"War crimes’ - echo by newfangled War Crimes NGOs



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Watching a recent TV programme (Balaya on Hiru), ‘Whether a War Crimes tribunal should be held against the Sri Lankan armed forces’, in the wake of Sarath Fonseka’s latest utterances, it was plain and obvious that the European funded NGO community is back in the business of glorifying terrorism, and bemoaning the work of the Sri Lankan armed forces. The participants at the discussion were Gamini Viyangoda of the ‘Puravasi Balaya’, Jehan Perera of the National Peace Council, Retired head of the Civil Defence Force Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, and Journalist Shamindra Ferdinando.


The two NGO representatives were advocating that the Sri Lankan armed forces should be subject to a trial, while Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera and Shamindra Ferdinando maintained that such an exercise, in the context of the brutal LTTE campaign, could amount to treason. Gamini Viyangoda and Jehan Perera, when reminded of the state of peace we currently enjoy against the morbid state of things, pre May 2009, tried to smother their position by stating their advocacy is in the name of ‘good governance’ and ‘supremacy of the law of the land’, to bring dividends to any country in the long run. However, as the discussion unfolded facts were quite revealing to prove that their activities were aimed much beyond mere Good governance and respect for law.


Gamini Viyangoda is a member of the ‘co-existence’ committee, along with Pakyasothy Saravanamuttu, that recommended the establishment of an International Tribunal to try the Sri Lankan armed forces. The question is, why such an extraordinary judicial mechanism aimed at Sri Lankan forces, at any stage of the war, when in previous instances such as the anti-terrorism operations of 1971 and 1989 no such mechanism was deemed required by those concerned about the violation of human rights activity in this country. Further, the Missing Person’s Act, another new piece of legislation brought in the aftermath of vanquishing terrorism, is designed to open a Pandora ’s Box on the activities during those days of despair and despondency. Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera quite correctly pointed out that the provisions in the Missing Persons Act contravenes the existing Evidence Ordinance; as it provides for certain categories of evidence, not admissible under the existing law, to be entertained in support of war crimes allegations. This is a dangerous situation that could make all the propaganda of the Tamil expatriate community, and evidence concocted by the likes of Channel 4, to be permitted as evidence against the SL forces. The NGO convenors, who portrayed themselves as paragons of justice and fair-play, have no compunction against these provisions, knowing very well the organised nature of the Tamil expatriate community, whose propaganda fuelled the conflict in SL, killing more than 100,000 persons over a period of 30 years.


The worst case scenario with regard to the Missing Persons Act is that it places the terrorists and the members of the armed force on the same pedestal in entertaining the ’missing status’ of persons. When this was pointed out, Jehan Perera maintained that ‘both are human beings and therefore has to be treated equally’. The cause and the continuation of this conflict in SL were mainly due to this deranged thinking, which treated the subversive who perpetrated crimes against humanity with kid gloves. Could any country, that treats its official armed force members and its subversives in the same manner, ever expect to maintain stability and peace in its governance? This was the type of thinking that these NGO’s with their propaganda attempted to instil in the ‘educated and international’ segment of the SL society in the name of ‘humanity’, and thus, it is no wonder that this conflict prolonged for 30 years inflicting untold hardships on the average people in this country. They pontificate to be more ‘humane’ than the rest, but in the end, they prolong the conflict killing and maiming more human beings. The crux of the matter is that both these organisations, ‘National Peace Council’ and ‘Puravasi Balaya’,need some perceived social malady to justify their existence, and the degree to which their NGO’s are patronised depend on the extent to which they blow these maladies out of proportion.


‘Laws fall dumb at times of war’ and ‘Everything is fair in love and war’ are too popular adages that have proved their worth universally over the years. Yet in the Sri Lankan situation, these NGOs seemed to advocate that, "New laws should come alive to prolong the war at times of war’.


The person named Viyangoda appears to be more concerned about the death of Prabhakaran’s young son while ‘eating a biscuit in a bunker’ in Pudumatalan. The fact is that the selected dementia of these NGO persons is blind to the scores of civilian children killed in cold blood by the LTTE, either while asleep in the ramshackle abodes in far- away hamlets (not in bunkers), or while lactating in their mothers breast. There was also the incident when the LTTE after attacking a village caught a pregnant woman, cut open her stomach and chopped the foetus like a piece of fish. That young son of Prabhakaran was the only hope the NGO community may have had, of exploiting the continuing saga of that brutal cruel morbid culture in the name of ‘liberation’, and hence their disappointment could be understood.


In parenthesis, Viyangoda criticised the former SLFP led Government for affording a Junior Minister post to Karuna Amman, whom he described as a heinous terrorist. This position clearly manifests the political nature of Viyangoda’s ‘humanity’, because he was a member of the committee that advocated the restoration of ‘all monuments, statues and cemeteries built to honour dead terrorist even after dismantling any building since erected upon those’. The fact that Viyangoda has a grouse against Karuna Amman who paved the way for Armed forces victory, while holding in high esteem those LTTEers who died fighting the forces, clearly indicates the Hippocratic and perverted nature of this NGO thinking that patronised the enemies of the democratic state, while co-operating with former terrorists. Aren’t these NGOs clearly on the side of the separatist brutal terrorists as against the country’s Armed forces?


There is one cardinal truth that underscores the actions, pre- and post- war, of these newfangled ‘War Crimes’ NGO s. That is, that they never expected the armed forces to overcome the terrorist. Yet, when the unexpected happened, they were caught off guard, and lost their place. However, after that all that thunder, they are now re -aligning to keep the flames of their survival alight, by making war crimes accusations at the SL forces.


PALITHA SENANAYAKE


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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