Grand mockery of laws against terrorism

The last issue of the Sunday Times had on its front page picture the face of a very worried woman Ms Kovindaswamy from a village near Batticaloa, whose husband is being held in custody by the LTTE. The Sunday Times report said that Kandhia Kovindaswamy was ‘taken into LTTE custody’ by the LTTE after his son Rajeevan escaped from this terrorist organisation. The LTTE had informed her that only her husband would be released only after her son had returned to them.

This is the kind of ‘justice’ that is being dispensed by the ‘Liberators’ of the Tamils to people who refuse to become ‘soldiers’ of the liberation army of Prabhakaran. What does Anton Balasingham, who is now sounding notes of ‘sweet reasonableness’ to the international press have to say to the Kovindaswamy family? What does Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was elected the Prime Minister of the whole country, have to say to the Kovindaswamys? What can the representatives of government of mighty democracies, such as the United States and Britain whose top officials are scheduled to sit with representatives of this child-grabbing organisation, have to say to the Kovindaswamy family? What have all these officials, the pilgrims in search of peace, have to say to all the children that are being forcibly held in LTTE camps and to their parents? Are they sacrificial lambs at this altar of peace to which all are paying obeisance?

Is it that they believe in the Roman saying: Silent enim leges inter arma — In times of war the laws are silent or in this instance — In times of war children are dispensable? But we are told there is no war and now it is peace!

The abduction of Kandhia Kovindaswamy and him being held captive for the return of his son for conscription to the LTTE ‘army’ is a clear demonstration that all the verbiage dished out about the LTTE having given up terrorism is utter balderdash. The gullible say the LTTE has given up terrorism and forsaken violence, and there has been peace for nine months. But they are looking away from the fact that the infrastructure for a separate terrorist state is being laid out under the cover of this peace — police stations and ‘courts of law’ under a kangaroo system of justice.

A former independent journalist, now turned apologist for the LTTE in a new English language publication circulated in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, has attempted to justify the dispensation of terror justice. These ‘policemen’ and ‘police stations’ are required to enforce justice in areas under LTTE control, it has been argued. Apparently keeping fathers hostage till sons join their ‘army’ is the kind of savage justice that is being practised and is likely to be the justice dispensed in the future.

The most saddening development of it all will be that the mighty democracies of the world, the stout defenders of human rights, are likely to sit down for talks with such terrorists next Monday despite they themselves having specifically declared the LTTE a terrorist organisation.

After that is done, in connivance with the Sri Lanka government, what hopes can those kids, held against their will, have in those torture camps or their helpless parents have for their freedom?

Small and impotent as we Sri Lankans are, it has to be pointed out that those western governments — United States, Canada and European states are violating their own anti-terrorist laws as well as resolutions of the UN Security Council, which they are bound to observe. The anti-terrorist laws of these countries and UN resolutions forbid any form of negotiations — direct or indirect — with terrorist organisations. The LTTE falls well into the category of international terrorist organisations specified by UN resolutions, in addition to being proscribed in the United States, Canada, Australia, Britain and India. Can they disregard their own anti-terrorist laws and UN anti-terrorist resolutions in such a cavalier manner because it suits their objectives? Surely, cannot legal suits be brought against those officials participating in the Oslo talks on Monday for violation of their own laws? If an ordinary citizen, say, of the United States or Britain is even vaguely associated with a terrorist organisation, the punishments are indeed severe. Now, that representatives of their own governments are sitting down for talks with representatives of an officially recognised terrorist organisation, cannot those accused of consorting with terrorists plead that they be considered on the same standards of justice as the high powered officials?

It could well be that the diplomats of the United States and other countries may not have direct talks — at least officially — at Oslo and may meet in private rooms or negotiate through a third party. But anti-terrorist laws clearly spell out there can be no negotiations, direct or indirect, with terrorist organisations. In law, these nations can only talk to the Sri Lankan government on this issue.

Even more ironic will be the fact that some of the LTTE representatives at Oslo may be Sri Lankans who are now American citizens and we will have a grand mockery of anti-terrorist laws with American citizens of terrorist organisations negotiating with top American officials even of the rank of Deputy Secretary of State! And we are cooperating with these western nations in the Global War on Terrorism!

Of course, all this is being done for peace and the benefit of Sri Lanka by our genuine long standing friends. Enemies of the Sri Lankan state will be hoping for us to have more friends like this!

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