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Tamil National People’s Front rejects Geneva resolution

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 March 2013 11:11 No Comment]

“The resolution asks that local mechanisms to be put in place in order to carry out the investigations. We find it unacceptable and we reject it completely. […] The second reason why we reject the resolution is that it puts emphasis and a lot of faith in the recommendations of the LLRC report. […] And finally, the third reason, why we distance ourselves from this resolution is, because unlike the first resolution passed in 2012, in this resolution there is a specific mention of the provincial council system. […] Our party’s considered view is that we are not only unable to associate ourselves anywhere close with the resolution, but also that we have come to a difficult decision of rejecting the decision that was passed,” announced Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, President of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF), at the Press Club meet in Jaffna on Friday.

Full text of the announcement of Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam at press meet in Jaffna:

We wish to unreservedly distance ourselves from that resolution for three reasons:

Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam

Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam

Firstly, the resolution, like the similar resolution passed last year in March 2012, once again asks the government of Sri Lanka to carry out a so-called independent and credible investigation into breaches of international law.

Even, when the resolution that was passed in 2012, our party expressed our utter disappointment on the basis that no internal investigation can be asked for, since the Sri Lankan state military is in fact an accused party and the State in itself thereby stands as an accused party.

Our view is, that to ask an accused party to carry out an investigation itself is a complete breach of the concept of natural justice; and as a result, such a request for a local investigatory process has to be rejected outright.

* * *

The resolution asks that local mechanisms to be put in place in order to carry out the investigations. We find it unacceptable and we reject it completely. We reject it more so because over the last one year, there have been several things that have happened that have made it impossible for there to be any semblance of independence with regards to such a local investigatory process.

In particular, the fact is that there is currently a Chief Justice, who has been appointed, who we all know, has been in Geneva and in many other forums defending the Sri Lanka State to its hilt with regards to allegations of grave human rights abuses and grave breaches of international humanitarian law. Such a person now standing as the head as Chief Justice, makes any domestic accountability process a mockery.

* * *

The second reason why we reject the resolution is that it puts emphasis and a lot of faith in the recommendations of the LLRC report.

Now, if you look at the circumstances under which the LLRC commission itself functioned, you would recall that credible human rights organizations throughout the world themselves have rejected the idea of the LLRC.

The reasons given were, firstly the people who were appointed to the LLRC commission were people that were noted for partiality towards the incumbent regime; secondly the mandate of the LLRC itself was very problematic; and thirdly, the very nature and the setting and the background the LLRC was to function and the modalities with which it was to function, essentially did not provide any safe environment for a credible process of investigation and for a credible process for the Commission to function in, and as a result the LLRC was actually rejected and boycotted.

Despite the fact that the government asked organizations such as the Amnesty International Human Rights Watch and several political parties to take part, those organizations boycotted the LLRC from the very inception on the basis that it was not a credible process. And, as a result, parties like ourselves also rejected it.

The Tamil people who are the custodians and who are the reservoir of evidence with regards to all the atrocities that were committed did not take part. So, the ultimate product of the LLRC is a fundamentally flawed process through which a very, very, inadequate document that has been produced.

So, in that backdrop, the fact is that when the resolution for the second time around, like last year, this year too, chooses to emphasis and almost revolve around the LLRC recommendations we find it unacceptable, fundamentally flawed, and as a result it must be rejected outright.

* * *

And finally, the third reason, why we distance ourselves from this resolution is, because unlike the first resolution passed in 2012, in this resolution there is a specific mention of the provincial council system where the resolution welcomes the government’s announcement that it will hold provincial council elections for the Northern Province.

It is our belief that the 13th Amendment to the constitution of Sri Lanka, which created the provincial council system, is an unacceptable basis for any solution to the Tamil national question.

The fundamental problem with the 13th Amendment being mentioned was brought on the basis that it would be a starting point for a solution in the 80s. It has been rejected outright by the Tamil people for the last 20 odd years.

We see no credible reason for it to be mentioned in a resolution such as this, which essentially talks of reconciliation and accountability.

Reconciliation means very clearly reconciling with regards to the conflict in the first place.

Therefore, for these important reasons, our party’s considered view is that we are not only unable to associate ourselves anywhere close with the resolution, but also that we have come to a difficult decision of rejecting the decision that was passed.

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