War crimes in Srilanka and UN Resolution

Nobody gives a damn to Sri Lankan War crimes although it has been 4 long years after the end of devastating war in northern Srilankan sphere.
Why?? Simple, because they were poor, they don't offer anything special to the outside world, neither raw oil like Arab, nor Thai Massage or opium not even Cocaine, the poor little black fellows.
This issue highlighted again, for which We can see stirring arounds in Indian politics, especially in Tamilnadu on the issues of SriLnakan Tamils, as Karunanidhi threatened to pull out of UPA Government if India doesn't lobby for strongly amending the US resolution on UNHRC. But this is certainly a vote politics, to attract tamil votes, as Jayalalita did in the previous election, nothing more than gaining sympathy. Nobody cares about all those poor tamils, killed just because of their ethnicity.

Map from early January with Tiger stronghold areas
When Balachandran(Son of Prabhakaran)'s images were brought out to the medias, which suggest strongly that he might have been killed into the custody, the war crime issues were surfaced again. Agree on the point that Prabhakaran was not a good person, was involved himself in many of the war crimes himself, but Balachandran was an innocent kid not a LTTE cadre, and nobody in the world can permit u to kill the children, more brutally in the custody.
There are significant proofs of LTTE being involved in the war crimes too, using general public as human buffer, using kids in the war and many more, fine enough, but that doesn't let a country to breach it's own law and international humanitarian conventions on its own citizens. It is speculated that more than 1,00,000 tamils died in the war which ended in 2007, because of the failure of UN and other international watchdogs to protects civilians to be killed and mass-murdered from the government and LTTE armies. According to Channel4 news, 2 of the civilian leaders of LTTE, who were involved in the peace negotiations with the government had called to UN, mentioning they want to surrender, but they were also killed by the government armies.
War crime at Srilankan war : A government army shooting a LTTE cadre Stripped, bound, blindfolded and naked after capturing (Source screen shot of Channel 4 video)
We saw, Ban-ki-Moon, General Secretary of United Nations visited the Refugee camps after the war on a government chopper for 15 minutes, like a private hangout, which was ridiculous on many senses. First, UN fled away from the war zone instead of enforcing the humanitarian and HR conventions, and secondly it also failed to enforce Srilanka for a fair probe on war crimes.
After the attempts of international community and Medias, Srilankan President appointed a "Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission" (LLRC) to address and examine the issues of allegations, which came out with imposing most of the guilt on LTTE as expected. It not only supported the government brutality on Tamil Public, but also turned down many of the accusations as "reactionary" measures taken by Srilankan Army. It had made some recommendations for those supressed Tamils in the northern Srilanka, which also was not implemented by Rajapaksha, instead he removed the chief judge of Srilanka from his post.
Fair enough, some of the war matters and tyrannical rule of of Rajapaksha can be considered as the internal affairs of Srilanka, but not the war crimes. The devastation that the 26 year long war has brought to the public life of people was never considered on the sight.
Gordon Weiss saying about the last months of the war and how UN flee from the war zone (source : screenshot of Channel 4 Video)
Timeline of the Srilankan LTTE war :
  • 1976- Establishment of LTTE, previously known as TNT, among many of the armed groups active in the northern part of Srilanka
  • 1983- Beginning of First Eealm war, Anti-Tamil Protest began, thousands flee, hundreds die, Tigers attack in the north and killed 13 Soldiers on July
  • 1987- India gets involved sending its troops to enforce peace, going for 3 years long war and killing more than 1000 soldiers
  • 1990- Second Eealm War begins after India withdraws, Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eealm (LTTE) takes control of Jaffna, northern important city of Srilanka
  • 1991- 21st May, LTTE Suicide bomber killed Indian Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi in an attack
At Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991, the belt-bomb assassin Dhanu(2nd from the left) waits with Garland in her hands for Rajeev Gandhi to be assassinated (image : Last Moments of Mr. Rajeev Gandhi
  • 1993- 2nd May, Srilankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa is also killed in another suicide bomb attack by LTTE
  • 1995- Eealm war 3 begins, after rebels lose Jaffna to government forces
  • upto 2001- War continues fiercely around north east, Suicide bomb attacks at Kolambo kills 100+, President Chandrika Kumaratunga wounded on another attack by LTTE
  • 2002- Norway meditates to make both fighting parties sign a milestone ceasefire
  • 2003- Tigers claim to quit the peace talks but the ceasefire continues
  • 2004- Colonel Karuna Amman splits from LTTE with 6000 rebels, foreign Minister gets killed
  • 2005- Anti-LTTE hard-liner Mahinda Rajapaksha wins the election
  • 2006- Talks failed in Geneva, fights break out again, Eealm war 4 begins in LTTE terms
  • 2007- LTTE lost its eastern stronghold positions
  • 2008- Government calls off the ceasefire in January being hard-offensive
  • 2009- 2nd January 2009, LTTE lost its de facto capital Kilinochchi control to government troops
  • 2009- 2oth April government gives 24 hours to rebels to surrender
  • 2009- Tigers call for a unilateral ceasefire, which Rajapaksha rejects terming it to be a "joke" and repeated there's no way out for rebels than surrendering without terms
  • 2009- 16th May, Tigers loses entire coast since the war began, President of Srilanka announced LTTE is defeated militarily, Fights move being more fierce
  • 2009- 17th May 70 LTTE fighters killed while trying to flee in the disguise of civilians in a boat
  • 2009- 16th May Srilanka declares victory over terrorism
  • 2009- 17th May Tigers admit the defeat
  • 2009- LTTE chief gets killed in the morning of 19th May
LTTE Supremo VeluPillai Prabhakaran In his Picture in the Left and Dead body in the right (Image : Wikipedia)
Casualties and Destruction : The war has costed more than 1,00,000 lives, if gone thoroughly, many more than that. Conflicting figures have been brought out, some by government agencies, some by LLRC and some by international medis quoting the red-cross doctors and other health workers on the battlefield. According to LLRC, 27639 LTTE fighters, 23790 Srilankan army and Police, 1155 Indian Army and tens of thousands of civilians lost their lives during the war. But on the date of 18 may 2009, cessation of hostility claimed 5556 soldiers dead  28414 wounded and 169 missing whereas 22247 LTTE cadres lost their lives.
But UN report based on creditable witnesses claimed 6,500 civilians lives were lost only between mid-january to mid-april. Gordon Weiss, a former UN Official has stated the civilian killings in the final months of the war was more than 40,000. These claims totally reject the claim of Rajapaksha "zero civilian casualties", as channel 4 video shows hospitals and schools being bombed and attacked.
Example of war crime in srilankan war, A LTTE cadre tied alive in a tree, who was found dead later (source : screenshot from channel 4 documentary)
The war approximately costed US$ 200 billion. 
War Crimes Committed : "Report of the General Secretary's Panel of Experts on Accountability In Srilanka", Published on 31st March 2011, directly claims the probability of War Crimes Committed by the both sides, and lack of accountability from the government of Srilanka. It has divided the allegations on Srilanka government into 5 categories :
1. Killing of civilians through widespread shelling
2. Shelling of hospitals and Humanitarian objects
3. Denial of Humanitarian Assistance
4. Human Rights Violations of victims and the survivors of the conflict
5. Human Rights Violations outside the conflict zone.
In the same way the report has stated some of the alleged war crimes committed by the LTTE Cadres as :
1. Using Civilians as Human Buffer
2. Killing Civilians who attempted to flee from their controlled zone
3. Force recruitment of Children
4. Killing Civilians through Suicide attacks  
The report openly suggest to find creditable evidences of the war crime by the government forces around the end of the bloody war. The report has demanded the fair probe too, on the basis of clues of civilian mass murders, denial of humanitarian objects and facilities even medical treatments. The report suggests that civilian residential areas and camps were bombed mercilessly, detainees were sexually abused and killed after being captured and many more. 
Moreover, Hundreds of thousands of civilians were trapped into the very little space of "No Fire Zone", where both rebels and armies fired and violated it. Government even stopped the humanitarian adds there, for trapping the rebels flee away.
All in all, Was crimes were committed there in large scale, and the Srilankan government itself was involved on cleaning the evidences of crimes and forcing the people to stay shut about the war.
On the left, Balachandran (Prabhakaran's son) alive at Army Custody and on the right Balachandran shot dead (source : the Hindu)
Killing of Pebhakaran's Son : Prabhakaran's 12 year old son Balachandran can be seen alive before he was shot dead. The channel 4 investigation team has confirmed that the before and after death images of the 12 years old boy had been taken from the same camera and the creditable evidences say he was shot dead after being captured. The image speaks up a chilling story of three different images : 1. a boy sitting with some kinds of snacks in his hand in the mood like he has been lost in the supermarket. 2. the boy looking up with hopeful eyes to find someone he knows. and 3. he is shot dead 5 times in his chest and photographed again. In the different evidence of video, we can see five other man lying beside him, most probably Tamil fighters and boy's bodyguards. But One certain thing is : the boy was not killed in crossfire as described. The killing of an innocent kid, not even a LTTE cadre forwards a huge question on the claims of Srilankan government and President Rajapaksha to have implemented the human rights and international humanitarian laws. 
Channel 4 news, documentary and evidences : Channel 4 UK released a documentary naming "Srilanka's Killing Fields", which stirred a new dispute around the globe about the false claims of Srilankan army and president. The video shows very disturbing images of war, many footage of mobile phone shot videos and the videos shot by LTTE probably. We can see LTTE cadres stripped, tied their hands on their back, blindfolded, kicked and being shot in masses. More, we can see women stripped naked, most of them sexually abused and assaulted, and we can hear the srilankan soldiers cracking dirty jokes on them too. The video also gives evidences of how two of the civilian leaders of LTTE, were attempting to surrender to UN but were killed bu Srilankan army. In another Documentary from Channel 4, it has been shown how the people around LTTE stronghold areas like Kilinochchi and others are living in fear and desperation on the barricaded streets, homes and markets with no mercy from the Srilankan Government. 
LTTE TV star presenter Isepiya : on the left, on TV screen reading news and on the right found dead stripped, raped and shot by Srilankan army (Channel 4 video Screenshot)
UNHCHR report on aftermath of war and reconciliation : UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Srilanka Navi Pillay has submitted a report to UN General Assembly on 11 February 2013 stating high concerns on the implementations of reconciliation, restructuring and the LLRC recommendations on the Tamil North burnt after the end of War. The report says Tamil Tiger cemeteries containing more than 20,000 graves have been bulldozed, museums and other victory monuments have mushroomed around the province to make those civilizations feels alienated and defeated. Pillay has again demanded the international probe and interfere of international Community on the process of reconciliation. But Srilankan government has rejected everything, Channel4 video and Pillay's claim too, just Rajapaksha paid a two days visit to Vanni, Provincial capital of Jaffna, to inspect the ongoing development.
The war has ended, taking many lives and destroying 27 years, but the wounds of those living around there aren't free of trap. Nobody looks interested to heal their wounds, as they are still being brutally suppressed just for being the resident of that unlucky reason. No reconciliation, no sympathy, nothing. Jayalalita has called Rajapaksha a "war Criminal" and decided not to allow Srilankan athletes to Tamilnadu. Others, who are sympathetic to Tamil community are running protests and all, pressing Indian government to push further, to its one of closest and fruitful ally. But the fact is that, the people are dumped inside a dirty politics of ethnicity, ambition and cruelty every now and then, with nowhere to go.
UN, being a guardian institution for enforcing Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws, should lead from the front, to reconcile the things in more effective ways, for the poor little fellows living there. The international community should learn from the Srilankan tragedy, to protect civilians during the war. UN should accept the mistake of fleeing on the wrong time, to let poor tamils die in despair.
The channel 4 Documentary "Sri Lanka's Killing Fields" which shown the reality of war crime on the name of Srilanka Civil war ( Not recommended to watch if u are light hearted, it contains disturbing images, videos and footages) 
Failure of UN Mission : A Leaked UN report of UN internal probe panel has severly criticized its own officers for being failed to save the civil life trapped in the war. If UN was present there, around no fly zone and battle field, both parties would have behave differently to the war crime attempts. After UN fleed, no any watchdog were there to enforce international Humanitarian Law, which government armies looked to enjoy most. UN has called its mission to be highly inexperienced to tackle the inappropriate situation of tragedy, which ended with the devastating war crime and end of civil lives.
"Events in Sri Lanka mark a grave failure of the UN to adequately respond... during the final stages of the conflict and its aftermath, to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of civilians ”-UN internal review panel
In the aftermath of the war as well, we can see the UN being failed to enforce reconciliation and identifying the truth of war crimes. They look in the state of confusion which have become so hard for the lives of civilians there, still in fear and uncertainty of lives.  
US resolution on Srilanka at UNHCR : United states on 6th March 2013 submitted a draft resolution on Srilanka at UNHCR, on the issues of reconciliation and allegations of war crimes. The resolution has noted and appreciated the reports and recommendations of LLRC Srilanka and have suggested Srilanka to implement those recommendations in better transparent way. It has also criticized the LLRC for being silent on the probable issues of War crime allegations and breaching humanitarian law by the Government of Srilanka.
The resolution also hints in the way to have a independent and fair probe on those allegations to show solidarity of Srilanka to the HR Conventions and IHL.
But Srilanka has already started its preparations on the resolution, if voted, to be rejected and Srilanka has explained to their diplomatic friends to oppose the resolutions. On this situations, it doesn't look like the resolution is going to work as China or Russia already interested to use Vito against it.  
Above all, those war criminals, committing crimes in the mask of war, should be dragged to the international criminal Court. The way Rajapaksha had appointed a war crime alleged Colonel to be the representative of UN for Srilanka was brutally painful joke on the wounds of war. Even if Rajapaksha is guilty of war crimes and beaching of International HR Conventions and Humanitarian Laws, he should be dragged and punished.

(20th March 2013 update : DMK and Karunanidhi has taken back the support from central government in the issue of Srilankan Tamils, demanding racial genocide international probe in the issue of LTTE removal. USA has amended on some of the demands of the resolution, both things happened last night.)

Some of the Sources :




2 comments:

  1. This is very informative. Thanks for putting this together.

    The war crimes in Srilanka is definitely abhorrable and the government's take on the issue leaves many doors open for suspicion. A probe into the allegations is only fair. But at the same time, it is important to note what the present condition of Tamil people in Srilanka is like. Lets hope that digging into this issue from the past will not lead to the well being of Tamil people being compromised in the present.

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  2. It is horrifying, Whenever army is given a free hands in whatever country for whatever reasons, they only show that how easy for humans to be monster is, Be it Japanese Army of first world war, be it Iraqi army using chemical weapon against kurd people, be it the 1971 Bangaldesh genocide, be it Syrian army using gasses to silent the rebels.

    Army are supposed to protects us, but it is our job to protect army from being inhuman too. It's shameful that Srilankan government is denying these war crimes which shows that government has no regrets and is morally bankrupt.

    Two wrong doesn't make a right it's still two wrong giving birth to many other wrongs.

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