Lest Rapp Forgot!
The United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, in the Office of Global Criminal Justice at the Department of States Stephen J. Rapp is now in Sri Lanka until January 11. Ambassador Rapp’s visit should be examined in the backdrop of Navi Pillai, Suren Surendiran and others on behalf of the UK headquartered Global Tamil Forum (GTF) demanding that Sri Lanka should be hauled up before an international war crimes tribunal. The British premier Cameron too wants to investigate just the final months of the war on the Vanni east front, for the sake of his vote base for the next election. Whatever sources, the responsibility to fully brief the visiting officials lays on the government. It would be a grave mistake on the part of the government not to remind Ambassador Rapp of the origins of terrorism here and how it has been viewed, interpreted and commented by the majority of those operating outside the country. One of the most important issues the government would have to take up with Ambassador Rapp is the report by Darusman. The claim by the UK`s Channel 4 and the alleged military presence in the northern areas are also matters of serious concern. The importance of these topics including how the government is fulfilling the Lessons Learnt Recommendations has never flawed its significance with the lapse of few months. The aim of this article is to meet the foregoing concerns.
Lest Rapp Forgot!
Starting from Thimpu discussions far back in 1980s, every government that came into power made serious efforts to address whatever socio political issues via a series of comprehensive dialogue. Unfortunately, the history is full of collapsed talks fundamentally because there was no participation in good faith by the LTTE. Instead, a ceasefire was always a gainful period for LTTE to recapture its lost strengths, that paved a way for the next massacre.
After the signing of the ceasefire agreement in 2002 for example a claymore antipersonnel mine attack by the LTTE on June 15th, 2006 on a bus carrying 140 civilians killed 68 people including 15 children, and injured 60 others. According to Jane’s Information Group, which is a British publishing company specialising in military, aerospace and transportation topics, LTTE had carried out a total of 168 suicide attacks on civilians and military targets between 1980 and 2000. The number of suicide attacks easily exceeded the combined total of Hezbollah and Hamas suicide attacks conducted out during the same period. The LTTE forcibly removed Sinhalese and Muslim inhabitants from areas under its control, including the use of violence against those who refused to leave. Most notably, the LTTE expelled the entire Muslim population of Jaffna within two hours’ notice in 1990. The LTTE were also accused of organizing massacres of Sinhala villagers who settled in the Northeast under the dry lands policy, including Kent and Dollar farms, if we do remember. The LTTE executed prisoners of war in spite of its own declaration by the LTTE in 1988 that it would abide by the Geneva Conventions. It massacred nearly 600 police officers captured after their surrender to the LTTE in 1990, and also executed 200 Sri Lankan soldiers captured during an attack on the Pooneryn army camp, and hundreds of soldiers at the attack on the Mullaitivu army camp. The foregoing is just a fraction of atrocities LTTE spearheaded.
International experts have long suspected the existence of connections between the LTTE and other internationally designated terrorist organizations including al-Qaeda. Some of the incidents cited to prove these suspicions include the similarities between previous LTTE attacks against Sri Lanka Navy ships and the al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole which killed 17 US Navy sailors, evidence that the LTTE provided forged passports to Ramzi Yousef, the man who carried out the first attack against the World Trade Center in New York in 1993, increasing intelligence reports that the LTTE was smuggling arms to various terrorist organizations, including Islamic extremists in Pakistan to their counterparts in the Philippines, using their covert smuggling networks, and findings by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies that they were building commercial links with al-Qaeda and other militants in Afghanistan, allegations that the LTTE stole Norwegian passports and sold them to the al-Qaeda organization to earn money to fund their arms purchases.
Glen Jenvey, a specialist on international terrorism, also claimed that al-Qaeda has copied most of its terror tactics from the LTTE. He highlighted the LTTE as the mastermind that set the pattern for organizations like al-Qaeda to pursue. Some of the comparisons he used to draw his conclusions are the LTTE invented the modern suicide bomber and deployed it against political, military, and civilian targets. The LTTE continuously attacked shipping off the coast of Sri Lanka by blowing ships up and by acts of piracy. Attacks on the USS Cole off Yemen and piracy off the coast of Somalia, a stronghold for al-Qaeda followers, possibly copied the LTTE tactics. The LTTE’s use of a women’s section has being copied by Chechen terrorists, for example the “Black Widows” who played a role in the Moscow theatre hostage crisis. Attacks on civilians in buses and trains in Sri Lanka are similar to the al-Qaeda attacks on public civilian transport during the July 2005 bombings in London.
It was a known fact that thousands of children were in the ranks of the LTTE. These children took part in hostilities in front line and were used in support roles such as porters, spies, messengers, look outs, and sexual slaves. They were also used for political advantage as human shields and in propaganda. The camouflaged baby in the photograph in the scene of Thamil Chelvam’s funeral was just a one. The UNICEF figures showed that the LTTE had abducted 5,666 children until July 2006, although the organization speculates that only about a third of such cases are reported to them. Amidst international pressure, LTTE announced in July 2003 that it would stop conscripting child soldiers, but both UNICEF and HRW have accused it of reneging on its promises, and of conscripting Tamil children orphaned by the Tsunami hit in 2005. UNICEF said about 4 in 10 children abducted were girls during night time or on their way to school. Aid agencies in eastern Sri Lanka had been besieged by tearful mothers pleading for help.
It is also known that LTTE kept threatening people to give them money or to indirectly fund its activities by patronizing businesses connected with it. During raids by the RCMP, the World Tamil Movement (alleged of funding the LTTE) was found coordinating a number of illegal activities in order to control the Tamil diaspora in Canada. In May 2007, two Tamils were arrested in Australia and were charged for raising thousands of dollars in Australia under the pretense of being for charities and aid for those affected by the 2004 Asian Tsunami, which killed 50,000 people in Sri Lanka, but instead using the money to fund the LTTE. Australian Federal Police conducted raids across Melbourne and Sydney and charged the two men with “being members of a terrorist group, financing terrorism and providing material support for terrorism”. The Australian Federal Police alleged that the men have provided significant funds as well as electronic and marine equipment to the Tamil Tigers since July 2002.
Commenting on the possibility of the LTTE engaging in other similar incidents, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said “We are concerned that sort of thing is taken place in Australia, that Australian citizens are being duped into making contributions to what they believe to be honest fundraising activities in terms of relief for people in distress”. We all know that the people who are leaving Sri Lanka from Tamil Tiger controlled areas pay some hundred dollars as a forced contribution to the LTTE. In addition to this, people with special skills or a greater wealth than ordinary Tamils may have to pay thousands of dollars to be entitled to leave. The money collected from donations and criminal enterprises were transferred into bank accounts of the Tigers and from there to the accounts of a weapons broker or, the money is taken by KP operatives themselves. In 1995, when the LTTE lost Jaffna, their international operatives were ordered to increase, by a massive 50%, the amount raised from Tamils outside the island. The U.S. Department of Treasury on November 15, 2007 froze the U.S.-held assets of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), an organization registered as a charity in the U.S. and many other countries and “acts as a front to facilitate fundraising and procurement for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).” The freezing followed clear evidence that “the TRO has raised funds on behalf of the LTTE through a network of individual representatives.” This is the first time that a foreign government took action against a front organization of the LTTE by designating it and freezing its assets. In August 2005, the British Charity Commission (BCC) removed the TRO from the British Charities register, on the grounds that it “had not been able to account satisfactorily for the application of funds.” In February 2006, the BCC presented a final report highlighting irregular large cash withdrawals from the charity and its links with the LTTE. However, following the loss of charity status, the same persons connected with TRO registered a new charity called ‘White Pigeon’ and began raising funds.
Without forgetting, in 1988, it was Rajiv Gandhi who reversed the coup in Maldives launched by LTTE. Rajiv Gandhi who forcefully airdropped foodstuffs to then the terrorist controlled areas was also responsible for sending Indian troops (IPKF) to Sri Lanka in 1987. Rajiv Gandhi’s last public meeting representing then the opposition was at Sriperumbudur on 21 May 1991, in Tamil Nadu, while campaigning for the Lok Sabha. The Supreme Court of India confirmed that the killing was carried out due to personal animosity of the LTTE chief Prabhakaran towards Rajiv Gandhi arising out of sending the IPKF to Sri Lanka. Not only Rajiv Gandhi, 14 other people also lost their lives in the blast. After 15 years, the LTTE spokesman Anton Balasingham told the Indian television channel NDTV that the killing was a great tragedy, a monumental historical tragedy which we (LTTE) deeply regret. India was the first country to ban the Tigers as a result of this killing.
The U.S. Department of State banned the LTTE as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (TRO) in October 1997, and in November 2001, named the LTTE a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224. Despite such action, the front organizations continued their activities unhindered and reportedly collected large sums of money following the December 2004 Tsunami. A press release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, says, “The TRO’s efforts worldwide reportedly have allowed the LTTE to use humanitarian aid, which TRO collected for the international community after the December 2004 Tsunami, to launch new campaigns to strengthen LTTE military capacity.”
Jane’s Intelligence Review reported that the LTTE raised up to $300 million a year through various methods, including international credit card fraud and extortion of Tamil expatriates. In April 2007, the Sri Lankan High Commission in London also accused the LTTE of being behind a credit card scam. Williams, a writer at US Institute of Peace Press, alleged the LTTE of crimes such as social security fraud, counterfeit currency trading, and satellite piracy. In 2007 the New York Police Department arrested a number of LTTE operatives who were planning to use stolen credit card information to steal $250,000 in New York City, and tens of millions more from ATMs worldwide. A significant portion of money was obtained through criminal activities, involving sea piracy, human smuggling, drug trafficking, torture and gunrunning.
The LTTE were also accused of hijacking several vessels in waters outside Sri Lanka including the Irish Mona (in August 1995), Princess Wave (in August 1996), Athena (in May 1997), Misen (in July 1997), Morong Bong (in July 1997), MV Cordiality (in Sept 1997) and Princess Kash (in August 1998). When the LTTE captured the MV Cordiality near the port of Trincomalee, they killed all five Chinese crew members on board. The MV Sik Yang, a 2,818-ton Malaysian-flag cargo ship which sailed from Tuticorin, India on May 25, 1999 was reported missing in waters near Sri Lanka. The ship with a cargo of bagged salt was due at the Malaysian port of Malacca on May 31. The fate of the ship’s crew of 15 is unknown. It was suspected that the vessel was hijacked by the LTTE which was later used as a phantom vessel. A report published on June 30, 1999 confirmed that the vessel had been hijacked by the LTTE. In an incident since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in 2001, the crew of a Jordanian ship, MV Farah III that ran near rebel-controlled territory off the island’s coast, accused the Sea Tigers of forcing them to abandon the vessel which was carrying 14,000 tonnes of Indian rice and risking their lives. The crew said that the Sea Tigers fired 9 times to force them out of the vessel after failing to explode it in choppy seas 3 days earlier. The skipper of the vessel said “First they tried to set up a bomb and explode the anchor cable and when it failed they ordered us to weigh anchor”. He also said that the Sea Tigers dismantled and removed all radio communication equipment and radar from the vessel.
One of LTTE’s most secretive international operations was the smuggling of weapons, explosives, and “dual use” technologies to keep up with the military operations. The part of the LTTE responsible for these activities was given the nickname “KP Branch”, taking the initials of its highest level operative, Kumaran Padmanathan. The workers for the KP Branch were outsiders from the fighting wing of the LTTE, since the identities of those fighters were recorded and available to law enforcement and counter-intelligence agencies by India’s RAW, who had helped train many Tiger cadres in the early 1980s. The KP Branch operated extremely secretively by having the minimum connection possible with the LTTE’s other sections for further security. It finally handed over the arms shipments to a highly trusted team of the sea Tigers to deliver them to the LTTE dominated areas.
In order to carry out the activities of International arms trafficking, the LTTE operated its own fleet of ocean-going vessels. These vessels only operated a certain period of time for the LTTE and in the remaining time they transported legitimate goods and raised hard cash for the purchase of weapons. The LTTE initially operated a shipping base in Myanmar, but they were forced to leave due to diplomatic pressure. To overcome the loss of this, a new base was set up on Phuket Island, in Thailand. However, the most expertly carried out operation of the KP Branch was the theft of 32,400 rounds of 81mm mortar ammunition purchased from Tanzania for the Sri Lanka Army. Being aware of the purchase of 35,000 mortar bombs, the LTTE made a bid to the manufacturer through a numbered company and arranged a vessel of their own to pick up the load. Once the bombs were loaded into the ship, the LTTE changed the name and registration of their ship. The vessel was taken to Tiger-held territory in Sri Lanka’s north instead of transporting it to its intended destination.
Started with unidentified single gunshots upto hit and run assaults to claymore and landmines, chemical attacks, and sea and air strikes against economic targets such as ports, air ports, central bank, ceylinco building, world trade centre, telecom building, oil tanks and a lot of transformers in the North and East, keeping Tamil people in dark, it is important to remind in selves what LTTE has achieved. The vast majority of Tamils condone terrorism, especially the child conscriptions, abduction, killings, extortions accompanied by the suppression of peaceful dissent. They were looking to see a united Sri Lanka, rather than two separate States except of course, the LTTE. Instructing its cadres to be prepared to die for the cause, issued with a cyanide capsule to be swallowed in the case of capture, the survival of the LTTE on its bullyboy battalion already proved that the fighting for the cause of Tamil Ealam is no longer a valid proposition. Creditors have better memories than debtors.
The Darusman report aftermath the foregoing saga is indeed bullshit. At the outset, the decision to appoint a panel is clearly a violation of the authority under which the Secretary-General of the UN is expected to function under Article 100, Clause 1 of the UN Charter. The Article 100 stipulates that in the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organization. However being fundamentally in breach of this Article, the UN Secretary General has acted ultraviors. Therefore, the Darusman Report is NOT an official UN Report sanctioned by the UN’s Security Council, instead, it is a composition written in a report form by a group of persons interested in Sri Lankan politics on a historical reason.
Marzuki Darusman was a member of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIEGP) who skipped from the IIGEP observation role with effect from April 1, 2008. Irrespective of the grounds behind resignation, a reciprocal ethical obligation arises as to why the penal members failed to disclose any interest or relationship likely to create an appearance of partiality or bias. The member, Steven Ratner who is an adviser to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has been very critical of Sri Lanka from the beginning of the Ealam dream. Yasmin Sooka is also a figurehead responsible for the resolution that was brought against Sri Lanka before the UNHRC in May 2009. Therefore, the purpose of appointing a penal of three members having peculiar interests against the Sri Lankan government is obvious. A preconceived anti Sri Lankan government mindset has not only led to the conclusions that are one sided, but also prejudices the primary purpose of the UN to maintain international peace and develop friendly relations among nations.
The ‘report’ with shot listed events that are jotted down hither and thither has been found to be inclined towards the interests of the economic Tamil migrants in the Europe and Canada. Basically, the panel knew one thing, that is, the fallacy of incomplete evidence – the act of pointing to individual cases that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases that may contradict that position. The author wishes to quote this act of ‘cherry picking’ should arise a serious ethical consideration within the premises of the United Nations if it can be found the panel committed it intentionally bring internationally the ha-ho on the credibility of the UN as an organization, thus demanding an Alternate UN. More particularly with the selective use of evidence from sources that the panel unilaterally consider reliable leading to materials altogether favourable to their own arguments causes a dilemma as to its own credibility.
If the panel’s mandate as stated in the report is to advise the Secretary-General of the UN regarding the modalities, it should have taken a serious study on all and everything instead of ‘splitting the baby’ in terms of outrages at the last lap. The question of why has the panel focused only on the last five months of a 30 years bloodshed that resulted in over 100,000 killings is an oxymoron. The report had no answer for the circumstances that made them limit their own remit, although it is clear to the world at large. Creditors have better memories than debtors.
What has been ignored in the report outweigh than what is given. For instance, there were 11 ship loads of weapons smuggled in through the east coast via Mullaithivu for the Tamil Tigers during the Ceasefire Period between February 2002 and January 2008, all used to kill innocent unarmed Tamil civilians. Amongst the known circumstances is the international crackdown on the funding for the Tamil Tigers, started with the September 11th, where the government took control of the entire area previously controlled by the Tamil Tigers, including Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and the A9 highway leading the LTTE to finally admit its defeat on May 17, 2009. This victory essentially forms part of the victory of the global effort to curb terrorism that was unequivocally announced across the globe with the incident on September 11th.
It is also known that the tactics employed by the LTTE resulted in their being branded as a terrorist organization in 32 countries, including the United States, India, Australia, Canada and the member nations of the European Union. After three decades of fighting and four failed attempts at peace talks, including the unsuccessful deployment of the Indian Army, the Indian Peace Keeping Force from 1987 to 1990, a lasting negotiated settlement to the conflict appeared impossible when a cease-fire that was declared in December 2001 violated by the LTTE over 10,000 times. Without understanding the historical background and the seriousness of the purpose, the panel has chosen a period loosely and unaccountably. The panel must have been prudent enough to believe in the context of falling period of Prabakaran who was running short of everything including his human shield that amounted to any damn thing that he could do for his own survival at the brink of his grave, what launched by the Sri Lankan government at the latter part of the war was not necessarily a war against terror but a rescue operation that deserves its own merit.
One time it was George W Bush who asked the entire World to rally round for anti terrorism. Quoting part of his speech “Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge — huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism”. This was only when US lost four aircrafts while Sri Lanka had already lost 2 helicopters 2 fighter jets and 2 airbuses in addition to damages to 12 fighter jets and 3 air buses. With this saga, it should be noted that Sri Lanka is the first country in the modern World to eradicate terrorism on its own soil, thus bringing the ever best example to the UN forces on how to answer terrorists in a language understandable to them.
The next point is that the panel says it undertook an assessment of the “nature and scope of alleged violations” as required by its Terms of Reference to satisfy a ‘joint commitment’, which is not defined in precise terms. If the purpose of the panel is to advice the Secretary-General on the modalities, to fulfil the so-called ‘joint’ commitment to an accountability process, then initiatives of ‘accountability process’ should come from the local context. Further, any effort into understanding into the ‘nature and scope’ of alleged violations should have been more technical in nature than ‘narrating stories’ and unsubstantiated information. If the panel’s mandate does not extend to fact-finding or investigation, a doubt exists as to how the panel characterized the extent of the allegations, in order to establish credibility whenever the panel had no authenticated contemporary records other than hearsay evidence and informal information. It further goes on to say that an allegation is deemed to be credible if there was a reasonable basis for the panel to believe that the underlying act or event occurred and that ‘standard’ gives rise to a legal responsibility for the State or other actors to respond. Allegations are considered as credible in this report only when based on primary sources that the panel deemed relevant and trustworthy. So, it is panel’s infinite sovereignty to decide relevance and genuineness of information.
The panel also worries about the tactics employed by Sri Lankan armies at the later part of the rescue. It says between September 2008 and 19 May 2009, the Sri Lanka Army advanced its military campaign into the Vanni using large-scale and widespread shelling in three consecutive No-Fire Zones, where it had encouraged the civilian population to concentrate. It shelled the United Nations hub, food distribution lines and near the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) ships that were coming to pick up the wounded and their relatives from the beaches. More blatantly it says the government ‘systematically’ shelled hospitals on the frontlines and ‘all’ hospitals in the Vanni were hit by mortars and artillery; some of them were hit ‘repeatedly’ despite the fact that their locations were well-known to the Government. The Government also systematically ‘deprived’ people in the conflict zone of humanitarian aid, in the form of food and medical supplies, particularly surgical supplies, adding to their suffering. It has to be admitted without an iota of reluctance that the aforementioned had no justifications in the report.
Also, the panel has attempted its level best to show their balance in quoting violations in a smart way by fingering at not only LTTE and Sri Lankan government but also the UN staff on board for failing to speak out forcefully enough on civilian casualties during the fighting. The panel says if these ‘credible allegations’ are proven, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The author wishes to reiterate that the indictments are false. Is this Killing of civilians or Denial of humanitarian assistance? The thing itself speaks.
The lady behind this epic at UN, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is an Indian Tamil descent always to do a jolly good job in human rights. She said, “The way this conflict was conducted, under the guise of fighting terrorism, challenged the very foundations of the rules of war and cost the lives of tens of thousands of civilians”. In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Navy Seals Special Forces in Pakistan in May, 2011, it was Navy Pillay who called for more details about the action. Pillay’s request “came even as the world body continues to falter over its multi-year bid to define terrorism and also contradicted the position held by UN Secretary General, who described the U.S. action as a ‘watershed moment in our common global fight against terrorism’. This is her ‘job’!
The report also says reflecting the panel’s approach to vindicate the historical basis of their allegations that “By the 1970’s, young Sinhalese from the South, disillusioned by exclusion on class grounds, on the one hand, and young Tamils from the North, disillusioned by exclusion on ethnic grounds, on the other, reacted separately to the emerging State, turning to militancy and launching armed revolts against the State.” What is distorting in this interpretation is that then the governments used usurped power to eliminate ideologies using state violence against rebels operating on fair footage. The report also says, “The State treated these movements primarily as a threat to national security, rather than addressing the underlying political issues, meeting challenges to state power with repression, including disappearances, unlawful killings and torture.” Ironically the sentence has a footnote to four commissions appointed by the said State itself to investigate these violations. It is natural to address violence through violent means and particularly when a State is challenged through extreme violence, the State would treat these ‘revolts’ as threat to national security. It would have been better, therefore, for the panel, if they did their part without undertaking an incomplete political analysis.
There is no question that the panel has tried its best to balance between the Government and the LTTE in respect of reporting the alleged violations. However, most of the allegations appear to have come from the LTTE supportive sections and hence the balance is compromised. According to the panel, there are “six core categories of potential serious violations” on the part of the LTTE, but all “associated with the final stages of the war.” In the case of the government, the panel has categorized even “human rights violations outside the conflict zone, including against the media and other critics of the Government.” This is obviously beyond the mandate – what they have been asked for – a fundamental defect in their approach. The white van episode is another side of the same token to show alleged brutality adopted by the Sri Lankan government. It says that “A potent symbol of these operations was the ‘white vans’ that were used to abduct and often disappear critics of the Government or those suspected of links with the LTTE, and more generally, to instil fear in the population. After stating, “An elite unit within the Special Task Force (STF) of the police is implicated in running these operations,” the report says, “those abducted were removed to secret locations, interrogated and tortured in a variety of ways, including through beatings, forced nudity, suffocation with plastic bags, partial drowning, extraction of finger or toe nails, or administration of electric shocks,” as if clear evidence were obtained to make these accusations. Such a serious allegation must essentially deserve valid proofs. The ‘denial of humanitarian assistance’ being another category of violation is only a fable without much substance, except that there could have been serious logistical difficulties apart from sabotage and plunder by the LTTE of food, clothing, medicine and other amenities sent by the government to the civilians during the last stages of the war. The panel themselves admit that “these accounts should not be taken as proven facts.”
The panel says it applied the rules of international humanitarian and human rights law to the credible allegations involving both of the primary actors in the war, that is, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka. It says ‘’neither the publicly expressed aims of each side (combating terrorism, in the case of the Government, and fighting for a separate homeland, in the case of the LTTE), nor the asymmetrical nature of the tactics employed affects the applicability of international humanitarian and human rights law”. Although it tries to show middle position that they are feeding both with the same spoon, the glaring anomaly is to cloud their bias by fingering at LTTE and there is no one to come forward. Fundamentally, the panel must admit that LTTE has been in the list of designated terrorist organizations by national governments, former governments and inter-governmental organizations, where the proscription had a significant impact on the group’s activities. It is natural for many organizations that are accused of being a terrorist organization to deny using terrorism as a military tactic to achieve their goals, and definitely hide behind the lack of international consensus on the legal definition of terrorism. However, the panel with no shame advertently and with no definite parameters in relation to application of the human rights law, has attempted to promote the idea of applicability in all grounds.
The phrase “the war in Sri Lanka ended tragically, amidst controversy” is controversial. Many Sri Lankans and others around the world were relieved that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), renowned for its brutality, was defeated and that 30 years of armed conflict had come to an end. It ended tragically because the conflict could not be ended peacefully; a matter the report has not addressed. Needless to say a conflict that ends in defeating one party causes immense death and destruction in addition to the death and destruction by the perpetuation of the conflict itself. Equally true is the fact that any armed force might use maximum force to defeat an organization like the LTTE, whatever the pretensions to be ‘humanitarian.’ What was ignored the LTTE’s brutality is comparable with none of the terrorist organizations. Therefore, it is nothing strange to see that tactics are changing throughout the final combat. It is therefore sensible to be extremely nervous of an international intervention, like the Indian intervention last time in 1987, which was perhaps the biggest hope even on the part of the LTTE and their supporters. Boasted of an all-round military force – Tigers (infantry), Sea Tigers (sea wing) and Air Tigers (Air Wing), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in its January 10, 2008 report, had said that “LTTE is one of the most dangerous and deadly extremist outfits in the world and the world should be concerned about the outfit as they had ‘inspired’ networks worldwide, including the al-Qaeda in Iraq”. The panel has blatantly evaded the level of military strategies to deal with combating this Specially Designated Global Terror, (SDGT) as exactly as named by the US government.
It is good that at least the panel accepted that the LTTE refused civilians permission to leave, using them as hostages, at times even using their presence as a strategic human buffer between themselves and the advancing Sri Lanka Army and with the policy of forced recruitment of all ages, including children as young as fourteen. Point-blank shooting of civilians who attempted to escape the conflict zone, significantly added to the death toll in the final stages. This was evidenced by a group of Ambassadors resident in Colombo, also. If the panel also accepts that LTTE fired artillery in proximity to large groups of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and fired from, or stored military equipment near, IDPs or civilian installations such as hospitals, then definitely it would be the immediate cause of death of their own community. If throughout the final stages, the LTTE continued its policy of suicide attacks outside the conflict zone and even though its ability to perpetrate such attacks was diminished compared to previous phases of the conflict, and if it perpetrated a number of attacks against civilians outside the conflict zone, there is no point of arguing on the death toll. It should also be reminded that there were ‘Mahaviru’ families who did not want to get themselves vacated when the Government made an open invitation well before any military infiltration.
It must be noted, clearly without hesitation and in principle, that the barbaric practice of terrorism—deliberately threatening or harming innocent unarmed civilians to achieve political, ideological, or material gain—must be abolished through the concerted efforts of all peaceful nations. Organizations such as LTTE had established a worldwide network of operatives, with links to other terrorist organizations to provide mutual support and assistance. This network has developed links with organized crime, drug trafficking, state sponsors, and companies and corporations sympathetic to its causes. Therefore, the fight against terrorism requires a multidimensional approach aimed at the entire spectrum of terrorism. It was the National War College report that emphasized a concerted effort at the global, regional, and sovereign-state level, to eradicate terrorism through offensive action, taking the fight directly to terrorist organizations, building capabilities and policies that deter future acts of terrorism, and by attacking their centres of gravity that includes seeding and breading ideology, finances, command and control network, and sanctuaries. While it is unrealistic to hope to eliminate every single terrorist who possesses the desire to threaten innocent individuals, it is possible to eliminate the synergy created by cooperation of disparate terrorist organizations. The panel must understand that full engagement of law enforcement mechanisms is possible only such efforts reduce the operational scope and capabilities of global and regional terrorists to the point that they become threats only at the individual level to prosecute under Penal Codes. The Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1978 is a law in Sri Lanka that provides the police with broad powers to search, arrest, and detain suspects, that potentially served in the best interest of the majority of peace urging people of Sri Lanka.
Recalling the history, many diplomats and analysts believed that the war against terrorism should have been commenced when Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was assassinated. The level of patience of the government exceeded only when the LTTE made an aborted attempt to take the life of Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka on April 25, 2006 inside the Army Headquarters. Again with the closure of the Mavil Aru anicut, and the massacre in Kebithigollewa, the attempts to attack unarmed troops carrying vessels Green Ocean and Jet Liner, the incident at Digampatana were all enough why the Government had to respond militarily. These facts have been conveniently forgotten by the critics who so harshly criticize Sri Lankan government, for its militaristic approach to tame the LTTE.
However, unlike in some other parts of the World, there was no outflow of refugees from Sri Lanka. Some thousands of ex-LTTE combatants, mostly child-soldiers, have been reintegrated into the general society. Demining projects as well as large scale road rehabilitation and electrification projects are on-going and it is time taking- a common sense. There can be no argument that terror in all its manifestations must be fought relentlessly and globally. Gone are the days that Sri Lanka came under terror. Under circumstances, the motivation behind the report is quite clear; to create division among Sinhalese and Tamils, to defeat the HE the President and defeat Sri Lanka emerging as a main power in the South East Asian region. In nutshell, there is no clear scientific, objective, credible or legal basis for the report. The inclusion of disheartening photographs in the body of the report shows the sensational nature of the report. More particularly, the images of artillery battery locations indicating fire ranges are completely wrong because no artillery can operate by projection of munitions lesser than the range of effect of personal weapons. Thus it does not make sense to give credence to such an anti-Sri Lankan report. It appears the whole effort to be a waste of Secretary-General’s ‘unforeseen budget.’ It is simply sensational perhaps arousing Tamil Diaspora.
Channel 4 Clip
In fact a concerted military campaign was launched by the Sri Lankan Government to wipe out LTTE terrorism. Under circumstances that the civilians were being held as human shields by the LTTE and prevented from leaving those areas into government secured areas, the last lap of the struggle took a ‘different shape’ that has never seen anywhere in the World. It was with numerous factors, including logistics, intelligence, and more deeply the humanitarian aspects, the Sri Lankan army did its part. The biggest message for others seeking peace and democracy the Sri Lankan security forces gave is the message that terrorism can be fought and overcome. However, the residues that operate from Europe are still seen. Channel 4 video clip broadcast since August 2009 and its subsequent road-show is that classic example.
It’s one of diversified businesses of the Channel 4 is to make films and at no surprise, the main actor of the film (a gunman shooting at another laid down) is acting like at the end of a Jill ball game where the last in hand is thrown at the two Jill balls to finish the game off. The actor comfortably takes the target to shoot at head, which does not in any way happen with people with arms. Channel 4 claims that “the other new witness, who was also operating with Brigadier Shavendra Silva’s 58 Division on the front line during the final assault, claims the Brigadier was ordered by the defence secretary “to finish the job by whatever means necessary.” He said (so called witness) this was interpreted by the soldiers as a license to kill.
The author wishes to add that the interpretation on how to do, what to do and when to do is a part of strategic appreciation to be undertaken by the army itself. Obviously, the military approaches and strategies are far beyond cattle handling – where cattle are freed to do anything for some time of the day. There were so many clips in many other web sites appeared, reappeared and disappeared from time to time that made sensational at glance but gorgeous when some ladies running ‘laughing’ in a background of bomb blasts. Although violence against fellow humans is not uncommon in the Western world, such as My lai massacre, Abu Gharaib, Genocide of native American Indians, and so on, it can be safely said that the Sri Lankan soldiers kill only in self defence, a theme that established from its inception. Being an army that is trained hard to militarize a civil to a professional soldier including the training on humanitarian law, the Army Act and related aspects, it is highly unlikely for a Sri Lankan soldier to behave in the manner shown in the video clip. What is most likely is that this video clip is a fake LTTE propaganda and it is a shame that Channel 4 pursue the matter for cheap publicity. It is discreditable to see that Channel 4 relies on unauthenticated material.
More importantly, the subsequent attempts’ targeting two personalities seems how far as a media the Channel 4 has been weakened its position. However, the Channel 4 has now come down to a tax free ‘paparazzi’ role in capacity of independent contractors, becoming an international nuisance. Since Channel 4 is a public service state owned broadcaster, it is significant for the British government to intervene into Channel 4 attempts to indirectly represent terrorism under the label of ‘free speech’ and violate media ethics, inter-alia the way the Channel 4 hang around the Sri Lankan diplomats.
Neither an academic nor an international legal consensus as to what ‘terrorism’ means is available. However, it could be the use of violence irrespective of the context in which it occurs. Because of many divergences that have made it impossible to conclude a convention on international terrorism in order for a single, all-encompassing, legally binding definition, some terrorist allied groups are hiding behind the term of ‘rebels’. In whatever form it takes, the United Nations General Assembly condemned terrorist acts using a political description of criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public. It goes onto include the circumstances that are unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them. So, it is all about social devastation including loss of innocent lives. The price the Sri Lankans paid for LTTE’s dream of Ealam exceeded some eighty to one hundred thousand lives with an economic cost of nearly US$ 300 billion. More than that, it is a drop by 30 years in the country’s development and very soon we all will get to know the results of the ongoing census island wide.
Rather than apportioning the blame into two accounts by trying to find who and who are responsible for what and when, time has come to find ways not to repeat the most terrible moments of the nation. One such effective measures and perhaps a must is to identify supporting arms of terrorism that has been geographically dispersed and largely involved in money laundering, propaganda, and more tenderly in large scale brainwash. One such rendezvous is the Europe where ‘sympathizees’ have been a source of nuisance to local governance such as for example David Cameron. Since knowingly financing, planning and inciting terrorist acts have been already declared to be contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, it is important to understand that any individual or entity who acts for, or on behalf of terrorist organizations, in the name of ‘liberation’ is still terrorism. It is therefore an obligation of the member countries to institute actions under the numerous UN conventions on terrorism. Doing so also casts on countries the obligation to implement these provisions equally, to all terrorist entities across the globe.
Since the trajectory taken by the LTTE in its global operations has been complex, the actions of LTTE front organizations such as the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), the World Tamil Movement (WTM), the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC), and Tamil Youth Organization (TYO) must be the next in line to be closely monitored for. Nonetheless, forming an integral part of the LTTE overseas infrastructure, these organizations have been notorious for various acts of crime. For instance, TRO passed off its operations as charitable, when in fact it was raising money for LTTE responsible for atrocious acts of terrorism. In the United States, TRO through a network of individual representatives was the preferred conduit of funds from the United States to the LTTE. While acknowledging the actions taken in the US and Canada to proscribe the TRO and the WTM, it should be regretted that at present sufficient attention was not being paid in Europe to the activities of the LTTE front organizations. Save of course several arrests and upcoming trials in France, the UK and Italy, there are no significant emphasis placed on their ‘games’ behind the screen. Apart from the threat against Sri Lankan diplomats, and the Sinhalese living in Europe and more importantly the fund raising, money laundering, these organizations maintain ‘Thamil Cholai’ schools to brainwash the next generation.
Children dressed in LTTE combat uniforms carrying replicas of rocket launchers, missiles and machine guns were seen at a cultural festival in Thurgau in Switzerland. As young as eight years enacting a drama dressed as combatants were in the event organized by the Tamilischer Kulter Verein Thurgau, an organization purportedly for promotion of Tamil culture and art. However, the entire event turned out to be a down and out fundraiser of the LTTE. The question is why the Europe states allow LTTE front organizations to play hell with such gullible children having known that it is a blatant violation of child rights. Swiss authorities should take action against the organizers of the event as the use of children for glorification of violence and subjecting children to such practices could lead them to grow up as social misfits who believe in violence a better tool. Unfortunately while children in Europe were living in peace and security, for countless others in Vanni lived with cyanide capsules. However, the Sri Lankan government is now trying hard to bring these children who lost their childhood the psychological normalcy. However, the children of Tamil diaspora living in Europe are beyond the Sri Lankan government and can well be supervised at least at arm’s length of the Europe administration so as to avoid them being influenced by the violent acts they are asked to perform although they have no experience at all about the theater of war. Therefore it is time the Europe took a stern action to abide by Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the indirect involvement of children in armed conflicts. Since the LTTE continued to recruit large numbers of children into its armed forces- forcibly through intimidation, coercion and violence – and to use them in a range of combat and non-combat roles, it is not something uncommon for allied organizations to repeat the same.
On the other hand, the LTTE allied organizations are still believed to have a wide network of publicity and propaganda with pockets located in at least 54 countries. The largest and most important centres were located in the Europe with large Tamil expatriate communities, most notably the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Australia. In addition to these States, the LTTE is also known to be represented in countries as far-flung as Cambodia, Burma, South Africa and Botswana. Its publicity networks covering Europe, Australia and North America also included radio and TV satellites. Apart from publicity, the majority of financial support comes from six main areas, all of which contain large Tamil Diasporas namely Switzerland, Canada, Australia, the UK, the US, and the Scandinavian countries.
It is therefore vital for the EU to prohibit the engagement in propaganda and glorification of terrorism. It is imperative that the EU come to an early determination as to where the right of freedom of expression ends, what the liberation means and how terrorism works. Any failure to take timely action to curb LTTE front organization activities in Europe could have several ramifications. It could not only render the sacrifices being made on the ground to eradicate terrorism in Sri Lanka wasted but also pave the way for recapturing LTTE lost strengths using Europe money. It will also help continue funding the LTTE residues which in turn intensifies conflict within the Diaspora with those who opt for peace and reconciliation. Accordingly, it was heard that Sri Lankan government has updated a request to the EU to list front organizations of the LTTE as terrorist entities. On July 6, the UK government re-listed the LTTE among the UK’s “proscribed terror groups” following a review carried out through the UK Strategy for Countering Terrorism (CONTEST). It must be noted the persons so far arrested by the European and other authorities have all been found to be members of the TCC, TRO, TYO and other LTTE front organizations. The message is that although militarily defeated in Sri Lanka, its allied organizations continue to be active internationally, espousing the ideology of the LTTE.
Robert Blake, onetime American ambassador to Sri Lanka, the incumbent assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs in the U.S. State Department again reiterated his popular call for accountability, transparency, investigation and prosecution. As in previous visits he was talking about “serious allegations of human rights violations” giving reference to the period of the intense battle between the Tamil Tiger cadre, who were using heavy artillery amongst the civilians as cover, and the government in the humanitarian efforts in 2009. The new addition to his statement is “the importance of progress in reducing the role and profile of the military in the North and establishment of the Tamil police in those areas”.
What is forgotten is that Blake was advocating these norms to a nation that battled and defeated the most horrible ruthless terrorist movement in the World for twenty six years when some of the Western nations including the United States plunged Sri Lanka to open dialogues that U.S. never compromised in the process of dealing with terrorism. Meanwhile Blake says he had a wide-ranging and productive series of meetings with political leaders, business community leaders and members of civil society and urged that the Northern Provincial Council elections be held as soon as possible and encouraged an early resumption of talks between the TNA and the government to agree on powers to be devolved to the provinces. He further says he discussed with relevant officials the importance of disarming paramilitary groups, on which progress is being made. According to him it is important to deploy ‘Tamil police’ in the north so the military no longer needs to perform these functions. I must tell there is nothing called Tamil police any more after Nadesan – this is territorial integrity. He keeps saying, another very important facet of the restoration of normalcy is the removal of the many restrictions that had to be in place during the war against terrorism for security considerations. It must not be bewildering that the restrictions on movement at land and at sea have been gradually withdrawn during the past few years, and there is complete freedom of movement throughout the land today.
Throwing Stones in Glass Houses
When the US says missing we recall Guantanamo Bay, Diego Garcia and so many other torture chambers. When the US says accountability we recall the number of US/NATO representatives guilty of killing millions of innocent people worldwide. When the US says reduce military presence in the North of Sri Lanka, we want to know what the US is doing still in Iraq and Afghanistan and that too for over a decade. This is hypocrisy that prevails. Let us also look back a couple of bloody events belonging to this nasty history. World War 2 took place over 70 years ago but Geneva Conventions did exist and the Allies were signatory to the Conventions. The Nazi soldiers were all members of the German army though Germany did not declare war on Allied Forces – the Allies declared war on Germany. ‘British guards imprisoned German troops and tortured them’ so said Cyril Connolly one of UK’s most acclaimed writers. The Daily Mail quoted in October 2012 “Britain has a reputation as a nation that prides itself on its love of fair play and respect for the rule of law. We claim the moral high ground when it comes to human rights. We were among the first to sign the 1929 Geneva Convention on the humane treatment of prisoners of war. … Surely, you would think, the British avoid torture? “– London Cage in London was where the British military operated a torture chamber where thousands of Germans were beaten, deprived of sleep and forced to assume stress positions for days at a time. The London Cage was part of a network of nine ‘cages’ around Britain run by the Prisoner of War Interrogation Section (PWIS), which came under the jurisdiction of the Directorate of Military Intelligence.
The US Army policy for captured soldiers was to simply slaughter their captured prisoners where they stood. Michael Walsh quotes the cold-blooded slaying of an estimated 700 troops of the 8th SS Mountain Division by squads of American troops. In another example infantrymen of the SS Westphalia Brigade captured by the US 3rd Armoured Division were shot through the back of the head and their corpses were left on the streets for 5 days before they were buried.
The International Red Cross accused US, Britain and France of violating IRC agreements signed in 1929 because they were using German soldiers in hazardous work of clearing minefields, sweeping sea mines and razing shattered buildings – the Geneva Convention expressly forbids employing prisoners in any dangerous labor or in the transport of any material used in warfare. Henry Wales on 13 April 1946 said“The bartering of captured enemy soldiers by the victors throws the world back to the dark ages when feudal barons raided adjoining duchies to replenish their human live stock. It is an iniquitous system and an evil precedent because it is wide open for abuse with difficulty in establishing responsibility. It is manifestly unjust and sell them for political reasons as the African Negroes were a century ago.”
According to the International Red Cross France had enslaved nearly 750,000 Germans of which 475,000 had been captured by the Americans ‘in a deal’ that transferred them to France to be used as forced labor. Most of those who were pronounced unfit for work were those who had been starved deliberately. In a camp in the Sarthe District housing 20,000 POWs inmates were given only 900 calories a day – on an average 12 died daily. Some of the prisoners attempted to stay alive by eating coal. On 5th December 1946 the American Government requested repatriation by 1st Oct 1947 to Germany of the 674,000 German POWs it had handed to France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg. According to the Toronto Daily Star, March, 9th, 1968, “Former members of an illegal Israeli force which was given absolute freedom to slaughter Germans conceded that “More than 1,000 Nazi SS Officers died as a result of eating arsenic-impregnated bread introduced April, 13th, 1946, in an American-run prisoner-of-war camp near Nuremberg.”
After the US victory (the battle for Remagen Bridge) Germans in the Rhineland surrendered en masse. Between April and July 1945, some 260,000 German prisoners-of-war were held under American guard in the boggy fields between Remagen and Sinzig. They were kept in the open air and their daily ration was one potato, a biscuit, a spoonful of vegetables and some water. Racked by disease, at least 1,200 died, according to German records.”
The British had even denied access to the Media to examine prison camps. The Chicago Tribune Press on 19 May 1946, a year after the war wrote ‘prisoners lived through the winter in tents and slept on the bare ground under one blanket each. They say they are underfed and beaten and kicked by guards.
How Sri Lanka Treated
In Sri Lanka both media and numerous NGOs/INGOs and even religious organizations had access throughout to the refugee camps and they were all well briefed about the program set in place even though they chose to report negatively – a good example was the immediate demand to return refugees to their homes totally ignoring the issue of landmines and how these would be fatal in most cases if uncleared. The military immediately set up Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centers (PARC). The inmates of the Rehabilitation Centers were provided with educational and vocational training, sports, meditation sessions, facility to involve in religious activities, health care and even entertainment facilities. They underwent special counseling programmes in order to change their destructive ideology and attitude which they had acquired due to LTTE brainwashing. They also got training to respect the ideas and views of others and be liberal in their approach to things they did not agree with. All beneficiaries underwent extensive programmes that were designed to equip them with the ability to return to normal life in society. The Sri Lankan Government spent Rs.2.5billion to rehabilitate the LTTE cadres.
The ex-combatants – 11,664 in total with 4167 married, 7375 single and 122 widowed included 594 children (above 12 and under 18years of age). The Government took a magnanimous decision to pardon the 594 LTTE child combatants declaring that none would be charged taking the stand that these combatants were viewed more as victims than perpetrators. Many of these children have sat for O/L and A/L examinations, some going on to university while others have found laudable ways to recommence their lives as citizens of Sri Lanka.
Not reported too was the 180-day Action program designed to quickly address the basic infrastructure with $3.2billion at its disposal to take care of water, sewerage, electricity, health and education sector with 900 schools now functioning with over 260,000 students and close to 14,000 teachers. 300,000 have so far benefitted from water supply in the Jaffna peninsula. Water supply and sanitation alone has cost $164million. Omitted from mention is also the fact that 294 Hindu temples in all 5 districts have been provided Rs.41.8m in financial assistance from 2008-9 alone. Madhu Church was renovated at a cost of Rs27.4m. Many Hindu temples have been renovated by Government troops themselves. Not many would know that the Resettlement Package was 6months dry rations, total shelter grant of Rs.25,000 per family, 40 perch land, non-food relief items that include mosquito nets, kitchen sets, towels, plastic mats, bedsheets etc, hygiene packs, tool kits including hurricane lamps, seed paddy (2 bushels per acre per family for 2 acres), 12 nos roofing sheet per family and 8 nos. cement bags per family. Many of these former LTTE cadres are now married, some have even joined the Sri Lankan army whilst others are leading normal lives.
Roads are motorable except a couple of stretches along A9 and thousands of people move on a daily basis, and more than 50,000 foreign passport holders have visited the North over the last 12 months. Many of them are expatriate Sri Lankans visiting their relatives and their properties in this country for the first time in many decades. It is telling that most of them did not choose to return while the LTTE was active, but have come back after the LTTE has been defeated. The reduction in the number of security barricades, roadblocks and checkpoints in the North and the East is another significant step. There are only two reporting points, namely Omanthai and Elephant Pass. The high security zones that existed in the North and the East have also been removed progressively, with some restrictions remaining only within the Palaly Cantonment just before the KKS cement factory. Even within that Cantonment, however, civilians have access to the Palaly Airport and the KKS Harbour. According to what is often heard, almost all of the lands that belonged to civilians, which were taken over through gazette notification during the war against terrorism have been returned. Generally, the presence of the military in the North and the East has been greatly reduced with several battalions being relocated to other parts of the country. While military camps remain for security reasons, the presence of security forces personnel will be non-obtrusive. They no longer have a role to play in terms of day-to-day law enforcement; instead, these duties have been handed over to the Police. New police stations are being set up in the North and the East, and several hundred Tamil-speaking policemen have been recruited over the past three years to staff these stations.
The role of the military in the North and the East in future will be to maintain national security and ensure that any pro-LTTE elements remaining among the resettled population. The establishment of military camps in locations such as Mannar, Palaly, Elephant Pass, Pooneryn, Thalladi, Karainagar and Mullaitivu began in the 1950s with a view to enhancing internal security and minimise the smuggling of persons, drugs and materials in and out of the country. These concerns remain to this day. Similarly, the Navy has an immense responsibility to ensure the security of the seas around Sri Lanka and prevent the trafficking of persons, smuggling of drugs and the incursion of terrorists and their weapons into Sri Lanka. At the same time, the Navy also has to protect the international sea lines of communication that pass close to Sri Lanka from piracy, and provide a safe Indian Ocean not only for Sri Lanka but for the entire World. The posture of the military has been defensive due to the nature of the strategic threats to Sri Lanka.
Since the end of the civil war in May 2009 Sri Lanka’s 300,000 strong military has increased its non-military activities, leading to accusations of militarisation and even military rule. The military is involved in everything from large scale property developments to the running of roadside cafes. The military has built roads, bridges, houses and stadiums and operates numerous small restaurants and shops catering mainly for tourists from the south. The Army runs a luxurious holiday resort called Thalsevana near Kankesanthurai inside the Valikamam North High Security Zone where the residents were forcibly expelled in the early 1990s and have not been allowed to resettle despite the end of the civil war. The Navy’s Jetliner (A542) passenger ship is used as a recreational cruise ship providing onboard weddings, receptions, corporate events, parties and other social functions. The Navy’s A543 vessel provides a whale and dolphin watching service for tourists. Helitours is the commercial arm of the Air Force established in the 1970s and restarted functioning again, taking advantage of the country’s booming tourism.
In Sri Lanka’s case LTTE are classified as terrorists banned by 32 nations and do not enjoy Geneva Rights under the conventions terminologies. LTTE terrorism had lasted 3 decades with none of the foreign recipes for peace delivering any peace to the nation. 30 years of failure to deliver peace for Sri Lanka is what should haunt the international community and the UN not the excuse of 4 months. For it was only after going through daily terror deaths, bombs and killings that a Just War was declared and LTTE was militarily defeated after offering them the opportunity to surrender. While more Germans died after World War 2 ended and Germany was occupied for over 10 years after the wars conclusion, close to 300,000 Tamil civilians were saved more than 11,770 LTTE combatants handed themselves in and are all accounted for, many of them were child combatants. None of them died, were tortured, starved, ill treated or killed (as German POWs and German civilians were) but went through an indigenous rehabilitation program and are now leading normal lives.
Terrorism that takes various shapes is a global challenge that no State can ignore in the misguided notion that it is somebody else’s problem. Also, the States should not be deceived in semantic debates on either the justifications offered by so-called liberal movements which act on behalf of terrorist organizations. If any State to succeed in coping with the terrorist menace, it must necessarily have to stay ahead of the terrorists in terms of intelligence, technology and criminal justice. More than anyone else, the entire Europe must carefully reassess the security levels and take a decision whether to flourish or perish. Therefore, it is high time a serious concern is made over the law enforcement communities in the Europe to watch movements of the LTTE allied organizations. The biggest lesson the Europe to learn is if a camel gets his nose in a tent, its body will follow. Those who believe they have a way for ‘proto-state’ status in the corridors of Western powers are the myth they coddle next
by Dr. Chandana Jayalath