Gomin praises Mangala’s Geneva statement, reiterates concern over int’l intervention


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Senior lawyer, Gomin Dayasri, yesterday commended the Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government for assuring the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Sri Lanka’s readiness to conduct a thorough domestic investigation into accountability issues.

Dayasri appreciated Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s statement made on behalf of the new administration at the on-going 30th UNHRC Geneva sessions. Dayasri, who has represented the military on numerous occasions asserted FM Samaraweera’s overall statement as prudent. Dayasri was appearing on Pethikada, a live political programme on Sirasa yesterday morning.

Heavy price

Dayasri stressed that the previous SLFP-led UPFA leadership had to pay a heavy price for refusing to inquire into accountability issues.

Had the previous leader ship acted judiciously, the country could have avoided being subjected to an external investigation as directed by a resolution moved by Western powers in March 2014 in Geneva, Dayasri said.

Those who had been found guilty through a domestic investigative mechanism could have been subsequently given an amnesty, Dayasri asserted. Against the backdrop of those who had fought for the LTTE as high as Karuna Amman and Kumaran Pathmanathan receiving amnesty during the previous administration, there couldn’t have been any issue in extending the same to the Sri Lankan military.

Responding to a query, Dayasri emphasised that the government should ensure that the proposed investigative mechanism remained strictly a domestic body. Expressing serious concern over deepening US role here, Dayasri said that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) call for international judges shouldn’t be accepted under any circumstances.

Darusman et al

The catastrophic situation caused by the likes of Marsuki Darusman, one-time Indonesian prosecutor general underscored the danger in external intervention, Dayasri said.

Comparing international laws that dealt with the World War II and conflict in Sri Lanka, Dayasripointed out that our case was an exception as in all other conflict situations existing laws always favoured the victorious party.

Dayasri regretted the failure of the previous government to act in the best interests of the country after having defeated the LTTE. In the wake of Sri Lanka’s triumph over terrorism, the US, too, unreservedly praised the military effort, Dayasri said. Had the previous government acted swiftly and decisively to address accountability issues, international intervention could have been thwarted, Dayasri said, pointing out that New Delhi refrained from backing the launch of an external investigation.

The noted patriot said that he couldn’t understand the previous government’s failure to inquire into accusations.

Asked whether a statement attributed to war winning Army Chief the then Gen. Sarath Fonseka in a Sunday Leader in the run-up to January 2010 presidential polls had caused international intervention, Dayasri strongly condemned major political parties for pursuing policies inimical to national interests. They had failed to take into consideration that the armed forces triumph was a national victory, hence politicisation of the war victory, Dayasri said.

Truth Commission

Commenting on the proposed South African style Commission for Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Non-recurrence as proposed by FM Samaraweera, Dayasri said that in theory it was right though there shouldn’t be an external role. Sri Lanka couldn’t forget that South African support to separatist forces here over a period of time, Dayasri said.

The son of one time top civil servant N.Q. Dias, recollected various interested parties, including a section of the international community as well as the media throwing their weight behind the LTTE. Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner had intervened on behalf of the LTTE, Dayasri alleged. The lawyer stressed that the victorious military shouldn’t be humiliated for want of competent politicians and officials.

The world should remember that as many as 12,000 LTTE cadres had been integrated to the society following rehabilitation, Northern Provincial Council polls held and normalcy restored, he said. The military had to pay a very heavy price particularly during the eelam war IV, therefore the political leadership should meet its responsibilities.

He admitted that his personal efforts to convince the previous government to undertake credible domestic investigations hadn’t been unsuccessful.

Dayasri said that it was too early to comment on Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government’s foreign policy. However, Sri Lanka should take into consideration the US-India partnership, growing Indian influence as well as diminished South Indian hold on the Centre.

Fielding another question, Dayasri pointed that the UNP’s conduct during the eelam war IV had been questionable. Those who had been in the Opposition during that period (2006-2009) never threw their weight behind the military effort, Dayasri alleged. Finally, they had no option but to field the war winning Army Chief General Fonseka against the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he said.

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