Feature Article

Sinhala ethnocracy emboldens with confidence that IC would not confront Colombo: Gajendrakumar

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 02 August 2016, 19:24 GMT]
The SL Attorney General's Department is contemplating to transfer the cases of Tamil political prisoners to Colombo from Vavuniyaa. At the same time, the SL courts have acquitted Sinhala soldiers indicted in a 1996-massacre of Tamils. Recent findings have also revealed that the SL Police was behind the torture and the eventual murder of Tamil youth. All these reports bring Tamils back to the fundamental question whether the ‘Sri Lankan’ judicial system could ever be trusted in delivering justice, said Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam. All these have taken place, as there is a sense that the International Community – for geopolitical reasons – would rather have this government in power than the previous government, which had a different dispensation internationally, he said adding that the SL government is “so sure that the International Community would not do anything to question its actions.”

As long as the control of any investigation mechanism rests with the Sri Lankan Government, even having individual foreign participants in such a process, will not deliver justice to the victims, Mr Ponnambalam, who was a former TNA MP and is an Attorny-at-Law and the leader of Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF).

“Recently, the Courts have acquitted all the accused military personnel in the grave Kumarapuram massacre that took place several years ago. The families, out of frustration urged that a retrial should be commenced. Along with this, we learn that the cases of Tamil political detainees in Vavuniyaa have not been proceeded through for over two-and-a-half years. The relevant Judges have informed the Attorney General's Department that if indictments were not filed immediately, the Court would dismiss the cases and release the political prisoners. This has prompted the Sri Lankan Attorney General's Department to consider transferring the cases from Vavuniyaa to Colombo. We are aware of at least three instances in the Vavuniyaa Courts, where these transfers are being contemplated and the accused have been informed as such. The transfers are being contemplated to ensure that the political prisoners are not released,” Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said.

“This brings us back to the fundamental question whether the Sri Lankan Judicial System could be trusted in delivering justice,” he said.

“As pointed out last year in the OISL report – and as the Human Rights Commissioner pointed out in the press conference as well – the Sri Lankan Judicial System, because of 30-year ethnic conflict, has been so corrupted that its ability to be impartial has been destroyed. As such, his firm position was that an internal investigation or inquiry process would not deliver justice. I think all these, very clearly demonstrates that an internal mechanism of accountability will not just work,” Mr Ponnambalam said.

“As far as the control of an investigation mechanism is with the Sri Lankan Government, which is one of the accused party with regards to the grave crimes that have been committed, even having individual foreign participants in such a process will not deliver the justice, especially because of the grave nature of the crimes.

The incident that took place at Chunnakam police station some time back – which has just come to light – where the police have been accused of torture and the eventual murder of suspects, is yet another demonstration that the entire legal system is heavily tainted on ethnic lines, and as a result, totally corrupted, he said.

When the Police have a systematic history of having behaved in that manner, the question to be asked is whether the Sri Lankan Justice System could play a part in the serious accountability mechanism, he said adding that Freedom From Torture, a fairly well known body, also has recently reported of torture that still prevails in the island. Sri Lanka is a country having the highest number of instances of torture, he said.

It is in this scenario that one should seriously look at SL Government's repeated assurances to the Sinhalese people that there will not be any international involvement, let alone there being a full-fledged international mechanism which was what the victims were asking for, the TNPF leader said. The Sri Lankan government has gone on record giving repeated assurances to the contrary.

Commenting on the on-going Sinhala colonisation, particularly in the Eastern province, Mr Ponnambalam came up with following remarks:

“In fact, at the time of British leaving the island, the population of Sinhalese people in the Eastern Province was below 4%. Even that 4% of Sinhalese was reached as Trincomalee was made the Allied Forces Asia-Pacific Naval Headquarters during the World War II and people had to man the naval headquarters, which was stationed in Trincomalee.

“The accusation levelled against consecutive governments since the British departed is that there has been a systematic State-aided colonisation process aimed at changing the demographic patterns of the North-East, particularly the Eastern Province, in such a manner where the Tamil people will not be able to claim the Eastern Province as an area of historical habitation. That process has happened, not headed by just one party, but whichever party that came into government.

“The assurances that were given to the Tamil people, not only by the Tamil leadership, but also by the International Community was that with the change of government, particularly with the current government, that it will deal with these matters in a manner that will encourage and enhance the prospects of reconciliation couching the term of ‘good governance’.

“All of these measures are happening because there is a sense that the International Community for its geopolitical reasons would rather have this government in power than the previous government which had a different dispensation internationally. And this government is so sure that the International Community would not do anything to question its actions.”

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