How Moon panel gathered ‘war crimes’ info revealedApril 20, 2012, 9:52 pm
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Those willing to petition the UN calling for an international war crimes inquiry targeting Sri Lanka had the chance to choose from over two dozen sample letters prepared by the anti-Sri Lanka lobby, to be sent online to UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts (PoE).
Twenty five samples were made available on line to the Diaspora as the Dec 31, 2010 deadline for the closure of submissions neared. The initial deadline was set for Dec. 15, 2010, but extended by two more weeks due to the poor response.
A spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry told The Island that those pursuing an international war crimes probe wanted to help the Darusman committee to build a case against the country. The PoE report and documentaries, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields and Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished produced by the UK media, facilitated the US resolution moved at the UNHRC in Geneva, recently.There hadn’t been a similar attempt to involve any other country accused of atrocities during the conduct of security operations, the official said.
The Diaspora was told that they could choose from one of the samples if they didn’t have the time to write on their own to the PoE. Sri Lankan Tamils were urged to pressure the UN, even if they hadn’t been directly affected by the conflict and atrocities committed by GoSL forces and its leaders.
While giving three web links for those interested in knowing more about the operation, the Diaspora was told that their petitions demanding an inquiry into war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide of Tamils didn’t have to be long. The Diaspora which was asked to send petitions to MailScanner, has detected a possible fraud attempt from "www.blogger.com" claiming to be email@example.com before Dec. 31, 2010.
The PoE in its March 31, 2011 report on accountability in Sri Lanka, revealed the receipt of over 4,000 submissions from some 2,300 senders. However, the PoE has denied access to material in its possession for a period of 20 years. Even after the lapse of the 20-year-ban, the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) has assured the PoE that it could give an undertaking to its sources of absolute confidentiality in the subsequent use of information.
External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris on several occasions, both here and abroad, including at the conclusion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM 2011) in Perth last October, strongly criticized the absurdity of seeking a war crimes probe on the basis of unsubstantiated information received by PoE, which couldn’t be verified for 20 years.
A spokesperson for the Defence Ministry told ‘The Island’ that it would be important to know whether those seeking UN intervention in Sri Lanka had lived in the Northern and Eastern Provinces during eelam war IV (June 2006 to May 2009). Establishing the total number of petitions received from Sri Lankan Tamils living in each country, too, was crucial, the official said, adding that it could be done easily.
Sri Lankan diplomatic sources told ‘The Island’ that online petitions had been a key element in the post-war propaganda blitz targeting the GoSL. Commenting on the attempt made by the anti-Sri Lanka lobby to increase the number of petitions received by the PoE, sources said that the sample letters cited various reasons to support their call for immediate UN intervention. One cited reason was Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa threatening to execute defeated presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka for exposing atrocities during the final phase of the conflict, a charge denied by the official, some time ago.
Below is one of the sample letters addressed to Marzuki Darusman, (Chairman), Steven Ratner, Panel Member and Ms. Yasmin Sooka, Panel Member:
Re: Justice delayed itself considered justice denied and it is necessary to reaffirm the international community’s commitment to the principle of accountability on serious violations of international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka
Arundhati Roy, the acclaimed Indian writer and activist who focuses on issues related to social justice and economic inequality, won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, ‘The God of Small Things’. For her work as an activist, she received the Cultural Freedom Prize, awarded by the Lannan Foundation in 2002. She mentioned that last year’s war was not just a war of the Sri Lankans against the Tamil people.
"That was a corporate war. All the large Indian companies are now heading to Sri Lanka to make more money," said Arundhati Roy, while speaking at a Chennai convention. She has also voiced her opposition openly on many occasions, condemning India’s silence on the humanitarian tragedy in Sri Lanka, and calling the war "a racist war on Tamils." This should be considered as ‘war crimes’, ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’ against Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka and impartially investigated by the independent international body and bring justice to the victims, as justice delayed is considered justice denied.
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Last Updated May 24 2013 | 07:02 pm