Incriminating evidence of serious war crimes and violations of human rights against Tamils minority by the Sri Lankan (read Singhalese) government and individuals is inexorably piling up. Gothabaya Rajapakse, unelected Defense Secretary and brother of President Rajapakse is the number one war criminal to be prosecuted. His brothers President Mahinda Rajapakse, Basil Rajapakse, Chamal Rajapakse, Mahinda’a son Namal Rajapakse are liable for complicity and or condoning commission of crimes and violation of civic rights against Tamils. Military commanders carrying out the horrible crimes including Shavendra Silva, Chandrasri, Jagath Dias, Sarath Fonseka et al, have to be prosecuted. Others like paramilitary leaders Douglas Devananda, Karuna and Pillayan and civilians like Palitha Kohona and other civilians have to be investigated.
An International investigation is unavoidable, as no independent investigation can be expected to be performed in Sri Lanka, since the accused are all men currently in control of the government of Sri Lanka. Any investigation carried out in Sri Lanka will not be objective and impartial as was the case of the LLRC appointed by President Rajapakse. An accused cannot sit in judgment on their own crimes.
Crimes committed against Tamils by the Singhalese before 1983 and prior years from the date of independence are not included here as they were committed by Singhalese governments prior to Rajapakse coming to power. The deprival of voting rights and civic rights of Upcountry Tamils, the anti Tamil pogroms of 1956,1958, 1971 1977, 1981 and 1983 are dark days in the life of Sri Lankan Tamils. In these anti Tamil riots thousands of defenseless Tamils were killed, tortured, raped, burnt alive, their houses, shops and temples destroyed and forced to flee to their homeland in the North and Eastern provinces, popularly called Eelam. No doubt this was an organized genocide committed by Singhalese mobs aided and abetted by the Singhalese governments and armed forces. Also structural genocide by depriving Tamils of their language rights by the passage of Sinhala Only Act, the denial of equal education and employment rights, the expulsion to India of over half million Upcountry Tamils and fleeing out of Sri Lanka of about 800,000 Tamils out of fear of the Singhalese are not included here.
War crimes and crimes against Sri Lankan Tamils fall under two categories – those committed during the civil war and those committed after the end of the civil war on, May 19, 2009. Collateral damage and deaths cannot be included in war crimes as that may be unavoidable. Willful and avoidable acts of death and destruction and killing of surrendered fighters are war crimes. The refrain that bygones are bygones cannot be accepted, as in that case no criminal can be punished, and law and order cannot be upheld. Further, crimes against the Tamils are continuing even after the cessation of hostilities because there has been an immunity against prosecution of criminals guilty of atrocities against Tamils.
It has come to light through Wikileaks that Gothabaya as Defence Secretary had instructed not to disarm the paramilitaries, as they were to be utilized to kidnap and kill Tamil activists and journalists during and after the war along with military intelligence forces. For this heinous crime Gothabaya stands accused and all his brothers in the government stand accused of aiding abetting and or condoning these crimes. During the war the Sri Lankan military bombed hospitals, schools and temples intentionally and these are war crimes. In a terrible act of cruelty, the Singhalese army declared no fire zones in the last stages of the war, asking about 300,000 Tamil civilians to gather there for safety, and slaughtered them by using heavy artillery.
The Singhalese army is guilty of killing surrendering LTTE fighters, torturing and raping them. The Sri Lankan government is guilty of forcing surrendering Tamil civilians numbering about 300,000 into concentration camps behind barbed wires and guarded by Singhalese soldiers in inhuman conditions, with many disappearing in the process. Adding insult to injury Mahinda called them “welfare” camps, and the slaughter of about 40,000 in Mulivaykal as a ‘humanitarian operation.” Such is the way the Rajapakse government treated the Tamil citizens.
After the LTTE surrendered, Mahinda Rajapakse falsely promised to the international community that he would bring about reconciliation but has continued to do the opposite for the last four years. He increased the armed forces, concentrated a large army in Tamil homeland, grabbed Tamil lands and homes, and deprived Tamils of large areas by enforcing huge High Security Zones. Abductions in white vans by army intelligence and paramilitary and disappearances has been a frequent occurrence in the Tamil homeland. Widespread raping and sexual molesting of Tamil women and men has made peace intolerable for the Tamils. About 89,000 Tamil widows are languishing in misery.
Britain, Canada, India, the USA and the European Union should start an international investigation early and put a stop to the sufferings of the Sri Lankan Tamils. On humanitarian grounds these countries must jointly impose sanctions on Sri Lanka to put a stop to their delinquency.