Colombo unwilling to give grounds to Tamils, says NY Judge
[TamilNet, Friday, 18 May 2012, 00:40 GMT]
Accusing the international community for being "unwilling or incapable of objective fact finding on the issue applied to the Tamils and what has happened in Sri Lanka," Judge Dearie, Judge for the District Court of the Eastern District of New York (EDNY), said during the sentencing hearing of Karunakaran Kandasamy, a Tamil charged with material support to the LTTE, that the situation "really does cry out for some independent reliable voice to tell the full story," and noted that "[t]his Colombo government doesn't seem willing to give ground in terms of the Tamil community, and although the war is over, the conflict continues."
Full text of Judge Dearie's statement during the sentencing of Karunakaran Kandasamy on the 11th of May follows:
"Well, yes, it's been a struggle for me and no doubt for everyone associated with the case, including,
particularly, the families.
I just want to make an initial comment. I don't
know that it's about the right of the [US] government to bring
these charges. It seems to me the government has a
responsibility to bring these charges. We do not accommodate
any form of terrorism or support the terrorism here on U.S. shores, and I believe these were important and compelling
That said, yes, we have to pull back that sort of
emblazoned banner of terrorism and look at the case
specifically and the defendant particularly and that's where
the decision-making process gets so difficult.
You know, part of preparing I reread John Anderson's article in the New Yorker back over a year ago, and a thought that occurred to me is it is so unfortunate that apparently the international community seems either unwilling or incapable of objective fact finding on the issue applied to the Tamils and what has happened in Sri Lanka. I don't know it would necessarily be directly relevant to the question of sentencing to this man, but it's clear from all accounts that this civil war involved brutalities on both sides. Now that we have been so, in a relative sense, intimately involved in this struggle, it
really does cry out for some independent reliable voice to
tell the full story.
It is also somewhat disappointing, apparently. I don't mean to get into the politics of this.
This Colombo government doesn't seem willing to give ground in terms of the Tamil community, and although the war is over,
the conflict continues. That's disappointing.
I don't think it is humanitarians versus terrorists. It's not so simple.
I have very little doubt that Mr. Kandasamy's motivations were
largely humanitarian, if not exclusively humanitarian, but of
course, the ends do not always justify the means. He is characterized as a leader. I guess to some extent there is
some support for that, but given the way I understand Tamil
hierarchy to operate largely out of Sri Lanka and given the
facts as reflected in the reports, I have some doubt as to
whether or not he enjoyed the usual latitude of leadership as
we know it.
He was a fundraiser for sure. He had relationships
with important people in the hierarchy of the LTTE, that is
for certain, but given the unusual circumstances here and that
existed on the Island, in terms of LTTE being a de facto
government in the region, he's not alone. He's not alone.
He's almost 56 years old. This is his first offense
although, albeit, a very serious one. He does, indeed, have
documented serious and chronic illnesses. He has spent most of the time -- is it MCC or MDC?
MR. ROSS: MDC, Judge.
At MDC save for four months stay at the
Springfield Medical Facility when things got very serious.
Time at MCC when you are in the best of health, or MDC when
you're in the best of health, is hardly ideal time or
experience, but add to it these chronic and serious physical
issues, I'm sure it's been a very difficult experience for
He's led what appears to be an otherwise responsible
life as a father, as a husband, as a member of his community.
The letters attest to that in glowing terms.
So the question is what more is necessary to make
the point that the government does not tolerate support for
terrorism no matter what the ultimate objective may be. In
this man's case I believe justice has been served.
I appreciate the government's position. The government quite
rightly points out they could take a far harsher position when
it comes to this individual. I don't think the government's
sense of fairness, sense of justice would have permitted that,
and I appreciate the fact that, although they disagree with me
no doubt on what the appropriate sentence is, they recognize
that this is not a garden variety terrorism case.
I am going to impose, therefore, a sentence of time
served on both counts; $100 special assessment; there will be
no fine; three years supervised release."