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2ND LEAD (Adds SL Hansard record)

IC accountable for Gotabaya reneging on justice commitments: TNA MP

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 January 2020, 22:24 GMT]
Several countries in the International Community (IC) supported the Sri Lankan State that waged a genocidal war against the Tamils. The Tamil national liberation struggle and its taproot [the LTTE] were wiped out through a genocidal war by the SL State with the backing of other states in the IC. It was Gotabaya Rajapaksa who commanded the genocidal war in 2008 and 2009. Now, what are these countries going to do to enforce international justice, especially after Mr Rajapaksa pronouncing all the missing as dead, asked Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian S Shritharan at the SL Parliament on Tuesday. Today, we are voicing for justice as a nation subjected to genocide. We are not merely speaking from a suppressed situation or a coated environment of so-called development, Mr Shritharan said adding that Tamils were no longer begging for justice, but demanding international justice.

There is credible evidence documenting that a large number of persons handed over to the SL military by the families at Mu'l'li-vaaykkaal and in Vavuniyaa. What happened to them and what is the response of Gotabaya Rajapaksa to these cases, he asked.

There is also photographic evidence for SL military detaining persons such as the senior political leader V. Balakumaran and his son, the TNA MP asked.

Similarly, there are many pieces of evidence registered in various reports composed by the UN, he said.

Furthermore, the existence of torture chambers has also been exposed.

What is the response of the IC for Colombo reneging on its undertakings under the International Law, the TNA MP from Ki'linochchi asked.

Mr Shritharan was alluding that wartime SL Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was committing another genocidal act, which is genocide-denial by refusing to accept the state responsibility in the enforced disappearances. Mr Rajapaksa is using his current position as the executive president of the SL State to issue a blanket denial.

SL President and wartime genocidal Defence-Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, told the UN Resident Coordinator in Colombo Ms Hanna Singer who had called on him on Friday that the “missing persons” were “actually dead.”

Following the news release, almost all the international news agencies started to highlight the open denial by the SL President.

Even according to the counts of the SL authorities, there are more than fifteen thousand persons, most of them Tamils, who have been reported missing. They are reported missing at the hands of the occupying Sinhala military and its Tamil paramilitary agents during the regimes of SL Presidents Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa. Under the SL Constitution, the executive president is the supreme commander of the three armed forces.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as defence secretary under Mahinda Rajapaksa, deployed a shadow war against the de-facto state of Tamil Eelam using the white-van gangs to incite violence and tension.

Now, in an apparent move to reject command responsibility, he attempts to pass the blame over to the LTTE.

“Most of them [the missing persons] had been taken by the LTTE or forcefully conscripted. The families of the missing attest to it,” Gotabaya Rajapaksa claimed.

“However, they do not know what has become of them and so claim them to be missing,” the SL President was quoted as telling the UN Resident Representative.

Furthermore, Mr Rajapaksa said that steps would be taken to issue a death certificate to these missing persons after “necessary investigations”.

“Afterwards their families would be given the support they need to continue with their lives,” he added.

“Poverty alleviation is my main concern,” Rajapaksa was telling the UN Resident Coordinator.

“Tamil politicians would reject this solution,” Mr Rajapaksa noted and said that the death certificate move would “nullify” the political agenda of Tamil politicians. “However, this would help the affected families,” he told Ms Singer according to a news release issued by his office.

The kith and kin of Tamils subjected to enforced disappearances have been staging continuous protests for more than one thousand days.

More than sixty parents of missing Tamils have perished during the continuous protest.

The protesters reject the coercive move of issuing ‘certificates of absence’ to missing persons’ next of kin.

A law enacted in 2016 mandated that an interim report be given to the relatives if there is sufficient evidence that the relevant person is missing. At the end of further investigations, a final report would be provided, enabling the relatives to obtain a ‘Certificate of Absence’ or a ‘Death Certificate’ as per the outcome.

While the backers of the so-called ‘transitional mechanism’ continue to uphold the establishment of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP), which the victims have rejected, the Rajapaksa regime has now decided to cut short of the investigation process and declare all the missing as dead.

The international establishments that brought about the UNHRC Resolution 30/1 project the mere symbolic acts that took place under the previous Sirisena-Wickramasinghe regime as constituting a constructive engagement.

In their view, the SL State criminalising abductions by enacting laws to comply with the international standards was a significant move of SL State’s commitment towards ‘transitional justice’.

However, Tamils have learned for a long time the validity of these token measures. They know that the SL State could easily withdraw from these commitments any time, as long as the international community continues to sustain the unitary state system on the island. The successive Rajapaksa regime is already embarked on this path.

External Links:
president.gov.lk: UN Resident Coordinator delighted with President’s sustainable development programs



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