No bartering of war-crimes accountability for political concessions: TNPF

[TamilNet, Sunday, 23 October 2011, 16:02 GMT]
Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF), a post-war Tamil political formation in the island of Sri Lanka, in a press conference held Sunday morning 11:00 am at a Colombo residence, congratulated TNA leadership on the forthcoming visit to the USA, and said that the visit is a significant historic first where the US-State Department has extended invitation to a non-State Tamil political party, adding that the visit has potential for improving the political status of the Tamil people who have suffered within a majoritarian democracy for several decades. While pointing out that the TNA is carrying a tremendous burden on its shoulders to articulate clearly the aspirations of Tamils, TNPF cautioned that TNA, under no circumstance, should barter away Sri Lanka's accountability for war crimes for ‘political concessions.’

TNPF Press Conference
TNPF Press Conference
Equivalent to Minister of External Affairs, the Secretary of State in the US customarily invites only State parties for policy exchanges and discussions, said Gajendrakumar Ponnampalam, Vice President of TNPF and convener of its Foreign Relations Committee.

"What TNA does in this trip is of tremendous importance to the political future of the Tamil people," Gajendrakumar told TamilNet.

Welcoming the gesture of the US State Department for inviting the TNA, and congratulating the TNA for rising to represent the Tamil people in this historic visit, the TNPF extended its best wishes and success for the Tamil people, the summary of the TNPF meet resolutions said.

However, considering that success of this visit could be measured only by how effectively the TNA articulates certain issues that are paramount to the political destiny of Tamils, the TNPF outlined on the importance of observing the following in the US – TNA talk:
  • TNA should insist that the US takes the lead in recognizing Eezham Tamils as a distinct nation having the national right to self-determination.
  • International Community at present has been focusing on war crimes. TNPF's view is that Sri Lanka not only committed war crimes during the final phases of war, but also carried out systematic structural genocide for the last sixty years on the Tamil people. The genocide has continued unabatedly even two years after the war has ended.
  • TNPF has information that the Sri Lankan state is carrying out a campaign among the International Community asking to put aside accountability for war-crimes for some unspecified political concessions to Tamil people. It is TNPF's firm view that TNA must take this opportunity in Washington to insist that accountability for the systematic genocide be seen as a totally separate issue from the political process. War-crimes accountability should in no circumstances bartered away for "political concessions."
Tamil National Peoples Front is a post-war political formation founded by a section of former TNA parliamentarians and many civil society groups, who differed with the TNA over its hesitation to spell out the sovereignty of the nation of Ezham Tamils after the genocidal war.

S. Kajendren, the General Secretary of TNPF, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, vice president, V. Mannivannan, leader of the Youth wing and a co-vice president, and K. Dharmarajah, treasurer, participated the TNPF meeting.

TNA leaders, R. Sampanthan, Maavai Senathirajah, Suresh Premachandran and M.A. Sumanthiran are expected to visit the US in the coming week.

* * *

The following were observations made by a veteran Tamil politician in the island:

The genocidal war and the scene set for an escalated structural genocide in the wake of the international community leaving every thing in the hands of the genocidal State after the war, have made Eezham Tamils especially in the free diaspora to spell out their political priority of seeing peace based on the Tamil right to self-determination and sovereignty.

The paradigm or ‘reconciliation’ set by the US State Department immediately after the war without any political formula or guarantees attached to it and the subsequent call for war crimes investigation, once again without any political recognition of the fundamentals of the crisis, have caused deep grievances and distrust among Tamils in the island and in the diaspora.

While State in Sri Lanka ingeniously converts every paradigm set by the IC, every allowance of time it gets and every reparations the IC arranges to ultimately facilitate the structural genocide, the Eezham Tamils continue to be in the receiving end.

A few days before the end of thwar, on 24 April 2009, the US President cautioned Sri Lanka, saying that a violent end of the war may make ‘reconciliation’ difficult in future. But after two years, genocidal Sri Lanka is clever in passing the sufferings of the ‘difficult reconciliation’ also on Eezham Tamils, thanks to a dangerous paradigm of powers practiced in reality, by overlooking or even setting stage for genocide for imperialist gains.

The Tamil genocide had a purpose in assisting certain ‘neo liberal forces’ involved in plunder of resources, said Dr. Wikramabahu Karunaratne on Friday adding that the World powers that supported the genocidal war are happy and satisfied about the unfolding situation in the island.

Accountability for war crimes that took the life of more than a 100,000 Tamils – in fact it is accountability on genocide – is an issue of universal importance to contemporary humanity. While the world humanity itself can’t afford to bargain it for anything else, it will be a folly if any of those committed or perpetrated the crime thinks of absolution by exploiting the TNA in their grip with hoodwink concessions.

The subject of accountability in such a large-scale and chronic genocide may be in some instances not raised when there is logical political justice as in the case of the independence of Bangladesh.

But reducing the crime into mere war crimes and then coupling the accountability with ‘reconciliation’ within the genocidal State is a fundamentally flawed and crafty policy coming from the very architects of the genocidal war.

And there are some others who don’t see any question of accountability at all, but sit on accountability and play thuggish in intimidating Tamil politicians to give up the question of accountability for wanting solutions that would continue to keep Tamils under the grip of genocide.

* * *

Meanwhile, briefing on the current prospects in Canada, NCCT spokesperson Krishna Saravanamuttu told TamilNet Sunday that all the three major national political parties and civil society organizations across Canada now support an international investigation of Sri Lanka’s war crimes.

“But international probe is not the ultimate goal. Procedural delays in war crimes inquiry provide Sri Lanka with enough time to complete its goal of genocide to the very structural details,” Mr. Saravanamuttu said.

“Instead of merely begging for justice from the international community, we must have the sagacity to assert to our right as a nation and the courage to stand up against genocide and imperialism.”

“We need to move beyond rather than simply waiting for justice coming from the same international powers that were in complicity to the 2009 genocide. Tamil people will never be free until they recognize that their freedom is intricately linked to the struggles of other oppressed peoples of the world, Mr. Saravanamuttu further said.


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