The Logic of Accountability
“Now, all the duties of rulers are contained in this one sentence, the safety of the people is the supreme law.”- Thomas Hobbes (‘Man and Citizen’)
Who should be “accountable” and primarily to whom, on what issues and why? Are the Sri Lankan state, its military and its leaders primarily accountable under international law? Are they primarily accountable to the UN or a resolution passed by one of its bodies, which is not even the Security Council? Arguably this might have been the case had the Sri Lankan military invaded another country and occupied it even in part. That is a violation of international law and the founding Charter of the UN, the primary purpose of which is to regulate the conduct of the global inter-state system. However, the Sri Lankan State fought a war within its own legitimate borders, in order to restore and protect them. Under international law, Sri Lanka does not occupy any territory or peoples.