Karu Demands Legitimate And Credible Inquiry Into War Crimes

Sri Lankan government, by not instituting timely action by way of a legitimate and credible investigation and thereby proving the contrary, has caused irreparable damage to the country's image and stature, UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya said today.

 

 

“The rulers apparently think that such investigations would be traitorous to the country. It is not too late to acknowledge the futility and stupidity of the propaganda of a 'zero-casualty' military operation. Kataragama Premawathie Manamperi and Krishanthi Coomaraswamy incidents were some past incidents that occurred during military operations. The truth about those incidents came out because there were legitimate and credible investigations into them. They were isolated incidents and the then Government was not responsible for them. It was revealed only as a result of a proper inquiry. The international community is only asking for such an inquiry: A credible and legitimate inquiry,” Jayasuriya said in a statement today.

“They claim that the Geneva-initiative by some leading powers in the world is a 'conspiracy' against the Rajapaksas. The stark truth is that the Geneva-crisis could certainly cause a weakening of the economy in Sri Lanka. The Geneva Human Rights issue is a direct affront to the ruling cabal in Sri Lanka. The Government has failed to manage this issue and has allowed it to blow into crisis proportions, probably leading to and eventually resulting in the total collapse of our economy,” the UNP Leadership Council Chairman also added.

The full statement issued by Jayasuriya is as follows

 

 

 

 

Statement issued by Karu Jayasuriya, Chairman, Leadership Council, UNP

 

 

The Geneva Human Rights Issue is pushing Sri Lanka into a crisis-corner. The Rajapaksas are trying hard to exploit this situation to win votes in the upcoming provincial council elections. They claim that the Geneva-initiative by some leading powers in the world is a 'conspiracy' against the Rajapaksas. The stark truth is that the Geneva-crisis could certainly cause a weakening of the economy in Sri Lanka. The Geneva Human Rights issue is a direct affront to the ruling cabal in Sri Lanka. The Government has failed to manage this issue and has allowed it to blow into crisis proportions, probably leading to and eventually resulting in the total collapse of our economy. The Rajapaksas realize this reality fully well. The sheer failure of their inability to contain the issue within manageable proportions is evident in the progressive increases in electricity bills and other living expenses of the common man. The government is dreading that the Geneva-crisis would engender an economic crisis and the people would start rising against the regime. It is a blatant falsehood that Mahinda Rajapaksa would end up in the electric chair as a result of the Geneva issue.

It's time that we as a nation opened our eyes and perceive the real danger facing us. The Government is not making any attempt to educate the public along the right lines on this issue. It is indeed a great disservice to the country and her people. Allegations are being made that during the last days of the Northern war, many a violation of human rights and cruel destruction of human lives have been committed. Not instituting timely action by way of a legitimate and credible investigation and thereby proving the contrary, the Government has caused irreparable damage to the country's image and stature. The rulers apparently think that such investigations would be traitorous to the country. It is not too late to acknowledge the futility and stupidity of the propaganda of a 'zero-casualty' military operation. Kataragama Premawathie Manamperi and Krishanthi Coomaraswamy incidents were some past incidents that occurred during military operations. The truth about those incidents came out because there were legitimate and credible investigations into them. They were isolated incidents and the then Government was not responsible for them. It was revealed only as a result of a proper inquiry. The international community is only asking for such an inquiry: A credible and legitimate inquiry.

Kataragama Premawathie Manamperi incident was connected to the 1971 insurrection. There were protests even in London on the issue. The then Sirimavo Bandaranaike government did not try to evade the allegations that were brought against the murder of the Kataragama beauty queen. A criminal case was filed after a just and fair inquiry was held. Those who were found guilty were punished. In the same manner, the rape and murder of Krishanthi Coomaraswamy was an allegation made against the then government. The incident happened in 1996, in Kaithadi Army Camp in Jaffna. Amnesty International raised the matter. Chandrika Bandaranaike, the then President did not try to evade the issue. A case was filed after a just and fair inquiry was conducted. And those who were found guilty were punished. The first incident took place in a Sinhalese-dominated area while the second occurred in a Tamil-dominated area. On both occasions, the leaders of the country protected the good name of the Government as well as that of the nation by pursuing justice and law. Both these incidents did not result in ethnic riots. Yet the conduct of Mahinda Rajapaksa has brought the good name of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party to shame.

The Defense Secretary has become the spokesperson whereas it's the country that has to answer these brutal questions. He says that such inquiries would bring hardships to the soldiers. That is a ludicrous assertion.  Then why did they summon the Army Commander who won the war that was waged between two parties for 30 years before a military tribunal and castigate him? Was it done because General Fonseka engaged in politics, for that matter, against the Rajapaksas? Sarath Fonseka suffered near-fatal injuries while being the Army Commander. Furthermore, the Rajapaksa Government is even trying to accuse the Indian Peace Keeping Force of war crimes. The IPKF came into this country to fight the LTTE on our behalf. They are also making allegations of war crimes against that very LTTE. Most of the LTTE cadres are living in Sri Lanka. Many allegations are made against them. The massacres of Buddhist Monks and unarmed Police officers are among those many crimes committed by the LTTE. But the irony is, those who committed these crimes are roaming our streets quite freely and some are warming the exalted seats of the Cabinet of Ministers. One of them is a Vice President of the SLFP. The Defense Secretary and the Commander-in-Chief must make a statement about these bizarre ironies. Keeping quiet won't help any reconciliation between the two ethnic groups.

Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP, a well-known terrorist and a wanted person by the world community, is being protected by this very Government. No criminal who seeks to protect his job or benefits should be spared. If soldiers have brought disrepute to their uniform and his unit, they cannot be hailed as heroes. Every civilized society is duty-bound to find out if they have committed any crime or a violation. Such expectations are enshrined in the Geneva Conventions. It's also the responsibility of the Government. The aforementioned examples of the 1971 and 1996 incidents are valid and legitimate here. The rulers at that time did not try to whitewash these ugly and uncivilized incidents; on the contrary, they upheld the law and human values. It is no right or privilege of the present leaders to establish traditions that are utterly injurious to the wellbeing of the country.  The alleged war crimes must be investigated thoroughly and with no more delay. Such action cannot be construed to be a conspiracy against the soldiers or as devaluing of the nation. The international community is pursuing us because we failed to abide by such valid and legitimate action. Such action can in no way be construed as a violation of our sovereignty. That's not all.

During the last 30 year-old war many Tamil villages were isolated. Their inhabitants were displaced. It was our soldiers who provided the essential amenities and protection to those who were so displaced. Photographs depicting our soldiers distributing the basic rations in their helmets and carrying sick Tamil residents to the nearest places of healthcare received widest possible publicity through the world media. It is a gross insult to those kind and compassionate soldiers when the Government is refraining from absolving these very men and women of the uniform. Even the incidents that took place during the dark days of the 1987-1989 era are being adjudicated in courts of law as at now. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Government to institute legitimate inquiries into the alleged crimes and prove the innocence of our soldiers as well as the transparency of our procedures. At no time have our soldiers behaved in an uncouth manner, hiding behind the uniform.  

Shooting unarmed civilians in Rathupaswela is a direct result of rulers issuing illegal orders to soldiers. The rulers must take full responsibility for not taking any action to investigate any alleged wrong-doings, if such allegations are made. The real crime dwells in a handful of rulers who issue illegitimate orders and indulge in unbecoming conduct; they bring the entire military to dishonor and disrepute. If our soldiers are found innocent after such investigations, it is indeed a reason for all of us to be proud of.    

All these allegations are contained in the LLRC Report. These allegations were made by our own people, not by the international community. We ought to inquire into these allegations. Why, because they are contained in an official report of the Government. Disregarding such obvious allegations would lead us to be a failed and anarchical state. Furthermore, the impeachment of our 43rd Chief justice, attacks on places of worship of other non-Buddhist religions, intimidation and physical violence against media personnel, human rights activists were all incidents that took place after the 30-year war came to an end. A majority of these incidents took place outside the North and East. All these incidents are a very serious indictment on the Government's illegal action. Isn't it a signal that good governance is in danger?

All the country's crises cannot be overcome through patriotism. The Geneva crisis cannot be resolved through arrogance, idiocy, vituperative politics or a garrulous tongue. Major league players such as KP and others are engaged in making hay while sun shines. The Government's idiotic conduct, shortsighted solutions, inflammable slogans, cynical innuendos have all contributed to the fact that the international community is now looking at Sri Lanka with skewed eyes and they are seeing a picture a majority of our people would not want to behold. Selling patriotism hidden behind political slogans would not last forever. Everything cannot and should not be made use of to entice the people to vote for the beetle leaf."

 

 

 

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