A Report Against OISL Handed Over to UNHRC in Geneva by GSLF
A report compiled by eminent legal professionals under the theme of ‘A factual appraisal of the OISL report: A rebuttal to the allegations against the armed forces’ had been handed over to UNHRC head office in Geneva by Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera on behalf of Global Sri Lankans Forum, GSLF.
The project has been initiated and sponsored by GSLF and managed by the Federation of National Organizations in Sri Lanka.
The project has been initiated and sponsored by Global Sri Lankans Forum, GSLF and managed by the Federation of National Organizations in Sri Lanka.
The two volumes report has been Authored by Dharshan Weerasekera and Edited by Kalyananda Thiranagama and Raja Gunaratne.
The Volume two of the report comprised with following nine reports prepared by internationally renowned academic on the subject matter;
- Sir Desmond de Silva QC, “Opinion for the Government of Sri Lanka”, 23rd February 2014
- Professor DM Crane and Sir Desmond de Silva QC, “Opinion to the Commission re. Legal Issues pertaining to the use of Human Shields and Hostage Taking by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
- Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Rodney Dixon QC, “Review of “Report of the Secretary- General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka”, 24th July 2014
- Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Rodney Dixon QC, Review of “An Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka 2009 2014”, 6th June 2014
- Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Rodney Dixon QC, Legal opinion concerning the law applicable to Military Operations in the Final Stages of the Armed Conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE that ended on 19th May 2009 following intense combat in the Vanni Area of Northern Sri Lanka, 22nd August 2014
- Professor Michael Newton, Professor of the Practice of Law, Vanderbilt University School of Law, “A Legal opinion for the Commission Inquiring into Disappearances”, 28th September 2014
- Major General John Holmes DSO OBE MC, Expert Military Report, 28th March 2015
- Report Submitted by Mr. Shamindra Ferdinando1 to Federation of National
Organizations on War Crime Allegations against the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka
The executive summary of the report is as follows;
By letter dated 27th January 2017, Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thero, Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera and Rear Admiral (Retd) Dr. Sarath Weerasekara on behalf of theFederation of National Organizations requested Attorney-at-law Mr. DharshanWeerasekera to produce a factual appraisal of the OISL report. On 7th March 2017, Mr.Weerasekera completed the said task and forwarded the present report.
The OISL report levels seven charges against the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL).Three of those charges deal with offences that fall under International Humanitarian Law(IHL), and four deal with offences that fall under International Human Rights Law(IHRL). The findings with respect to these charges are as follows:
Charges under IHL
1. Impact of hostilities on civilians and civilian objects. (There are two separate charges under this topic – indiscriminate shelling of civilians, and shelling of hospitals)
a) Indiscriminate shelling
It was found that the best available estimates of the number of civilians that died during the last phase of the war, coupled with testimony of outsiders including foreign journalists present at or near the conflict zone during the relevant times, negate the charge.
b) Shelling of hospitals
It was found that, the OISL Panel has among other things deliberately attempted to mislead the OHCHR with respect to the above charge, and this negates the charge.
2. Denial of humanitarian assistance to civilians in the conflict-zone
It was found that, the Panel has completely neglected to interview crucial witnesses who had first-hand knowledge including documents as to exactly how much food and medicine was in the Vanni at the relevant times, therefore this negates the charge.
3. Unlawful Killings
Four allegations of unlawful killings were analyzed, and it was found that, one, either the OISL Panel itself says that it doesn‘t have enough evidence to come to a definite conclusion as to who was responsible for those incidents, or, the Panel‘s evidence lends itself to interpretations that lead to conclusions other than the ones the Panel has drawn. Thus, the charge is negated.
Charges under IHRL
4. Violations related to deprivations of liberty (arbitrary arrests, and so on)
It was found that, the Panel‘s chief source of evidence for the above charge is anonymous witnesses, whose statements are not available to the public. The Panel compounds this problem in various other ways also, which tend to further negate the charge.
5. Enforced Disappearance
It was found that, the Panel engages in an obfuscation with respct to the number of complaints of purported enforced disappearances, and compounds this problem by certain other ways explained more fully later, the combined effect of which is to render the charge inconsequential.
It was found that, as with the charge of deprivations of liberty, the Panel‘s chief source of evidence for the charge of torture was also witnesses whose statements are not available to the public. The Panel compounds this problem in certain ways explained more fully later, the combined effect of which is to render the charge inconsequential.
7. Sexual and gender-based violence
Just a with the charges of deprivations of liberty and torture, the Panel‘s chief source of evidence for the charge of sexual and gender-based violence is also anonymous witnesses, witnesses whose statements are kept secret. The Panel compounds this problem in certain ways explained more fully later, the combined effect of which is to negate the charge entirely.
In spite of the aforesaid defects, the GOSL accepted and endorsed the conclusions of the OISL report on 15th September 2015. Meanwhile, the United Nations Human Rights Council, on 29th September 2015, adopted resolution A/HRC/30/l.29, which resolution in Operative Paragraph 1 endorsed and accepted without reservation the conclusions and recommendations of the OISL report.
The demands that the said resolution make of Sri Lanka including the call to establish special courts to try Sri Lanka‘s war time leaders for war crimes pursuant to the charges in the OISL report, are based on the recommendations of the latter report. It should be noted that, the GOSL co-sponsored resolution A/HRC/30/L.29.
Under the circumstances, the author has argued that the GOSL, the UNHRC as well as the UN General Assembly, have contravened both the spirit as well as letter of relevant laws, and have an obligation to inquire into how this could have happened, and accordingly, has recommended that:
1. The Federation of National Organizations and its affiliates are duty bound to the people of Sri Lanka to use their resources, influence and energy to pressure the GOSL to produce an official assessment of the OISL report.
2. The Federation of National Organization and its affiliates are duty bound to the people of Sri Lanka to use their resources, influence and energy to pressure the UNHRC to authorize an official assessment of the OISL report.
3. The Federation of National Organizations and its affiliates are duty bound to the people of Sri Lanka to use their resources, influence and energy to inform the UN General Assembly of what has been taking place at the UNHRC re Sri Lanka, and compel the UNGA to assign a Special Rapporteur to investigate this entire matter. Also, to impose a moratorium on the UNHRC from
pursuing any further measures with respect to Sri Lanka based on resolution A/HRC/30/L.29, until such investigation is complete.
Two volumes of the report can be read from following links;