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Saturday, July 13, 2024

UN Report: Way Forward

International pressure should be brought on the Government of Sri Lanka to withdraw the entire Army from the North and the East. The people are so scared of the guns that women hysterically run away merely sighting a gun. There is absolutely no threat of the LTTE reviving.

by V. Anandasangaree

(May 06, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Government’s decision to respond in detail, to the Darusman report, is welcome news for me. I had been, from the very inception, always of the view that the government should face it and try to exonerate itself from the charges lest it remain as a permanent stigma in the country’s history.
The report had been submitted to the Secretary General of the United Nations and not to Hon Ban Ki-moon in his individual capacity. Secretary Generalship of the United Nations, which office Hon Ban Ki-moon holds, is an elected and a very prestigious one in the United Nations and any mud-slinging on him will not be appreciated by any Member Country, irrespective of whatever relations it may have with Sri Lanka. It will look at it as itself having a moral duty to safeguard the honor and dignity of the UN. This is why I used to say that any such problem with any country should be left in the hands of the Government or of the Ministers concerned, to deal with. It is very unfortunate that everyone had been allowed to organize Island wide demonstrations demanding the withdrawal of the report, burning of effigies and even ridiculing his name. This act only helps to prejudice the thinking of Other Nations.

The demand by various organizations, in various countries, to have the Executive President of Sri Lanka charged for war crimes before the International Court, is itself a ridiculous one. Who will have the guts to come to Sri Lanka, arrest him and take him out of the Country or have the sanction of the authorities, if any one dares to arrest him in another country. All these demands and agitations by expatriate Tamils are of no use and will help to gain cheap popularity and also to collect money. When Kilinochchi was won by the Government Forces, I pleaded with Prabaharan, at least at that stage to save the innocent Tamils, the remaining LTTE Cadre and several billions worth of property of the people, all of which were, subsequently either destroyed or lost. He did not listen to me. I made a similar appeal to the Tamil Political Parties to save the innocent people, men, women and children or to quit their office as Members of Parliament. There was no response at all from them. I also wrote to H.E the President when Kilinochchi fell, that the war was won and to see that no innocent life is lost, even if the operation continues for one more year. Every Pro-LTTE organization, local or foreign, without advising the LTTE to call off the war and to negotiate with the Government, encouraged them by glorifying each one of their actions, pumping enough money into vanni for the LTTE to continue the war. Only a few persons found fault with the LTTE for prolonging the war. I was perhaps one of the very few to do so and was honored with the title “Traitor to the Tamil Cause”, although I faced a lot of risk to my life. The Pro-LTTE Tamil media all over the world, including some local ones, wrote a lot about me disgracing me with demeaning words. It may be out of fear for the LTTE then. What prevents them from undoing what they did during LTTE’s period I do not know. Although irrelevant, at this juncture, when His Excellency The President was campaigning for his candidates in Jaffna during the Local and Parliamentary Elections, some parties were branding me as the agent of the Government, which was never true. In my letter to Prabaharan on 2009-03-12 I wrote to him saying, “The curse of over three hundred and thirty thousand people, belonging to about 81000 families, kept by you under compulsion, will not let you live in peace and it will follow you and your heirs for many more generations to come. Those who support you even now, will not be spared. Please change your mind at least now and release those detained, to freedom. People have started dieing of starvation for which you should take the responsibility.” Everyone who had access to him could have done that successfully, but they did not do it. Even those who were very close to him did not take any efforts to do so. Their Tamil Nadu friends didn’t take any steps either. Instead all of them encouraged him to fight. These are the reasons for us to face this situation today.

Demonstrations are going on in Tamil Nadu at various places, almost every day, demanding that the President of Sri Lanka should be tried for war crimes. There are intellectuals in almost all the Political Parties in Tamil Nadu. They should known what can be done and what cannot be done. Those who openly campaigned for the LTTE’s Tamil Eelam should share the responsibility for the present situation. The LTTE was made to believe by some Pro-LTTE Leaders of Tamil Naad that there was going to be a change of Government in India and that, that change will turn out to be favorable to them. During the last few days of the war, over three hundred thousand civilians were held at bay in a small area, awaiting the results of the Indian Parliamentary Elections. The entire remaining cadre of the LTTE, including their armed cadre got mixed up with the civilians. Yet the war was going on. At one stage the ICRC too stopped giving escort to ships carrying food for the IDPs, exposing them to starvation. People had started dieing of starvation and children without milk food. Shelling was going on at random. Loss of life was in the increase. At one stage there was no one to attend on the sick and the injured. They were allowed to die. Who is to be blamed for this situation? the LTTE or the Government Forces or the well-wishers of the LTTE from Tamil Naad and other European Counties, or Canada or the States.

There were thousands of causalities. Human rights violations had taken place at random. The people who had undergone untold hardships are still mourning, more for their dear ones who lost their lives, than for the properties they lost. No one can bring them back to life. Trying Service Personnel for war crimes is not going to help. All those who actually participated in the war are still based in the North. My frank opinion is to urge the people to forget the past. Let all countries get together and find ways and means of sufficiently compensating for the loss of life and property and also everything possible to sooth their feelings.

International pressure should be brought on the Government of Sri Lanka to withdraw the entire Army from the North and the East. The people are so scared of the guns that women hysterically run away merely sighting a gun. There is absolutely no threat of the LTTE reviving. If the Government in adamant in keeping the Army in the North and the East, let them be barracked in the camps that existed before the war with the LTTE commenced. This act alone will give them great relief.

All countries should get together and assist the President with whatever guarantees he needs, to find a quick solution in a United Sri Lanka, based on a Federal System or as an alternative, the Indian Model. We can never find a solution under the Unitary System, that can be changed overnight and will never serve as a lasting solution.

In conclusion I strongly urge the Government to give an undertaking to the UN that the Government itself will try the war crimes committed. As President of Sri Lanka he has an obligation to the people to set up a Special Court to try war crime and as Commander in Chief of the Forces he can provide legal assistance to those charged for war crimes.

(The writer, President of the Tamil United Liberation front )


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