Rwanda: Forgiveness helps usher in peace


The UN and UNHRC experts tend to advocate a strict form of retributive justice in the case of Sri Lanka with the intent of punishing her apparently misled by the lies and propaganda of the well funded Tamil expat groups hell bent on avenging the defeat of their project to break up Sri Lanka which ended with the defeat of their armed wing called the LTTE in May 2009. The LTTE is an internationally designated terrorist group banned by the UNSC and 32 countries including the US, the UK, the EU, Canada and India. This they did by taking into consideration three-decade-long history the outfit’s terrorism.

Sri Lanka's policy of restorative justice which was harshly criticized by these experts enabled the authorities to successfully rehabilitate over 13,000 surrendering LTTE cadres without probing the crimes committed by them under the tutelage of their terror outfit by providing them with new life skills before releasing them to society. This has helped educate these cadres and heal the burning antagonisms thereby contributing much towards reconciliation of the damaged communities.

It appears that in Rwanda, where over 800,000 people were slaughtered in clashes between the Hutus and Tutsis within a space of about three months, peace has taken hold not through 'Truth Commissions' as in South Africa which went on for nearly 16 years without real reconciliation between the conflicting black and white groups, or through 'Accountability Proceedings via Hybrid Courts' involving international judges, prosecutors and investigators, but through FORGIVENESS.

In Sri Lanka, where the confronting parties have lived side by side for centuries as members of one nation, it takes a lesser effort to determine the causes of the antagonisms which have arisen as a result of the divide-and-rule policy adopted by the colonialists.

Mahinda Gunasekera

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