SRI LANKA (SL) WAR CRIMES –THE WEST NOT DELHI WILL DELIVER JUSTICE TO THE VICTIMS
The trigger for the enlightened West’s enthusiastic pursuit of justice for Tamils was the (10-19 May 2009) massacres by the Sri Lankan (SL) armed forces of over 20 000 civilians along with a white flag waving group of the Tamil resistance (LTTE) leaders in the narrow ‘no fire’ zone. Committed officials in the OCRHC and mandated human rights groups armed with graphic evidence/accounts of these atrocities guided the West in its noble mission to bring justice to the victims. SL that had successfully evaded justice for its six decades long genocide had all the reasons to embark upon far more serious and blatant war crimes ; namely the outrageous interning of 300 000 civilians in a Nazi+ style camps deserving not mere condemnation but urgent protective international intervention to save their lives.
Arraigned against the West over its May initiatives were ranked human rights abusers (India included) who manipulated the May meeting into applauding SL for its victory over the Tamil resistance overlooking the UNHRC’s role to redress the sufferings of the victims and protecting them from further atrocities. To SL and Delhi the May resolution was a license to commit more heinous crimes, namely to intern civilians (potential eye witnesses of the war crimes in the ‘no fire zone’) in massive numbers in sub human conditions to induce their death through hunger, disease and disappearances. These events spread a sense of doom and gloom amongst the Tamils worldwide.
The OCRHC sponsored ICC route is the accepted modality to redress the sufferings of genocide victims. Of a total membership of 49 states in UNHRC only the Western nations signed up in good faith subscribing to the modalities and humane principles underlying UNHRC’s noble role. Disgracefully most UNHRC member nations indulge in trading council votes (for geo-political, economic and pecuniary considerations) hijacking the UNHRC’s basic agenda and hence its effectiveness. This body as shamefully constituted passed resolutions applauding the perpetrators of war crimes thus encouraging them to commit more outrageous war crimes with impunity. Political undercurrents brought together strange bedfellows into a coalition (India, China, Pakistan, and OIC) to produce this outcome. Delhi that championed this tragic outcome for the Tamil victims regretfully produced outcomes potentially most damaging to India itself.
Delhi played down the damaging outcomes of the May meeting though it exposed how awry was its strategy that SL hastily allowed China and Pakistan firm footholds in India’s underbelly and constantly embarrassing Delhi harassing the TN fishermen straining Chennai/Delhi relations (SL is associated with China’s plans to weaken India by balkanising it). China’s belligerent territorial claims over ‘Arunachal Pradesh as ‘historically ...parts of Tibet at one time’ was timed to sober Delhi’s euphoria over its successful UNHRC May vote. Simultaneously OIC that as a group joined to support Delhi in the May SL vote voiced open support for Pakistan over the Kashmir issue forsaking India. The implication is that the OIC has the voting strength to bring India’s human rights abuses in Kashmir before a UNHRC though the OCRHC and other mandated human rights agencies haven’t amassed that amount of incriminating evidence as they had in SL’s war crimes case. Delhi set an unhealthy precedent when in the SL case it voted not on the merits of the charges but on the basis of its own geo-political interests. It thus abdicated all moral grounds to complain should OIC explain its actions to its own geopolitical interests. The quirk of irony is that the West that India arraigned against to support SL, desperately needs the West’s support in case Delhi has to face OIC’s Kashmir UNHRC initiatives. Whether SL itself will vote with Delhi alienating its powerful supporters in the OIC like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and even Libya is anyone’s guess. Though hypothetical now it is the West that will save Delhi from the predicament it created.
The transient political undercurrents behind the May 2009 UNHRC coalition vote apparently ended with that one meeting. Would not a sensitive Delhi distance itself from SL that is more closely allied to an Iran led OIC especially when the Bloc’s stance over India’s close to heart Kashmir issue is openly hostile. Strong hints on Narayanan trio’s role in planning the May 16-19 massacres given by Gothabhaya Rajapakse now in the public domain raises serious questions of the circumstances that compels Delhi’s meek and stooping stance before a bellicose and provocative SL. SL is virtually dictating India’s Delhi’s foreign policy and Delhi-Chennai relations? Delhi apparently dreads the UNHRC SL war crime initiatives more than SL does that for the Tamil genocide victims UNHRC is virtually paralysed over delivering justice to genocide victims.
The present international war crimes modalities evolved (and still evolving) over decades that the war crimes offenders (in SL & Delhi) may eventually face war crimes charges in jurisdictions not limited to the UNHRC associated courts. Individuals, countries and groups of nations (including EU) that view that justice has not been done in serious war crimes cases could initiate proceedings of their own individually or collectively in jurisdictions that allow them.
Pursuing SL war crimes using UNHRC/International Criminal Court (ICC) requires the Security Council approval, where China and Russia both veto power holders could effectively stall any progress on the war crimes initiative. Once this route that was to allow for a uniform and global legal system for dealing with war crimes and crimes against humanity fails, recourse is available as in pre-UNHRC years to non-ICC or national courts of several countries. Pre UNHRC precedents include provisions to net in a wider group of collaborators as war criminals who could be successfully pursued irrespective of where the crimes were committed. An action was filed in the Federal Court of Australia in (September 2006) by one Solaiman against the Pakistan Armed Forces and its collaborators under the Genocide Conventions Act 1949 and War Crimes Act for the crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in 1971 (Bangladesh) by the Pakistani Armed Forces and its collaborators. Belgium courts also accept actions in war crimes cases.
Enough work has gone in thanks to OCRHC, human rights activists and experts like Prof Boyle, Bruce Fein in accumulating overwhelming evidence of war crimes against SL for use in UNHRC or non UNHRC courts that the diaspora has to urgently track down SL war criminals at all levels to launch successful actions against them. The dedication with which the Jews functioned and their modalities/organizations are worthy of emulation in the search for redress for the victims of the SL genocide. Much ground work is needed to identify individual(s) who collaborated in the SL genocide. The Diaspora world wide is obligated to commit itself to this project. The immediate need is to stimulate and nourish the political will in the West to initiate and fund the local court proceedings. The diaspora has to continue its liaison with policy makers keeping interested nations informed on every detail of the war crimes being committed. The international media that rendered yeomen’s service in exposing the brutality of the SL genocide to support a suffering humanity needs to be gratefully acknowledged and glorified. The package of measures that UK and the EU applied in Zimbabwe may serve as a model for use by the EU nations in SL’s case. This will salvage the setback caused to the West’s humanitarian initiatives by the UNHRC as presently constituted. A Tamil leadership with credentials satisfying the diaspora’s yearning for a re-birth of Tamil consciousness is urgent to save the remaining Tamils from total extinction from a more ruthless and barbaric genocide in SL.
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