Opposition leader should address sovereignty concerns of Tamils: Former Land Commissioner

[TamilNet, Friday, 20 November 2015, 21:16 GMT]
The United States of America, locked in a geopolitical competition with China in the Indian Ocean Region, is primarily concerned with its own interests. All the stakeholders are mainly concerned of their stakes with regards to the geo strategic location of this island in the Indian Ocean. This was also the case during the times of the World Wars. Now, the USA wants to be in control after ousting the Chinese. India was also interested in the same. The same way, Tamils should also be concerned of their primary interests, said Karthirgamathamby Kurunathan, a retired land commissioner, urging the Tamil polity not to allow the Sinhala politicians to buy time and space through the manoeuvrings in the United Nations. The Tamil polity should be sharp in countering the age-old dragging techniques, he told TamilNet. The opposition leader should address the sovereignty concerns of Tamils, he said.

The General Secretary of the United Nations should have issued a public statement after the US-tabled resolution was passed in the UN Human Rights Council, Mr Kurunathan said in a video interview to TamilNet.

The UN and the Office of the High Commissioner of the Human Rights (OHCHR) have failed to get the Sri Lankan State into a binding agreement following the OISL Investigation.

Such a bilateral agreement would have stipulated the terms for investigating the criminal violations of the international law. Instead, the SL government was given space and time through the consensus resolution tabled by the USA, Mr Kurunathan said.

Kurunathan was the last deputy land commissioner of the merged North-East. He retired from his government service as the land commissioner of Eastern Province.

The new regime came to power with the support of Tamil-speaking people. But, it has only done a few symbolic changes. The oppressive state machinery remains largely intact, Mr Kuruanthan said.

The politicians in the South are also trying to buy further time with the excuses that the SL Constitution had to be amended or modified in order to allow the international investigators to operate in the island.

Stating that there are already provisions in the SL Constitution to allow international judges to operate, he dismissed the excuses of calling for new amendments in delaying the international investigators to the enter the island to conduct criminal investigations.

The SL Constitution in its paragraph two of Article 13 clearly states that nothing in that Article (Freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention and punishment, and prohibition of retroactive penal legislation) shall prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations.

While there is a need to amend the SL constitution ratifying the Rome Statute, there is nothing that prevents the international mechanisms to access the island to operate on the violations on international law, Mr Kurunathan said.

The Sri Lankan Attorney General should be representing the victims. But, the SL Attorney General has also been tasked with the role of advising the Government. This is a compromising position, the former land commissioner of the East said.

The Indian Judge [Justice P.N. Bhagwati in the IIGEP], who was monitoring the investigation of the massacre of 5 Tamil students in Trincomalee, has clearly exposed the biased role of the Attorney General, who was interfering in the investigations in a biased way.

If you say that there are two parties, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have committed the crimes, how could one party, the GoSL, investigate the crimes of the other party, he questioned adding that international investigators should be taking up the investigation.

The role of Opposition Leader is a key position. His position is entrusted with representing both the nations in the island, the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The Tamils and Sinhalese nations have their own sovereignty concerns. The opposition leader should speak up for the sovereignty of Tamils. He is duty-bound in articulating the requirements of the Tamil nation and should listen to the Tamil people, their parliamentarians and provincial councillors. The Tamil parliamentarians and provincial councillors should feed him and demand him to articulate their demands, Mr Kurunathan said.

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