SL that faces moves requiring it to account for its serious May 2009 war/human rights crimes is on the offensive accusing UN as being captive to the West and biased against Asian nations generally and SL specifically. SL’s less explicit but sinister message is that India itself successfully defied the UN over its human right abuse relying on the sovereignty argument; a precedent SL is following in resisting UN war/human rights crimes allegations. This line of argument casts provocative aspersions on India’s human rights record. Were India’s human rights abuses ever that abysmal as SL’s massacres for the UN to contemplate actions being seriously considered for SL? The silence on the Indian side (Ramans and Hariharans) to such a SL message is ominously suspect. The haughty Buddhist Sinhala mindset of SL is the product of the blunders of the South Block that lost the Eelam Tamil leverage, locking Indian interests into SL’s geo-politics. The quotes below from recent pieces of SL apologists reveal the gravity of the barbs SL directs at India.
The quotes relate to pieces by Nihal Jayawickrema (‘Soveriegnity’- Sunday), Dayan Jayatilleka (‘Human Rights- An Analysis of options and challenges facing South Asia- Groundviews) and Rajpal Abenayake (‘Nihal Jayawickrema should have known better about sovereignty’ Sri Lanka Guardian). Pitted against Nihal’s reasoned stance are Dayan’s barren verbosity and Rajpal’s weak rebuttal. Dayan and Rajpal as faithful apologists of the SL genocide have no hesitation whatsoever in casting generalized aspersions bringing down India’s human rights records to the disgraceful SL genocide atrocities levels.
Unlike Rajpal, Dayan is engaged in a struggle to re-connect with the Rajapakses after his contract as the SL delegate in the UN was not extended (“he didn’t have the ‘foggiest idea’ why (it) ..was not extended’ (Hindu) and replaced by Palitha Kohona a product of ANU (Canberra) and Cambridge. Dayan went to Griffith University, Australia. Rajpal’s (an Attorney at Law) piece is scrutinised as a succinct apology for the Rajapakses’ genocide. This author’s comments on the quotes are in italics.
‘.. Nihal’s .. invoking of state sovereignty ..with reference to international interventionism, … suggests.. that any resistance to human rights..investigations ..indicate(s) that “we have skeletons in our cupboards”…This is a fair observation.
‘sovereignty being an outmoded legal concept..a country have(ing) membership in the UN..functioning under (its) regime of rules.. do not have an absolute entitlement to claim that our domestic laws prevail over all else,..(and) in international law..we have entirely given up rights to our freedom or our sovereignty., (to) the suzerainty of the international community at all times..Readers are treated to a pathetic legal reductio ad absurdum argument. This style runs through Rajpal’s article. Perhaps the victorious SL should wage a war against UN to regain its ‘suzerainty’!
..Nimal..must know that..when the domestic law is silent..(India) prosecuted those (Pakistani suspects who stage(d) the attack on the Indian parliament).. (as) threats to Indian sovereignty and territorial integrity.. (and as the) war against terror .. gained primacy ..human rights concerns have taken a backseat..with the Indian government promulgating “undemocratic laws.. but the fact remains India has done what needs to be done to resist challenges to its sovereignty without being hauled before international courts and being held to account by the international community.. by and large..’self defense’ therefore is seen to be the absolute prerogative of a sovereign state. Would readers equate the killing of a handful foreign Jihardi terrorists to the massacres by the SL terrorist state of tens of thousands civilians with the entire resistance leaders and interning the rest hundreds of thousands civilians behind barb wire fenced camps. Based on the relative gravity of the two, UN treated the SL state’s massacres not the Indian killing of the few Jihardis as war/human rights crimes?
Though sovereignty is not an absolute entitlement, sovereignty..(takes)..certain extraordinary measures when there are threats to territorial integrity or threats to the fundamental existence of the state..Nihal ..lays down the gospel of the UN charter..that if we become a member nation of the UN we have to subscribe to a certain regime which includes respect for human rights in the country even at times of war etc..Was there any invasion or threat to SL’s territorial integrity from the tens of thousands civilians killed while fleeing the war zone and the rest hundreds of thousands starved civilians being interned. SL is white washing its blatant human rights crimes as threats to its territorial integrity.. !
He (Nihal) being a legal egghead is probably not aware that this global regime has been..rendered rather irrelevant..(by the) ..unilateral actions by members such as the United States..(that) invaded Iraq..with a cobbled-together ‘coalition of the willing when there was no UN sanction for such intervention whatsoever..Before anybody goes apoplexy and says that I’m advocating human rights violations in this country just because the US did so..this is not my rationale in the least. Would readers elevate the status of SL’s fight against Eelam Tamils to that of US a world power fighting a major war in Iraq? Enlightened readers are unlikely to be impressed by Rajpal’s SL style rudeness calling Nihal an ‘egghead’ though Rajpal is himself confused over the relevance of US invasion of Iraq to the war/human rights crimes in SL.
But it is a fair argument..to say ..that when the UN charter has been traduced and ..reduced in value so glaringly by member nations, its legitimacy and its global credibility as a pan-global legal regime in no longer tenable in the way it used to be..Therefore there is ample room for member states to maintain that as long as member nations are invading countries for no reason at all, we other member nations can put down terrorist insurgencies in our countries with our own devices because the UN has dangerously compromised its right to be a supervising authority on these matters in the first place..) Nihal ..(not) looking at the concepts of sovereignty and international law..to argue as (Nihal) does that we Sri Lankans are deviant in relying on the concept of sovereignty to stave off international intervention in matters of safeguarding or defending the state is meaningless’. Just because Bush US invaded Iraq disregarding the UN and reduced its relevance is no reason for demanding that UN not demand SL account for the war/ human rights crimes it committed. A sensible course of action for a deeply aggrieved SL’s vote of no-confidence on the UN’s supervisory role in its war/human rights processes is to rescind its membership of the UN.
SL opts to use the dated minimalist Hobbe’s notion of sovereignty for its UN defiant stance instead of the accepted Locke’s contingent concept of sovereignty that accommodates important developments in international law. Since the Nuremburg trials, international law as evolved not only adjudicates on disputes between states but holds states themselves accountable for fundamental violations of human rights of its citizens. Hence the successful international intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Rwanda, Somalia, East Timor and Kosovo.
Under this construction SL cannot or should not expect immunity or exception from international/UN disapproval for its human rights/war crimes. Even Delhi that once partnered the SL genocide and voted for SL in the UNHRC May 2009 meeting applauding Colombo’s victory over the Eelam Tamils subscribes to the human aspirations enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and subsequent conventions meant to prevent/redress the human sufferings that genocide causes. Delhi disassociated itself from the recent SL initiative, namely the deceptive Palitha Kohona NAM letter to Ban (issued while not in session) opposing Ban’s proposal to appoint an expert panel on SL human rights/war crimes.
SL defying the UN war crimes charges will have the support of countries with extensive records of human rights violations notably China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Libya and others.
In post Bush era the international community fine tuned the ‘terrorism’ doctrine in favour of a nuanced approach accommodating groups like the Tamil resistance fighting genocides that caused massacres especially of the entire Tamil resistance leadership (US endeavored to ship them out to safety) with tens of thousands civilians and interning of hundreds of thousands civilians in camps; all serious crimes against humanity.
Dharmic India sooner than later will distance itself from SL with a noxious record of committing such crimes with impunity. The signals that come out of the UN despite the Nambiar factor indicate that the UN will deliver on its mandated role of deterring genociders and justice to the genocide victims and not take retrograde steps tarnishing its precedent setting performance in the Yugoslavia and other notorious genocides since the 1990s.