaining any credible ratifications of the UN system. In the meantime they can bring pressure to bear on India manipulating Tamil Nadu racist politicians and in turn will expect India to pressurize Sri Lanka on full implementation of Provincial Council act with police powers and if possible with more monitory and administrative powers. This kind of solution will create discontent among nationalist forces in Sri Lanka – the voter base of Mahinda Chinthanaya.

The third operation will be the economic assault. The west tried to impose economic sanction by way of removing GSP in USA, GSP+ in EU and also they tried to stop the IMF package due to Sri Lanka. Equipped with the new report they might impose a full scale trade embargo and a travel ban against GOSL and also they might try to freeze our foreign reserves and foreign assets. Although, these can be distant possibilities we have to have clear economic strategies to cope up that kind of a situation.

The fourth operation would be their technological assault which they now extensively use in cyber space to spread rumour and for false propaganda. This could be extended to attack our vital economic nerve centres. In this regards it is important to note that Iran had complained against their electronic system being attacked by a computer virus created by a Western company tasked to upgrade their SCADA system in electricity grid.

In view of the emerging unfavourable changes that are taking place in Sri Lanka it becomes the duty of all those who are responsible in maintaining our valuable nerve centres such as banks, power systems and telecommunication to ensure sufficient precautionary measures against any eventuality in their respective establishments.

Although, there are some who would not hesitate to treat these views as bad dreams, the fact remains that these operations are very much in place even now in many parts of the world. We have to admit that although we waged a humanitarian operation in consistent, coherent and determined manner, unfortunately our diplomatic and international political manoeuvres had failed to keep pace in a similar consistent, coherent and determined manner. Therefore, it is high time we formulated a clear cut politico–diplomatic strategy encompassing the whole foreign policy of Sri Lanka. The report at issue is a threat to the sovereignty of our motherland. Therefore, we have no alternative than to unite forgetting our political, ethnical and religious differences to fight against external aggression. If Western powers push us towards the wall, we will have no choice than to transform this country as hub of political defiance against Western interferences, worldwide.


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