Following deliberations by Norway’s Erik Solheim, ICG’s Alan Keenan and the UNSG panel member Yasmin Sooka at Frances Harrison’s book launch in London earlier this month, the Emeritus President of the ICG and former foreign minister of Australia, Gareth Evans on Friday was harping on war crimes of both sides, accountability of the remaining side and post-mortem on the UN, but omitting the ultimate culprits and deviating from the crux of the matter– the genocide and the national question in the island. He is now advisor to International Crimes Evidence Project, a recently established outfit in Australia. While Dr. Radha D’Souza exposes the deviatory tactics of such orchestrations, Tamils have to think of alternative international mobilisation of opinion.
The ICG President Emeritus, writing on Friday on “Remembering Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields,” was aiming for a showdown at Geneva in March 2013, which seems to be the agenda of the newly formed International Crimes Evidence Project.
The agenda, coming from the premises of ‘war crimes of both sides’ and expecting the remaining side to accept its share of responsibility, will seal off the matter with it.
The independence aspiration of genocide-affected Eezham Tamils will then be ‘part of the war crimes’ and that will be stigmatised and shelved.
The other part of the agenda is to scapegoat the UN, ostensibly to absolve the ultimate culprits from the crimes.
This is an internationally orchestrated project on the island and one may find almost the same people, same Establishments and same ‘development’ agencies involved in the outfits such as the ICG, International Alert and various other foundations and institutions that handle the orchestration.
Gareth Evans was upholding three publications for his crime-pursuing mission: The UN panel report, “The Cage” written by Gordon Weiss, the former UN spokesperson in Colombo during the war, and “Still Counting the Death,” by former BBC journalist Frances Harrison.
None of them accept or bring out the genocidal nature of the war.
Evans ignored the Dublin Report, Norway’s report that found fault with the ‘peace facilitators’ and Malathy’s recent book.
The ICG had a campaign responsibility in facilitating the genocidal war in the island.
Gordon Weiss, whose book was launched by Gareth Evans, is answerable for the way he carried out his duties as UN spokesperson during the war.
Frances Harrison, in the introduction of her book, was just parroting what Erik Solheim has been telling. The most controversial of them is her assertion that “At the height of the mayhem, the rebels turned down an internationally mediated surrender plan brokered by Norway that would have stopped the killings. It could have saved thousands of life.”
Solheim was telling earlier that there was a solution on the table that was turned down by the LTTE. Now he says this. If there was any genuine plan why has that not been told to hundreds of thousands of Eezham Tamils who took to streets at the height of the war is the question of ordinary people.
It should definitely be a matter of welcome for Eezham Tamils if there is going to be any genuine international effort, beginning with pursuing war crimes accountability. But past experiences have shown us that both the ICE and India in their own ways are more concerned about buying time for them and giving time to the genocidal state in the island than delivering justice.
There could be no justice to Eezham Tamils unless the matter is addressed as a national question and annihilation of a nation, resulting from a prolonged and on-going genocide.
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On the question of genocide, for those who argue that it is a lengthy legal process to establish, Dr. Radha D’Souza has come out with an apt answer, while commenting on the speeches at Frances Harrison’s book launch event.
“It was ingenious in what they were trying to say because the genocide dimension in international law is quite explicit in the definition of what is the meaning of genocide. It says, if any state makes a deliberate, knowing […] steps to exterminate, or to oppress, or to deny any group of people their language, their culture, their history, their existence then it amounts to genocide. […] The genocide convention is very very clear on this, there is no ambiguity, and what they tried to say was “oh we are not lawyers and we can’t really talk about genocide.” Dr. D’Souza said.
“This was the position of the United Nations representative. If the United Nations representative on human rights does not know the meaning of genocide what can people expect from them?”
“Now Solheim’s position was again very ingenious, he was saying, let us forget the genocide issue. But the real reason why the Tamils want the genocide issue is because they want to connect it to Eelam. Well, they were trying to directly connect it to Eelam. But he had no answer, other than making it as a political rouse of the Tamils.”
“He could not answer the question: was it genocide, was it not genocide? None of the three panellists answered that. It was a very straightforward question.[…]The UN person very clearly said no, it’s not genocide. So one wonders what is genocide, if this is not genocide…under the definition. The others dodged the issue completely. They did not answer, yes or no. It was a very simple question,” Dr. D’Souza commented.
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ICG’s Alan Keenan sounded like that it is the task of somebody else to prove the genocide and the on-going genocide.
Those among the Eezham Tamils who want to provide logistical, factual, institutional and other kinds of support to the war crimes accountability model may do so, but it is not going to bring them the justice they envisage.
Eezham Tamils should have their own agenda, coupled with noble norms of humanity. For this purpose they should mobilise their own support group of international civil society rather than getting hooked with outfits working for the agenda of the very Establishments that deny them justice.
The following verse of Thirumoolar of 5th century CE is for the benefit of Tamil readers:
குருட்டினை நீக்கும் குருவினைக் கொள்ளார்
குருட்டினை நீக்காக் குருவினைக் கொள்வர்
குருடும் குருடும் குருட்டாட்டம் ஆடிக்
குருடும் குருடும் குழிவிழுமாறே.
Kuruddinai neekkum kuruvinaik ko’l’laar
kuruddinai neekkaak kuruvinaik ko’lvar
kurudum kurudum kuruddaddam aadik
kurudum kurudum kuzhivizhumaa’rea
Making it worse, the guides are not blind preceptors, but who pretend to be blind.