A team of Global Sri Lankan Forum, GSLF, led by its Co-Presidents Sunil Chandrakumara (UAE), Wasantha Keerthirathna (Italy), Janath Wimala (Israel) and Eric Makkawita (Swiss) with Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera from Sri Lanka discredited the one sided pro-LTTE Tamil terrorist separatists report issued by UN Special Rapporteurs Ms. Monica Pinto on Sri Lankan judiciary system which recommends foreign judges to special courts to try Rana Viruvo in the Island, in a special side event held in UNHRC premises in Geneva on 15th and 16th June 2017.
It is widely believe in the academic circle that the UN Special Rapporteurs cannot be relied upon to present a balanced reports. It has been considered that the report had been compiled as to what is needed to keep themselves being hired by the internationals NGOs and to please the pro-LTTE Tamil terrorist’s diaspora who are lavishly throwing their black money to such projects.
UN Special Rapporteurs Ms. Monica Pinto is being used to denigrate the Sri Lankan judiciary in order to bring pressure for the use of
foreign judges per the UNHRC Resolution. Academics and intellectuals in the civil society are raising concerns as to her credentials as an unbiased Rapporteur.
The team lead by GSLF presented their case against UN Special Rapporteurs and politically motivated UNHRC resolution 30/1 passed against Sri Lanka to the UNHRC General Assembly.
The full text of the presentation made by Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara is as follows;
The special Rapporteurs report on the independence of judges and lawyers in Sri Lanka which we are challenging today, has recommended to implement the Geneva Resolution 30/1 fully. It is the one which says that foreign judges are required to try our soldiers in special courts. And that resolution was based on the OISL report of Zeid Al Hussein, the High Commissioner of UNHRC. It was the OISL report which charged our forces for violating the human rights of Tamils during the last stages of war. In that we charged for genocide, indiscriminate shelling, preventing aid to Tamil areas etc.
In this short film you saw actually what has happened. Would an Army, going on rampage killing innocents would rescue 300,000 Tamils as shown in the picture? Would an Army engaged in genocide share their own food packet and water with the very people whom the massacre?
This is only a glimpse of how our soldiers have protected and treated the Tamils during the pitched battle. You will be surprised that our total casualty rate during the war were 29,000 killed and 14,000 critically wounded. At least 25% of that casualties could have been avoided if we did not consider the safety of Tamil people during the war.
Now, about the special rapporteurs report. This lady Ms Monica Pinto, has visited Sri lanka last year, spent 8 days in the country, met some people and officials and one of her conclusions was that Sri Lanka’s judiciary is highly politicised and judges give verdicts favouring the government hoping to obtain good positions after retirement!! This statement is very derogative and contemptuous in nature towards our judiciary which has a proud history dating back to 200 years. What evidence has she got to come to a conclusion like that? Can she site examples of such decisions/ verdicts of judges and their post retirement appointments? Does she has the powers of the Almighty God to read , study and analyse and conclude within just 8 days that judges in Sri Lanka are incompetent, incapable, poorly selected, corrupted, cowardly, partial, and our Attorney General Department is rather lethargic and defends the interest of only the government and not the public and our Bar Association is strongly divided along political lines?
It is very obvious that all these were pre conceived/pre-determined observations, influenced by separatist elements to justify foreign judges, lawyers and prosecutors in special courts in Sri Lanka to try our soldiers who defeated the terrorists trying to separate the North from the country.
The High Commissioner also says that SL judiciary is acting in a partial way because the accused in the cases are Sinhala and the victims Tamils. This type of a conclusion paints a contemptuous, discriminatory , and communal picture of our judiciary which is very serious. It should be done only after analysing the rulings of SL courts over an extended period of time, but his above conclusion was based only on certain emblematic cases. It is very unbecoming of an officer of that calibre, to level a charge of that magnitude based on hearsay because looking at that angle then many cases could have been cited as examples of favouring the accused Tamils over Sinhala victims!! This special Rapportuer on independence of judges and lawyers in SL also had based her observations and conclusions mostly on hearsay and not after a careful and systematic analysis of cases.
The High Commissioner says that our judges are not capable enough to handle system crimes. The High Commissioner should go through the achievements of our judges who have taken up highest positions in judiciary in foreign countries. Nevertheless before the High Commissioner says that Sri Lankan judges are not competent to handle system crimes , he must first establish that war crimes have in fact occurred in Sri Lanka. He has apparently conducted an investigation and the final report, the OISL, was released to public on 16th Sept 2015. It sets 8 charges, 4 International Humanitarian Law violations and rest International Human Rights Law violations. But we produced a report and officially submitted to UNHRC in March which has been already acknowledged , proving that OISL report is full of contradictions, half-truths and lies. A copy of that report was also handed over to UN country representative in Sri Lanka.
For, example the High Commission has charged that the government has pursued a policy of deliberately denying humanitarian assistance to the civilians trapped in the conflict zones. It is a known factor that the government had established a mechanism called Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (CCHA). It started in mid-2006 and continued till end May 2009. Meetings were held regularly chaired by the Secretary of Defence and with relevant officials and non-government representatives including Robert Blake, the Ambassadors of USA, Head of Delegation European commission, , Ms Zuki Nagra the Human Rights officer , representatives of ICRC, world food programme, UNICEF, WHO, UNFC for Refugees, FAO etc. This shows during the last stages of war the international community had access to the highest government officials responsible for humanitarian assistance to civilians in conflict zones. Therefore the international attendees at the CCHA meetings would have been the best source of evidence for the High Commission to find out whether the government pursued a deliberate policy of denying aid to civilians. But there is no indication anywhere in the OISL report that the panel of the High Commission interviewed any of the internationals representatives in the CCHA. The panel has completely ignored highly reliable witnesses including Neil Bhuni, the UN resident coordinator, in Sri Lanka at the relevant period and also US ambassador Robert Blake, who had first hand knowledge of exactly how much food and medicine were transported to North, as well as quantities of food and medicine that may have been kept as buffer stocks in conflict zones. The High Commissioner panel`s failure to consult the above people before levelling a charge of that nature constitute a material lapse on it`s part.
During the last stages of war there had been foreign media including Indians and UN. The government had given permission to establish a special medical team/unit consisting of Indian specialist doctors in close location. Would any government engaged in genocide allow such things? Have the journalists in the war front who were interviewing the Tamil civilians running towards the Army for protection reported about such genocide? Instead they have quoted civilians praising the Army for protecting them and feeding them. But the High Commission of the UNHRC says there is substantial grounds to believe that we have committed genocide. Even the statistics given by UN special reporter based in Sri Lanka confirms that large scale civilian casualties have never occurred.
Muralidar Reddy, the senior Indian journalist, was one of the foreign journalists stationed in the battle field till end of the war. He had an opportunity to speak to and interact with the civilians who were just coming out of the battle zone. Since the pro-LTTE media was reporting of alleged massacre of Tamils, being an experienced journalist, he would have been on the lookout for any statement by the civilians that might corroborate that such massacres were in fact being carried out. Reddy has written many articles but there is not the slightest indication that he heard the civilians say the government troops were carrying out massacres or that he felt or sensed the need to ask the civilians directly about such matters. Reddy has wrote that the civilians were glad to cross over to government lines. He saw mothers clutching their babies and running towards military check points. Clearly these people were running towards SL Army, presumably expecting to find safety there. Would they have been running towards the Army, if they felt that the Army have been massacring the civilians over the past days?
The High Commissioner levels the charge of genocide without speaking to the journalists such as Reddy who were there in the battle field. We are all aware that genocide is one of the slogans used by separatist eelamists to justify their demand for a separate state.
The resolution, the OISL report, the special Rapporteur’s report are all because of the human right violations alleged to have committed by our forces. But apart from challenging that we would like to ask “does the human rights law applicable to the war that we fought in SL?”. That war was categorised as Non International Armed Conflict, by the Darusman report and the OISL report. The applicable laws of the International Humanitarian Law are the ones governing only the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and not the International Human Rights Law (IHRL). LTTE became fully qualified to be a non-state actor to the conflict because they had a uniformed cadre, proper command and control system, possessed a conventional army with naval and air force wings, was able to launch a sustainable attack on government forces and they controlled and administered a part of the country with a separate police, banks and courts!!.
The main features in international Humanitarian Law are the recognition of the legally elected government`s duty to protect the territorial integrity of the country and none interference by the out siders in the internal affairs of that country. Also the protection of the civilians under the control of each party is the responsibility of the party concerned. It is a crime against humanity to use civilians as human shields and it is a known factor that LTTE was using that tactic. So the irony is it is the government forces who saved the civilians from the clutches of the LTTE who are accused of war crimes. Also since it is the IHL and not the IHRL which is applicable, it can be argued that the HC of UNHRC does not have a mandate to interfere into an area which does not come under his purview.
About 5 days ago , there was a blood shortage in the hospitals in the North. The shortage was because the high caste Tamils don`t want their blood to get mixed with low caste Tamils. Two hundred soldiers donated blood to their Tamil brethren without any hesitation. These are the very soldiers the Tamil national Alliance, the Chief Minister of the NPC, with LTTE NGO`s had been humiliating, claiming they were responsible for genocide, and calling for war crime tribunals, and demanding they be removed from North. It is alright for them to tarnish the good name of our brave soldiers and it appears they have no qualms for obtaining their blood for survival.
This is a solid reason , the caste problem in the North, why constitutional amendments too should not entertain these bogus demands . By the example of blood we have been shown that the Tamils can`t live together. Therefore all of their arguments about “letting us carve our own destiny” falls flat on the face with this new situation.
The requirement for new constitution, the war crimes, special hybrid courts, special rapporteurs report etc. are all due to the OISL report. In spite of the aforesaid defects the Government of Sri Lanka accepted and endorsed the conclusions of the OISL report. Meanwhile the UNHRC adopted resolution 30/1. It should be noted that the Sri Lankan government co-sponsored the above resolution. Under the circumstances, it is argued that the Sri Lankan government and the UNHRC have contravened both the spirit as well as letter of relevant laws and have an obligation to inquire into how this could have happened.