How Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa can stop war crime charges keep haunting

(May 30, Colombo - Lanka PolityIn a recent interview with Al Jazeera, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa displayed how weary he is over the allegations against his government regarding the war crimes during the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE).

The President perturbed by the repeated questioning by Al Jazeera correspondent Fouziah Ibrahim, lost his temper and asked why Al Jazeera repeatedly harassed Sri Lanka with war crimes charges just because the country defeated terrorism, while sparing countries like the USA and Britain.

On May 27, Sri Lanka's Minister of External Affairs, G.L. Peiris, who was on a public relations tour through the United States, left a scheduled meeting with journalists at the National Press Club Thursday morning without speaking.

It is learnt that he was advised not to meet media at the National Press Club that recently awarded the organization's 2009 International Freedom of the Press Award to slain Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga, editor of the Sunday Leader.

Meanwhile, Amnesty international website says, "One year after Sri Lanka's civil war came to a bloody end, the evidence that both parties to the conflict committed serious human rights violations, including war crimes, continues to pile up. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group and the US State Department have compiled extensive reports on the human rights violations that were committed by both the Sri Lankan army and the armed Tamil Tigers. To date, not one single individual has been held accountable for the crimes committed."

During a talk at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Minister Pieris stubbornly refused to answer a question of a representative of an Amnesty International that questioned about the human rights impact of the most recent presidential commission of inquiry (established in 2006) into several high level human rights cases, including the execution style murder of 17 aid workers of the French organization Action Contre la Faim (ACF). The question was on how many individuals were actually tried as a consequence of the work of the commission, or why the findings that were sent to the President have not been made public to this day.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has to understand that the pressure on his government over war crime charges will last until when or if he will change the sense of euphoria of his rule following war victory into a more down-to-earth policy especially towards Tamils.

Although he defeated the Tamil militancy in Sri Lankan soil, he is yet to apprehend the full potential of the powerful Tamil Diaspora which is far beyond his simplistic version of a people that want to extend their stay in green pastures of developed West as he suggested in the Al Jazeera interview.

The Tamil Diaspora is too well able to keep the fires of the campaigns on war crime charges against him burning within the framework of Western democracy subtly manipulating the numerous international human rights organizations and even the UN. No power has ever undermined the mandate of these organizations to appear for human rights and the Rajapaksa's are far inadequate to do so. The ability of the Tamil Diaspora to sustain the lobby is free from their internal divisions.

If he is unwilling to deal with the mighty Tamil Diaspora, what he can do to regain the due respect for his defeat of terrorism is to establish good relationship with at least the local Tamils whose lives are in complete disarray as a result of war. The President and his government are in the vision that rapid economic growth facilitated by infrastructure development and private sector engagement will demoralize the Tamil nationalist sentiments.

Even for this, he needs some kind of meaningful power sharing with the leaders of local Tamil community. The undeclared 'Give Nothing to Tamils' racist Sinhala chauvinist policy that is masterminded by the ultra nationalist elements in his government will not lead him anywhere.

Power sharing with Tamils is a taboo subject among many of the Sinhala nationalist elite. Rajapaksa is in a powerful position and he can break it, if the pragmatic leader, as identified by Velupillai Prabakaran in his Mahaviru speech in 2005, can see beyond his nose tip, the time is ripe for reforms since the Sinhala racists have lost to him.

Development plus power sharing will make him really closer with local Tamils, not in the superficialway of meeting and talking with them when he visits north and east, as he said to Al Jazeera.

This is the only way available for him to widen the gap between the local and Diaspora Tamils. Only then, he will be able to actually delegitimize the din of the war crime charges against him. Sheer rhetoric against Diaspora Tamils will lead him nowhere.



  1. We are still carrying the divisions and categorization of 'people of the land' 'coined' by the Westerners. Rajapaksa govt is on the correct path. People should not be separated based on ethnicity, religeon, sex, sexual orientation, etc. Keep to the principles of democracy. Majority should rule without trampling on the basic rights of individuals. I do not see Tamils demanding that they be governed in Tamil when they emigrate, or is it in the cards for Canada and elsewhere. All of them learn the language of the land! Norwegian, English, Italian, German, or whatever. If Tamils want to do business with the Sinhala, then learn the language and so should the Sinhala. Power sharing is a stupid idea. Share what? If you want to govern, then get elected! Where is this democracy when it comes to the UN? The assembly democratically voted that no war crime probe is necessary. The issue at hand is how to bring the people of the country out of poverty. A few meddlers who has been bought by the LTTE is trying to establish commissions and probes of their own, using the money of UN? (LTTE?) Hogwash! Get a life!

  2. How ever Long the diaspora or the west wants an International Investigation,There WILL BE NO INVESTIGATION,as the WORLD is NOW DIVIDED since the IRAQ invation and also ISRAEL action.I think its like the world and LOT OF SO CALLED EXPERTS were saying its a matter of time LTTE will establish an Independant EELAM.
    around TWO years is the maximum pressure this diaspora will continue,majority will either just fall off or fade away.
    Even if there is a International investigation(which will never-good example:recent Hilary Clintons acceptance of GOSL's panel,and calling LTTE a Terrorist outfit)as long as MR has the Sri Lankans behind him he will take on the challange

  3. In an interview he said. That Tamil people trusted that army and that is the reason they came to the army. The reality is The army drove them into ever shrinking area and bombed them. The options for the Tamils were to jump is see and die or stay in the safe-zone and get killed by the shells and bombs or go to the army where no bombs were falling. The choose the last option. And what happened?
    - 11000 young Tamils arrested and kept in undisclosed camps ( while SL government in jan 2009 reported that only 1200 are still alive).

    - 300000 (including 80000 kids ) kept in camps
    - wounded children above 12 cannot be accompanied by their parents
    - Not to mention countless war crimes and atrocities committed by the Sinhalese army on Tamils

    What a stupid comparison you make there about Tamils in Canada and other countries. Sri Lanka is NOT made by Sinhalese. Tamils have the same rights as any sinhalese. Don't fool me that Rajapakse says that the treats everyone equal.

    -How many sinhalese are in the camps? 0
    -How many sinhalese died in 2009? 0. Tamils over
    -Do Tamils trust Sinhala army? No.

    Another stupid argument about majority rules!
    How would you say if Sri Lanka becomes a part of India and ruled by lets say Hindi culture and your language and culture is oppressed, no freedom. Would you still use the same argument.

    Another thing that Mahinda Rajapakse said was that He knew better than Tamil Diaspora.

    I never saw him visiting camps and talking to Tamils. Tamil diaspora Knew better than the SL gov. Because they are have direct contacts with their relatives and friends in Sri Lanka.


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