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‘War crimes’ galore!



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Ban- Ki- moon, instead of dissipating his energies chasing shadows of elusive evidence of non-existent ‘war crimes’ apparently based on some spurious and hearsay statement of a self -seeking, mentally disturbed General who is blinded by hatred and frustration and probably suffering from PTSD, imagined to have been committed on the penultimate days of the 30-year-old conflict between some people who took up arms against a lawfully established government, has at hand, if he is so keen, a more productive area to investigate. Why confine his investigation only to last days at the end of the conflict? He could expand the canvas of investigation into a larger area covering the full 30 years of this conflict. Rather than finding any ‘war crimes’ he is sure to find adequate material which could be termed ‘crimes against humanity’, by his own definition.


The list is long. Hence I give below only some glaring instances that need investigation which strike my mind. There are really many more, for it covers 30 or more years. Now that Moon is keen on finding out whether any white flag waving terrorists were killed, here is a more solid case to investigate. I refer to the slaughtering of 600 hundred unarmed policemen in the Ampare/Batticaloa districts who in 1990 had already surrendered on orders from the top after due discussions and agreement between two fighting parties at command level. There is well documented evidence of eye witnesses available.


Then there is the case of slaughtering of over a hundred devotees who were praying at a mosque in Katthankudy. This is in addition to killing of some 40 odd Buddhist monks who were traveling in a bus to participate in a religious function.


But closer home to the matter already under investigation, the case of over 250,000 Tamil civilians in the Vanni who were held as hostage and as human shields despite the respite of two days of ceasefire given to release them. The encroachment of the No Fire Zones for the non combatants and firing heavy weapons from there and moving away, exposing the innocent people to the return fire from the ‘enemy’. Also, using the civilians to build sand bunds and to dig bunkers for the fighters, thus reducing their status from ‘innocents’ to the state of combatants. This surely is the exposure of these people to the ‘enemy’ instead of helping them to safety. The children among them were not spared. Video recordings of statements of such people just coming out of the battle front are available as contemporaneous evidence.


In fact several children who surrendered at the end of the final battle at Nandikadal stated that they were forced against their wishes and the wishes of their parents, to be exposed to the fighting front. Some of them were found by security force personnel, crying in their bunkers in the jungle. It is also well known that the fleeing civilians were fired at and also killed by the ‘Freedom Fighters’.


There was also the incident where a procession led by Muslim and Sinhala dignitaries walking for a function in a mosque in Akuressa, became victims of a suicide bomber. Here too the evidence is well documented. No need for a commission to sweat, to find the facts.


I am citing incidents at random as my memory serves me. On a night in late 1984, all the villagers resident at the Kent and Dollar Farms in Vavuniya District were slaughtered with knives and swords so that no gun fire would be heard alerting the other villagers to flee. Just last year or year before last a busload of some 75 villagers, including children in Kebithgollewa, were mass murdered.


Similarly, members, including the leaders of many ‘freedom fighter’ groups, were all killed in Jaffna in their hundreds in a non- combatant situation, and some even while they were pleading for mercy. This was for the purpose of a single ‘freedom fighter’ group to acquire the status of ‘sole representatives of the Tamils’. Some of the party leaders and their followers aligned themselves with the government to save themselves. Their evidence too may be readily available.


The Northern night train carrying civilians and unarmed soldiers coming home on leave was blasted at a point off Mankulam. That deprived the people of the North of their main transport facility to the rest of the country, putting them into untold misery. Similarly, as many as over hundred unarmed sailors returning to duty after leave, were killed in a blast in the bus they were traveling in, at Digampatha, close to Dambulla, far away from the combat zone. Again, two aircraft, one carrying some journalists and another, some civilians besides Air Force personnel returning after leave, were brought down by anti- aircraft gun fire in Jaffna and Mannar areas. Further, a ship carrying civilians among some service personnel with a peace keeping monitoring unit member on board in the seas off Trinco, was unsuccessfully attacked by Sea Terrorists. Ceasefire Monitors, thereafter, refused to travel in SL Navy transporting even civilian population to and from Jaffna.


Then there were other mass -scale man slaughters. A train load of office workers and other passengers were blasted to death at Dehiwala, causing the death of over a 100 passengers. There was also a blast at the Central Bank where our beloved ‘Sakvithi’ who cheated the nation seated in a nearby office lost his eye and the explosives- laden lorry attack at Galadhari Hotel. Similarly, there were the blasts at Pettah bus stand and at Maradana bus stop.


I can go on and on like this. But I think this is sufficient to start an investigation where well documented evidence is available. By initiating on these cases, Mr. Moon will serve the cause of the human kind more usefully.


Although most of the perpetrators of these crimes have died in their later operations and some in the last phase of the ‘war’ at Nandikadal, while some who escaped to the very countries who are pushing for a ‘war crimes’ inquiry against Sri Lanka who suffered all this, have received refugee status there, the meaning of undertaking investigating these offences is this. Many of the people who collected funds to sustain and finance these evil projects are right behind Mr. Moon now, prodding him to investigate possible ‘war crimes’ by the Sri Lankan forces who vanquished them and also saved their own people from further suffering. The prominent among them have been already identified by the FBI in the US and by the RCMP in Canada in their investigations. The others are in the Norway government. It is indeed an irony that all these ‘war crime’ sponsors have now become the complainants and the people who defended themselves are prosecuted for defending themselves and also for rescuing their people from those demons, while strangely, the world body is working for them.


 


Abuddhassa kale!
Gamini Gunawardane


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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