In what can turn out to be a move of political significance, one of Sri Lankan Navy’s top officer’s refugee claim has been rejected by federal officials in Canada, owing to a finding by the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) that the officer, Nadarajah Kuruparan, had been complicit in crimes against humanity and that there was systematic human rights abuses committed against the Tamils in the island by institutions he served in. However, referring to the salient points of this outcome, Rajeev Sreetharan from TAG told TamilNet “Deporting, as opposed to prosecuting Nadarajah Kuruparan for his direct participation in coordinated maritime armed attacks and logistical support to the Sri Lankan Armed Forces’ genocidal siege of the Tamil civilian population cornered in Mu’l’livaaykkaal, is incompatible with letter and spirit of what the Geneva Conventions compel.”
"Rejection by Canadian federal officials of Sri Lankan Navy cadre Nadarajah Kuruparan’s refugee claim on the ground of war crimes complicity in turn triggers Canada’s binding international humanitarian law obligations pursuant to its signature and ratification of Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, effective since November 20, 1990.”
“Canada must ensure ‘better protection for the victims" of armed conflict. In the age of armed conflict and transnational Diasporas, this includes Tamil victims in Sri Lanka and in Canada’s Tamil Diaspora. TAG urges Canadian political and legal institutions to follow up its public criticism of Sri Lanka’s human rights violations with investigating and prosecuting Kuruparan under applicable war crimes and human rights law," Mr. Sreetharan added.
The war crimes accused Kuruparan, who was Commodore in the Sri Lankan Navy, had arrived in Canada in August 2009 and had a made claim for refugee status on the basis that “he feared the government, pro-government militias and rebels” reported the website of the Canadian newspaper National Post.
The National Post further said that the officer, one out of five Tamil officers in the mostly Sinhala navy, and his family had been harassed by the “pro-government Tamil militia” of Karuna.
Nevertheless, his refugee status was denied by the IRB on the allegation that he “had been complicit in the crimes against humanity because he had a long service with the navy, an organization that was known to regularly and systematically commit human rights abuses against the LTTE, the Tamil population and individuals suspected or perceived to be LTTE collaborators or sympathizers.”
The 50 page decision compiled by the Canadian Federal Court under Justice John O’Keefe further commented on the ‘widespread and systematic’ acts of violence committed by the Sri Lankan security forces alluding to “The extensive sources of evidence and the reporting contained therein, including references to tens of thousands of disappearances and the institutionalization of torture”.
Speaking to TamilNet, Siva Vimalachandran from the NCCT said “The admittance by Canadian state officials that crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed and the systematic nature behind these atrocities reinforces the need for the diaspora to stay confident in exposing the protracted genocide of the Eezham Tamils.”
Likewise a press release of the NCCT dated July 3 stated “The ruling against Kuruparan serves to reinforce the need for Prime Minister Harper to boycott the upcoming Commonwealth meeting to be held in Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Harper promised boycott the 2013 Commonwealth meeting in Sri Lanka unless the country’s human rights record improved.”