Sri Lanka Mocks HRC Time To Expose The Duplicity
Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam
TGTE pg. 1
Index 1. Censure Sri Lankan President 2. Not another genocide – in Myanmar 3. You Are Not Forgotten 4. Sri Lanka Monitoring Accountability MAP's Latest Report 5. TGTE Welcomes Ex – Army Chief’s Confirmation that Sri Lankan Forces Committed War Crimes against Tamils 6. The International Truth And Justice Project regarding their lawsuit
Censure Sri Lankan President 18 September 2017 This week Maithripala Sirisena, the President of Sri Lanka, will attend the 72nd session of the U.N. General Assembly. His participation in meetings and gala events belie his true contempt of and utter disregard for the U.N. and what it stands for. Last week, the Washington Post revealed the findings of a leaked U.N. report finding that Sri Lanka was helping North Korea evade Security Council sanctions. Earlier this month, Sirisena proclaimed: “I state very clearly that I will not allow anyone in the world to touch Jagath Jayasuriya or any other military chief or any war hero in this country.” Sirisena’s pronouncement came following war crime lawsuits filed against this former commander and Sri Lanka’s current envoy to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Peru, and Suriname. Sirisena’s effective grant of immunity to Jayasuriya, once the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and other military leaders is the most emphatic and unequivocal recantation to date of the commitments Sirisena undertook in Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 (2015). In that resolution, co-authored and co-sponsored with the U.S., the Sri Lankan government recognized that “accountability is essential” to the future of the country and committed “to establish[ing] a judicial mechanism with a special counsel to investigate allegations of violations.” As pointed out in the High Commissioner of Human Right’s report this past February, “The fulfilment of [these] commitments ha[ve] however, been worryingly slow, and … were inadequate to ensure real progress.” Now, with Sirisena’s bold unapologetic grant of immunity to the senior commander with direct responsibility for the crimes of his subordinates under international law, the die of impunity has been irrevocably cast. Crimes that were captured on video, verified by satellite imagery, witnessed first-hand by U.N. staff, and established in a comprehensive investigation report conducted by an impartial panel appointed by the High Commissioner. Sirisena, himself, was the Defence Minister during the final weeks of conflict when the gravest crimes occurred, making this a brazen act of self-interest as well. For the tens of thousands of victims of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, and sexual violence perpetrated by the Sri Lankan Army, justice is ever more remote. Sirisena’s prideful grant of immunity and the complicity of the international community in the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of the gravest crimes, including genocide, committed this century, leaves the families of victims of these crimes with little faith in the international community’s resolve and the emboldened military leaders in Myanmar with little to fear as they follow the roadmap of impunity so skillfully charted by the government of Sri Lanka. pg. 3
When Sirisena raises his champagne glass during the gala dinners this week, he will no doubt silently and smugly toast his own deft manipulation of the international community.
Not another genocide – in Myanmar: TGTE urges UN Secretary General to act urgently on behalf of Rohingyas. August 31, 2017 Urges UN to not to repeat its mistake to protect Tamils in Sri Lanka YANGOON, MYANMAR, August 30, 2017 Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) calls upon the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to act on Myanmar to stop the killings of the Muslim Rohingya people. The situation in Myanmar is such that, again “state terrorism” is allowed to be used by the military in carrying out attacks against the Rohingya people, following retaliation from Muslim Rohingya militants who say they are responding to the ongoing persecution against them by the military and government. The treatment of the Rohingya, a largely stateless Muslim minority who have long lived under apartheidlike restrictions in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine. It’s about time for UN to act fast and decisively to prevent another civil war that may lead to a genocide taking place. UN’s “Responsibility (R2P) to Protect” failed in Cambodia, Rwanda and again in Sri Lanka in 2009, where thousands of civilians were brutally killed, and thousands fled and became refugees. It is now known that purpose build torture camps were set up, war crimes and crimes against humanity took place, and many people are still missing or unaccounted for. With globalization and new technology, all nations are dependent on each other, and noninterference policies of neighboring countries is considered to be archaic, as it would lead to destabilization of its region. News reports are saying that a war is intensifying and the military resorting in deadlier attacks and many on both sides have been killed. It is also been reported that the army have entered villages and are burning homes and properties and shooting people dead. It looks like Myanmar, is following Sri Lanka’s “modus operandi” to kill and push out the minorities from their homeland, and doesn’t care for the rule of law, human rights or to conform to international norms and standards, but to challenge the weaknesses of the United Nations and its neighbors. TGTE urges the UNSG to act strongly and decisively, and not to repeat its mistakes that UN failed to protect the Tamils in Sri Lanka, and prevent the escalating war, invoking its obligation and responsibility on the Responsibility to Protect of civilians, from rogue states. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam TGTE pg. 5
You Are Not Forgotten Sri Lanka has the second largest number of disappeared - UN Global Campaign for Truth and Justice We, the undersigned solemnly observe 30 August 2017, as International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance and recall once again the tens of thousands of Tamils in Sri Lanka forcibly disappeared before, during and after the conflict and whose fate remains undiscovered by their families eight years after the end of the conflict. The United Nations in commemorating the day observes, “The feeling of insecurity generated by this practice is not limited to the close relatives of the disappeared, but also affects their communities and society as a whole”. The Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka and its diaspora continue to suffer the long term consequences of the enforced disappearance of so many Tamils last seen in the custody of the Sri Lankan Army comprised almost exclusively by the Sinhalese. Families of the disappeared continue to suffer the uncertainty of knowing what happened to their loved ones continue to suffer by being unable to properly mourn the disappeared and continue to be unable to resolve legal issues related to the disappeared persons. Article 5 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED) states that the “widespread and systematic practice of enforced disappearance constitutes a crime against humanity”. In ratifying the CED in May 2016, Sri Lanka acknowledged its legal obligation “to hold criminally responsible” those who committed, ordered, solicited or were complicit in the enforced disappearance of persons in Sri Lanka. To this date, there have been no genuine efforts by the government to do so. Under Article 32 of CED, Sri Lanka recognized the competence of Committee on Enforced Disappearance to receive communications from other State Parties alleging CED violations. To date, no State Party has publicly called upon the Committee to consider Sri Lanka’s lack of compliance with the CED. Before, during and after the armed conflict, the government of Sri Lanka has employed enforced disappearance as a systematic tool of Genocide against the Tamil Nation. The infamous white van abductions became a ubiquitous tool of oppression against Tamils and some Sinhalese dissidents. In addition to those Tamil civilians who were disappeared, the fate of most of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadres (LTTE) who surrendered at the end of the conflict also remains unknown. As observed by the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance following a visit in November 2015, Sri Lanka pg. 6
has the second largest number of enforced disappearance cases currently before the Working Group. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s recorded statement in January 2016 that LTTE cadres who surrendered and were seen in detention after the conflict ended were “most probably dead” falls far short of Sri Lanka’s obligation to provide the families of those disappeared with the truth about what happened to them. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKkhLlBRzyc). Similarly, Reginald Cooray, the present Governor of the Northern Province, said on 27 May 2017, that Sri Lanka’s response to enforced disappearances would be limited to “certificates of missing persons”. The issuance of certificates alone is wholly inadequate to meet Sri Lanka’s obligations under international law. (https://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=38693). Sri Lanka’s assertion before the Human Rights Council in October 2016 and March 2017 that its establishment of an Office of Missing Persons (OMP) was an “achievement” is misleading. The creation of the OMP without any meaningful input from the Tamil community and without any meaningful involvement from international experts as required by HRC resolution 30/1(A/HRC/30/L.29) is a cynical attempt by Sri Lanka to mislead the international community. In addition to the victim families of the disappeared being denied a genuine remedy under domestic law, the government of Sri Lanka has not recognized the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance to receive complaints directly from these families as contemplated in Article 31 of the CED. In the complete absence of any domestic or international recourse, the mothers and wives of the disappeared have staged an ongoing protest for the last 168 days in Kilinochchi, calling for the release of their family members or a credible investigation into the truth of what happened to them. These peaceful protests have been the target of violence by the government and in one instance Mrs. Mariyasuresh Easwary, an activist and wife of one of the disappeared and a mother of 3 children was beaten and sexually assaulted on her way home. In view of the above, we the undersigned in solidarity with the victim families of the disappeared: (1) Urge the international community to pressure Sri Lanka to release the list of all persons currently being detained by the government or its agents; (2) Urge the international community to pressure Sri Lanka to release the list of the Surrendered LTTE Cadres; pg. 7
(3) Demand that Sri Lanka allow international observers and members of the internationalcommunity unfettered access to all detention facilities; (4) Urge the international community to pressure Sri Lanka to make a declaration under Article 31 of the Convention of Enforced Disappearance to allow the victims to file complaints directly with the Committee on Enforced Disappearance; (5) Urge the international community to pressure Sri Lanka to include international experts in the Office of Missing Persons; (6) Urge the international community to call upon the Committee on Enforced Disappearance (CED) to investigate Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s January 2016 statement that most of those detained by the government “are probably dead”; and (7) Urge State Parties to request that the Committee on Enforced Disappearance consider Sri Lanka’s failure to fulfill its obligations under the Convention as provided for in Article
Sri Lanka Monitoring Accountability Panel (MAP) - Press Release GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, August 29, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ -Sri Lanka Monitoring Accountability Panel (MAP): PRESS RELEASE 30 August 2017
The 30th of August marks the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. This day has a particular resonance for the Sri Lankan Tamil community whose members have been subjected to decades of abductions, secret prisons, and disappearances at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army and security services. As noted previously by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights the ‘scale of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka has long been exceptional’. Historically, disappearances have been used ‘to target those perceived as critical of the Government [of Sri Lanka (GSL)], supportive of opposition movements, or involved in armed conflict’ and have been largely perpetrated by GSL security forces ‘in collusion with paramilitary groups’. The victims of enforced disappearance are not only the disappeared themselves, but also their family members. Today, no doubt, many thousands of Sri Lankans will be reflecting on this and other aspects of the country’s unfortunate history. This press release comes in advance of the Thirty-Sixth Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to be held in Geneva from 11–29 September 2017. The MAP urges all stakeholders to work towards the meaningful implementation of the HRC’s Resolution of October 2015 on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka’ (Resolution 30/1), including a functioning Office of Missing Persons and a law criminalizing enforced disappearances. In July 2017, the Transitional Government of Tamil Eelam extended the mandate of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Accountability Panel (MAP) for a further two years. The recomposed panel of three international legal experts will continue to provide independent monitoring of the transitional justice mechanisms in Sri Lanka, including the judicial measures to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Despite co-sponsoring Resolution 30/1, the GSL has largely failed to establish the promised accountability mechanisms to address the crimes committed during the protracted civil war between the Government of Sri Lanka (the ‘GSL’) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which ended in 2009 and left more than 40,000 dead and some pg. 9
280,000 displaced. In particular, the GSL has capitulated to domestic political pressures and resisted the inclusion of foreign judges and prosecutors in a special criminal court. In response to these failings, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights encouraged Member States to ‘[w]herever possible, in particular under universal jurisdiction, investigate and prosecute those allegedly responsible for such violations as torture, enforced disappearance, war crimes and crimes against humanity’. The MAP has previously argued that, if the GSL continues in its current obstructionist vein, the UN Security Council should refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court. Since the release of the MAP’s Second Spot Report on 28 February 2017, the Human Rights Council has granted the GSL an additional two years in which to implement the processes envisaged in Resolution 30/1. Regrettably, the HRC did not impose any further demands on the GSL or set benchmarks for its compliance with the Resolution. In the six months following this seemingly pro forma extension, there have been a number of notable developments, which illustrate the failures of the GSL’s transitional justice program: • In April, Amnesty International issued a report focusing on the stories of victims’ relatives, many of them women, who have spent years searching for truth and justice: ‘Obstructed at every turn, they have been misled about the whereabouts or fate of their disappeared relatives, subjected to threats, smears and intimidation, and suffered the indignity of delayed trials and a stalled truth and justice processes.’ • In May, the GSL cabinet approved a third draft of the Counter Terrorism Act (CTA)— meant to replace the draconian and reviled Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) which remains in force to date—but no parliamentary vote has yet been set. According to Human Rights Watch, ‘Sri Lanka’s latest counterterrorism bill falls far short of the government’s pledges to the United Nations Human Rights Council to end abusive detention without charge’ and ‘would still permit many of the abuses occurring under [the PTA]’ while raising ‘a number of new concerns including broad and vague definitions of terrorist acts, warrantless arrests, and undue limitations on freedom of expression. • In June, the GSL announced it would appoint a ministerial committee—chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe—to coordinate the recommendations made in Resolution 30/1. However, the committee’s precise mandate and proposed plans have yet to be clarified. • In July, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson announced the preliminary findings of his recent mission to Sri Lanka. pg. 10
According to Mr Emmerson, ‘Sri Lanka continues to use torture against people detained on national security grounds, and its progress on human rights, reforms, and justice remain woefully slow.’ Additionally, ‘[a]ll the evidence points to the fact that the use of torture was “routine and endemic” against people held under the deeply-flawed [PTA]’. Unsurprisingly, the ‘Tamil community has borne the brunt of the State’s well-oiled torture apparatus, as the law is used disproportionately against them’. It was reported that ‘80% of suspects arrested under the anti-terror legislation in late 2016 had reported torture and other physical ill-treatment’. The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report with his findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2018. • In July, President Sirisena officially signed the gazette on the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). While the spokesman for the UN Secretary General called the development a ‘significant milestone for all Sri Lankans still searching for the truth about missing loved ones’, the OMP has yet to become operational and the GSL’s intentions with respect to the office are dubious. A recent press report suggests that the OMP may be used to whitewash the past: ‘The government last week said the OMP will put to end the possibility of disappearances in the future and no one will be prosecuted for past action’. Moreover, Sri Lanka’s domestic political opposition factions have ‘slammed the move as a betrayal of the troops which crushed the LTTE’s three-decade-long separatist campaign’. Previously, the MAP has been critical of the OMP (as currently formulated) for: (1) failing to ensure the independence and impartiality of its membership and (2) potentially impeding any consequent efforts of a special court by way of overly protective confidentiality and immunity provisions. • In July, the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) issued a report documenting 21 cases of abduction, illegal detention, torture, and/or sexual violence against Tamil victims by the Sri Lankan security forces in 2016 and 2017. • In August, Sri Lanka’s army chief Mahesh Senanayake described the country’s military as a ‘highly disciplined’ force that did not commit ‘any offences’ during the civil war, noting that ‘[t]here can’t be murderers among war heroes’ and ‘[t]hose who fought the war will not be punished’. This standard political line, which has been adopted by many actors in the GSL and military, suggests that any national war crimes investigations may face interference from powerful forces. • In August, Sri Lanka’s new foreign minister Tilak Marapana repeated the GSL’s consistent yet erroneous position that foreign judges could not be accommodated in domestic judicial mechanisms in accordance with the country’s constitution. As noted previously by the MAP, there is nothing in the constitution or any other Sri Lankan law that amounts to such a prohibition. Hybrid courts with international judicial assistance have functioned around the world in various legal environments that have been adapted
for such specific purposes. There is simply no legal reason why Sri Lanka could not do the same. In addition to recent developments, longstanding issues continue to fester. These include: the sustained militarization of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominant Northern and Eastern Provinces (including the occupation of civilian land); continued detention of political prisoners; a lack of security-sector and constitutional reform; and harassment of religious and ethnic minorities and human rights defenders. As recently noted in a report issued by Amnesty International (Amnesty Report), one of the ‘important steps’ taken by the GSL since the adoption of Resolution 30/1 has been the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. However, the GSL’s commitments under the convention have yet to be fulfilled. A parliamentary debate on a bill criminalizing enforced disappearance scheduled for July 2017 was postponed without explanation. And, as noted, the success of the OMP remains an open question. In light of the above, the MAP hereby calls on the GSL to adopt all of the recommendations contained in the Second Spot Report as well as those set out in the Amnesty Report. In particular, the GSL should: • criminalize enforce disappearances as a matter of urgency; • operationalize the OMP as soon as possible, ensure its independence, and consider amendments in light of the MAP’s previous criticisms; • repeal the PTA, replace it with legislation that meets international standards, and provide immediate and meaningful judicial review of detention orders made pursuant to the old law; • begin taking the preliminary practical steps necessary for the eventual establishment of a special court, including: amending substantive law to include international crimes and modes of liability, developing a system for the collection and preservation of evidence, enhancing witness protection systems, and establishing an outreach program regarding accountability mechanisms and issues. In light of the GSL’s lack of progress to date, the MAP will soon release a thematic report addressing alternative avenues for redress and accountability for the mass crimes committed during and after Sri Lanka’s armed conflict. The MAP provides independent monitoring, advice, and recommendations, focusing on the effectiveness of accountability measures from a victims’ perspective. Its views and recommendations will enable victims and other stakeholders to participate more
effectively in the transitional justice process and thus enhance the legitimacy of measures taken. For more information, please visit: http://war-victims-map.org; and for media enquiries, please contact Richard J Rogers: email@example.com
Monitoring and Accountability Panel MAP __________________.
TGTE Welcomes Ex – Army Chief’s Confirmation that Sri Lankan Forces Committed War Crimes against Tamils. UN urged to act GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, September 5, 2017 Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) today welcomed a statement by the Commander of Sri Lankan Forces during the war, Field Marshall SarathFonseka, confirming that Sri Lankan Security Forces committed War Crimes against Tamils during and after the war ended. His confirmation of war crimes by Sri Lankan forces comes after eight years of denial by successive Sri Lankan Governments that no war crimes were committed and calling Sri Lankan forces ’War Heroes’. Sri Lankan Government rewarded ex-Servicemen with senior Government positions, including appointing Field Marshall Fonseka as the Minister for Regional Development and General JagathJayasuriaas the Ambassador to Brazil. Field Marshall Fonseka’s confession to war Crimes committed by forces under his command came, when he summoned journalists to his office on September 1st and said that he has information about General Jayasuria committing war crimes and that he is ready to give evidence. “I know he committed Crimes and I am ready to testify before a proper investigation.” He went on to say that war crimes were committed even after the war ended: “He committed crimes during and after the end of the war.” “I have a lot of information.” Field Marshal Fonseka also said to journalists that he had information regarding other ‘Officers who committed crimes’. The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) urges United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Human Rights Council and others to act swiftly to bring perpetrators of these international crimes to face justice. “UN should not miss this opportunity.” According to the UN Internal Review Report on Sri Lanka, around 70 thousand Tamils were killed in six months in 2009 and Tamil women and girls were sexually assaulted and raped by Sri Lankan Security forces. Sri Lankan Security forces also bombed hospitals and food distribution centers, resulting in several Tamils dying of starvation. Tens of thousands also ‘disappeared’, including hundreds who surrendered to the Security forces. Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam – TGTE
Brazil lawsuit accuses Jagath Jayasuriya of war crimes
Lawyers seek to expel Jagath Jayasuriya, ambassador to Brazil, over abuses in final phase of offensive against LTTE.
Human rights groups in South America have filed war crimes lawsuits against a former Sri Lankan general who is now his country's ambassador to Brazil. The lawsuits against Jagath Jayasuriya allege he oversaw military units that attacked hospitals and killed, disappeared and tortured thousands of people in the final phase of Sri Lanka's civil war in 2009.
Jayasuriya has diplomatic immunity in Brazil and five other countries where he is ambassador - Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Suriname.
But the groups pursuing the suits hope they will compel regional governments to open investigations of Jayasuriya, remove his immunity and expel him.
Carlos Castresana Fernandez, the lawyer coordinating the effort, told the Associated Press news agency that suits have been filed on Monday in Brazil and Colombia.
READ MORE; Sri Lanka's leader backs arrests of 'official' killers Petitions will be filed in Argentina, Chile and Peru in the coming days, he said, adding that authorities in Suriname had refused to accept the petition.
"This is one genocide that has been forgotten, but this will force democratic countries to do something," Fernandez said. "This is just the beginning of the fight."
Jayasuriya's whereabouts were not immediately known.
Calls to the Sri Lankan embassy in Brazil's capital went unanswered Monday evening as did an email seeking comment.
The criminal suits were spearheaded by the human rights group International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP), an evidence-gathering organisation based in South Africa. The suits say Jayasuriya was commander of the Vanni Security Force from 2007 to 2009, one of the bloodiest periods in a 26-year war that is estimated to have killed more than 100,000 people.
The UN estimates between 40,000 and 70,000 died in the final phase alone when Sri Lanka's military defeated the separatist armed group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
According to the suits, Jayasuriya oversaw an offensive from Joseph Camp in the northern town of Vavuniya.
ITJP said it interviewed 14 people who survived torture or sexual violence at the camp. "There is no way General Jagath Jayasuriya can claim not to have known that torture routinely occurred in his camp; there were purpose built underground torture chambers, equipped with manacles, chains and pulleys for hoisting victims upside down," Yasmin Sooka, the ITJP's executive director, said in March.
"If the detainees could hear each other screaming at night from adjacent buildings, so could he."
Human rights groups have long been after Jayasuriya, but the Sri Lankan government has refused to try him or others allegedly involved in war abuses. pg. 16
A few years after the war ended, he retired from the military. Jayasuriya was appointed ambassador to Brazil in 2015 and the other countries were added to his purview over the following two years.
The Sri Lankan army has denied committing war crimes.
Fernandez, the lawyer coordinating the lawsuits against Jayasuriya, has worked on international cases against war criminals in Guatemala, Argentina and Chile.
In the case of Chilean General Augusto Pinochet, he ended up being arrested and held for a time in England because of international lawsuits filed against him.