Has the Head of OHCHR followed the due process on Sri Lanka
By shenali Waduge
Has the UN & its key bodies followed due process on UN member sovereign Sri Lanka? How does the UN system handle terrorist movements & what international laws are applicable to them? In what manner can the UN intervene without violating its own Charter and how sure is the UN on the evidence or allegations they make are just a handful of the questions where UN & its system has shown discrepancies in. It is no coincidence that the same players that promoted the independence of Kosovo are now indulging in the same lies on Sri Lanka albeit for the same reasons.
The world has known LTTE by name since 1980s. FBI has designated LTTE as the “most dangerous and deadly extremist outfit in the world” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uONelGk0RpU
LTTE remains banned by India, US, Canada, UK, EU and 32 countries even 9 years after LTTE defeat. While LTTE ground force was eliminated in May 2009, the key players who raised funds, promoted LTTE & provided material & other support and who live overseas most of whom are foreign passport holders and have various businesses in foreign climes, remain uninvestigated still while many of them are today exerting pressures through various lobbying tactics against a sovereign nation. Many of these entities were declared LTTE fronts in 2014 and these are the very entities post May 2009 determining UN actions against Sri Lanka and are even been quoted in UN reports while they are even invited to UN sessions without investigating them for these allegations and exonerating them if they are innocent.
Military intervention ONLY after failed peace talks/ceasefires & 30 years of suffering LTTE terrorism
The world seems to have conveniently forgotten that the military option against LTTE was taken after 30 years, suffering over 300 LTTE attacks and countless failed peace talks & ceasefires some with foreign intervention too. Afghanistan was attacked and remains occupied by US/NATO without any investigation to determine its links to the 9/11 attack.
- 1stPeace Talks – July 1985 in Thimpu where LTTE & other Tamil groups sought self-determination & recognition of North East as traditional Tamil homeland
- Indo-Lanka Peace Accord – July 1987 with the arrival of the IPKF
- Direct Talks with LTTE – April 1989
- Peace Talks with President Chandrika – October 1994
- Cessation of hostilities – January 1995 a failure
- Ceasefire Agreement – February 2002 with Norwegian mediation
- Negotiated settlement – April 2004
- PTOMs agreement – June 2005
- Agreement on peace talks – February 2006 which LTTE quit in April
- EU proscribes LTTE – May 2006
- Scheduled peace talks in Oslo cancelled by LTTE – June 2006
- Closure of Mavil Aru Reservoir cutting water to 15,000 villagers in July 2006. In October the GOSL took decision to drive out LTTE from Eastern Province and free 35,000 civilians held as human shields
- January 2007 – Vakarai in East liberated from LTTE control & by July entire Eastern Province captured by SL Army.
What was shocking is that the UN that took no action when LTTE was killing thousands of innocent unarmed civilians in non-combat areas, 3 days after the end of the military offensive in May 2009 the UN Secretary General arrives and has been harping on about a joint statement where there is no English line that shows any commitment by the GOSL to do so. (LTTE defeated on 19 May 2009, UNSG arrives in SL on 23 May 2009 & the below statement was released)
Note – UN did not command Sri Lanka to carry out an accountability process & neither did Sri Lankan Government agree or give assurance to carry out one. The UNSG only ‘underlined the importance of an accountability process’ there Sri Lanka was not bound in any way to give assurance to hold one with dates & timelines.
However, the pressures brought upon Sri Lanka by the UN & IC forced the appointment of the LLRC in May 2010 but note how the UNSG appoints his advisory panel the POE in June 2010 hardly a month after LLRC appointment harping on a joint statement that obviously did not exist.
Questioning the legality of the Panel of Experts appointed by the UN Secretary General
PoE was appointed in June 2010 and its report released on March 31, 2011
- PoE is a personally commissioned report– it did not have the approval of the UNSC or the UNGA. Panel did not have a ‘fact-finding’ or ‘investigative’ mandate. Therefore the Panel has no mandate to conclude on IHL violations and classify sources as ‘confidential’ for 20 years.
- PoE report was not tabled in the UNGA, UNSC or the UNHRC nor was SL given the right to officially respond to it
- How did the PoE, a personally commissioned report become basis for 3 UNHRC resolutions leading to the demand for a war crimes tribunal?A personally commissioned report has no basis for a War Crimes Tribunal against a sovereign UN member state
- How can a personally commissioned panel report on the last 3 months of a conflict ignoring the 30 years of terror and charge only 1 party without producing prima facie evidence while sealing PoE ‘witnesses’ for 20 years?
- How fair is it to investigate part of a conflict and advocate relief to only one ethnic group?
- The PoE concluded that LTTE was the most disciplined and most nationalist of the Tamil military groups”
- PoE report said ‘as many as 40,000 may have died’ how did ‘may have’ over the years get turned into ‘has been killed by the Sri Lankan Army’.
- UNHRC head Navi Pillay herself quoted 2800 deaths by 13 March 2009 since January 2009, how could the figure have shot up to 40,000, 70,000 or even 147,000 in just 36 days when close to 300,000 Tamils were rescued by 15thMay 2009?
- Immediately after presenting report the 3 Members of the Panel co-authors an article titled ‘Revisiting Sri Lanka’s Bloody War’ replacing what they concluded as ‘credible allegations’ with ‘credible evidence’. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/opinion/revisiting-sri-lankas-bloody-war.html?_r=0
Shamindra Ferndinando questioned the PoE-LTTE lobby link How Moon Panel gathered war crimes info revealed” 20 April 2012.
Questionable actions of the UNHRC – Questioning the Legality OISL
While the legality of PoE is in question, how is it that the OISL was based on the PoE (a personally commissioned report)
OISL mandate was only to cover the period of the LLRC 2002-2009 but it has included after the conflict to cover one party only.
Navi Pillai’s Controversial Picks: Sandra Beidas – South Sudan’s expelled UN officer & Dame Silvia Cartwright to lead investigation on Sri Lanka
The credibility of the OISL investigators was also raised as Marti Ahtisaari was accused of accepting bribes by the Albanian Mafia to deliver Kosovo independence.
On 25 October 2014 an unrehabilitated LTTE cadre was arrested. He had in his possession signatures on blank UNHRC war crimes submission forms with OHCHR Logo which he was collecting on the instructions of a TNA political advisor Sun Master alias Alvapulle Vijendrakumar who was also associated with US embassy political affairs officer Mike Erwin. What a nexus this is.
The UNHRC failed to answer if these forms were printed in Geneva & delivered to the TNA and if a monetary compensation was given to those who signed on blank forms and agreed to give false testimony? Instead of being alarmed that blank submission forms with OHCHR logo with signatures were in circulation the response of the OHCHR was to issue a statement that the GOSL were impeding their investigation.
The statement issued by the new head of the UNHRC Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein issued on 7th November
However the OHCHR head has so far not informed how many such forms had been sent & accepted by the OISL investigators as genuine complaints when obviously they were not. There has been no denial that monetary compensation was not promised for witness testimonies also. How many of these fraudulent witness forms have been given ‘witness protection’ status of anonymity for 20 years?
The Death Guestimates
Any war crimes tribunal and allegations of genocide or war crimes holds water if there are dead bodies or at least skeletons. So far other than plucking numbers from the sky there has been no names given of the 40,000 dead. UNSG who toured the conflict zone 3 days after the conflict in a helicopter did not even make any statement to seeing newly dug graves and the US satellite images also could not produce evidence to where the 40,000 dead could have been buried. This questions why PoE refused to accept the UN country team estimate of 7721 deaths and why Charles Petrie was brought into the scene with a report to claim UN had failed its victims. Well the UN sure had failed all victims of LTTE since 1980s but where was Charles Petrie then?
Bias of Yasmin Sooka
- She is a regular invitee to events of proscribed LTTE fronts & they address her as ‘our comrade’. This nullifies her as being ‘unbiased’ or ‘independent’.
- She is on the Advisory Council of the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace & Justice joining Tamil leaders in signing a petition calling for War Crimes investigation in March 2014 (also signatory were Bishop Rayappu Joseph who opened LTTE office in London, TNA leader Sampanthan, Northern Province Chief Minister Wignewaran) http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/28557
- Her reports all well timed to appear just before a UN session as are other films and documentaries.
- She is a paid employee of the EU – Executive Director of the Foundation of Human Rights in South Africa set up in 1996.
- Her report Unfinished War: Torture & Sexual violence in Sri Lanka 2009-2014” is funded by the British Foreign Office through the Bar Human Rights Committee of England & Wales. https://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/unfinished-war-torture-and-sexual-violence-sri-lanka-2009-2014
- She has purposely mixed civilians with LTTE terrorists in selecting cases for her report.
- The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace & Justice Report Crimes against Humanity in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province released in March 2014 and the foreward to the report by the Centre for Justice & Accountability is endorsed by Sooka who is a member of the Advisory Council of the Campaign for Peace & Justice. http://cja.org/downloads/Crimes%20Against%20Humanity%20in%20Sri%20Lanka_s%20Northern%20Province.pdf
- She was a Guest speaker at the 2013 Global Tamil Forum. GTF was named as a LTTE front in April 2014.
- Her report is funded by Sigrid Rausing Trust & Open Society Foundation’ Soros also funds Amnesty International & HRW. He also supported the independence of Kosovo. His involvement in regime change is presented in a 2011 article in the New York Times ‘US Groups helped Nurture Arab Uprising’ http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/investigate-ngo-heads. /http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/authorinterviews/10820277/Sigrid-Rausing-on-money-addiction-and-collective-farming.html Soros also funds Evangelicals to lobby for immigration laws.
Questioning the lies & distortions by Media/Human Rights Organizations
Presented with examples is the manner that media and Human Rights Groups purposely misinterpreted the PoE by replacing ‘credible allegations’ with ‘credible evidence’. http://www.onlanka.com/news/how-media-and-hr-groups-purposely-misinterpreted-ban-ki-moons-panel-of-expert-report.html
International Laws UNHRC overlooked
Sri Lanka’s conflict is described as a non-international armed conflict (NIAC).
LTTE does not have a legal status under IHL but LTTE is legally obliged to as an armed group ensure its members respect IHL.
Laws applicable are Common Article 3 to the Geneva Convention & Article 1 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II to the 1949 Geneva Convention.
LTTE are not entitled to POW or Combatant status and has to be charged under domestic laws.
Customary International Law applicable to NIAC LTTE as combatants do not enjoy protection against attack accorded to civilians.
Rule 6 declares civilians are protected against attack unless they take direct part in hostilities. UNHRC has failed to provide evidence of how many LTTE cadres died in combat, how many LTTE cadres fought in uniform, how many LTTE cadres fought in civilian clothing and died in combat, how many civilians engaged in some form of hostilities and died as a result (what can never be forgotten is that the LTTE had an active trained civilian armed group) how many civilians did not take part in hostilities but died (how many died from LTTE gunfire, how many died from SL Army gunfire and how many died naturally)
Without being able to ascertain above with figures and evidence how can the National Army be accused of war crimes especially when the Armed Forces delayed the military victory by months to bring to safety close to 300,000 Tamils and sacrificed the lives of 2500 soldiers as a result?
US Law of War manual says party that employs human shields in an attempt to shield military objectives from attack assumes responsibility for their injury” – LTTE is guilty
UNHRC has ignored LTTE violations which all accrue to committing war crimes
- LTTE did not respect or abide by rules of IHL
- LTTE did not allow unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief
- LTTE kept hostages
- LTTE kept human shields
- LTTE blurred distinction between themselves & civilians
- LTTE kept its heavy artillery within the one-sided NFZ and shelled Sri Lanka positions from amidst civilians
- LTTE shot at civilians attempting to flee from LTTE (ample witness accounts available)
- Prof Newton says very clearly ‘there is no per se prohibition against attacking targets protected by human shields’ so long as government artillery strikes comply with the principle of proportionality and after taking ‘all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects”.
- Prof Newton also says Voluntary human shields risk their own lives for a particular military or political objective. They are therefore intellectually identical to unlawful belligerents or other insurgents in the sense that they participate in hostilities but do not enjoy combatant immunity or benefit from the full range of rights that accrue to lawful combatants.”
The most important unanswered question is if the Sri Lankan Military had been indiscriminately firing at the No Fire Zone since 21 January 2009 how did 11,000 LTTE cadres live to surrender themselves in May 2009?
UN bias on civilians & unarmed military personnel
- Let us be clear that it was LTTE that began attacking & killing innocent unarmed civilians. LTTE’s atrocities against unarmed civilians were upon villages, buses, trains, airplanes, places of religious worship and these attacks that began in the 1980s continued till May 2009 – so what did the UN do about these civilians killed by the LTTE many of whom were Sinhalese & Muslims. UN’s focus is only on Tamil civilians. This open bias is completely violating UN mandate.
- The UN that has been on a witch hunt against the Sri Lankan Army has kept mum when 600 unarmed policemen were killed one after the other in 1990, some 200 soldiers were executed by the LTTE in Pooneryn when the camp was run over, scores of armed personnel who had been captured by the LTTE over the years were handed over dead with parts of their body removed, 5000 soldiers remain missing and their data has been officially handed over to the UN/UNHRC and logged with the OISL but nothing has been done on these missing soldiers although the OISL and UNHRC are recommending war crimes tribunals on an allegation of 40,000 dead without so much as names and details to lay basis for such a tribunal.
UN bias on resettlement
- UN system has been biased again on resettlement completely ignoring the Sinhalese & Muslims chased out of their homes in the late 1980s and early 1990s many of whom have been living in makeshift shelters all these years. The whole world is made to believe that ONLY Tamils are in need of resettling and ONLY Tamils have been the aggrieved party. This is a gross violation of the fundamental rights of the other communities living in Sri Lanka who have been the initial victims of LTTE terror. Why has the UN or International Community done nothing to return lands of Sinhalese & Muslims who were living in the North even at the time of independence and whose properties and belongings were forcibly taken by LTTE? Why is there no fund allocation for them or other support?
Bias of UN envoys
- Analysis of statements issued officially by UNSG, OHCHR heads Navi Pillay and Zeid reveals that they have already determined SL Army as guilty. This is a grave injustice to a UN member state by officials who are paid to be unbiased. The locus standi of the former OHCHR head was questioned on account of her being an ethnic Tamil and it was her duty to recuse herself from the case. Despite raising this conflict of interest the UN system ignored calls to appoint an unbiased official
- Navi Pillay as UNHRC head visited families of the LTTE but did not visit a single victim of LTTE terror.
- OHCHR head flouted Article 7 of the UN Charter by ordering Sri Lanka on the type of courts to be established and who should sit in judgement.
- 2 UNHRC heads visited Sri Lanka but both did not visit the Sinhalese & Muslim victims of LTTE terror. Yet UNHRC has been hosting heads of the LTTE fronts named by UNSC 1373 Resolution in Geneva.
- UNHRC has not made any statement on the 5000 missing soldiers whose details were submitted to the OISL and logged with the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons.
- Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights & fundamental freedoms presented factually incorrect statements and made demands that exceed his & the UN mandate – foreign tribunals, foreign judges and foreign lawyers. UN and its envoys cannot make demands to change legal systems in Sri Lanka. UN and its envoys cannot come making brash statements without proof. http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2017/07/16/un-stop-sending-envoys-to-sri-lanka-that-violate-article-2-7-of-un-charter/comment-page-1/ http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=168276
- UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention arrived in December 2017 they went to meet only LTTE cadres in detention and refused to meet any of the military personnel kept in prison without bail or chargesheet. The delegation refused to accept a petition given by Commodore Dassanayake’s daughter. http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2017/12/30/un-officials-in-sri-lanka-we-see-only-ltte-terrorists/
- UN General Assembly & UN Security Council Members – UNHRC head is violating the UN Charter and abusing his office against Sri Lanka http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2017/03/23/un-general-assembly-un-security-council-members-unhrc-head-is-violating-the-un-charter-and-abusing-his-office-against-sri-lanka/comment-page-1/
UN silence on LTTE illegal activities
The LTTE has been engaged in a nexus of illegal international criminal acts that include sea piracy, human smuggling, drug trafficking, human organ trafficking, social security fraud, counterfeit currency trading, money laundering, satellite piracy, credit card fraud, passport forgery. Jane’s Intelligence estimated LTTE’s profits in 2004 to be $300m and without the expense incurred on procurement of arms and maintenance of LTTE cadres this profit must have tripled and it is no surprise that they are able to virtually buy over foreign mouthpieces to speak on their behalf and massive amounts as retainer fees for Western lawyers while they are able to lobby accrue advantage by throwing money in a world where so much corruption prevails even inside the halls of the UN. The book Unsilenced: Unmasking the United Nation’s Culture of Cover-ups, Corruption and Impunity” by Rasna Warah reveals lies, cover-ups, corruptions and immunity to UN officials & inherent conflict of interest in the UN’s internal justice system that does not punish criminal acts of UN officials & their unethical behaviors.
UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer told Newsweek magazine People don’t realize this, but most of what happens at the U.N. is vote-trading,”
If UN has been accused of financial misappropriation, bribe taking, corruption etc what is the guarantee that UN officials have NOT been monetarily or otherwise benefitting from LTTE diaspora who are not shy to throw money even to buy foreign MPs?
We make special mention that immediately after retiring the former UNHRC head was invited to an event organized by one of the LTTE fronts proscribed under UNSC 1373 in April 2014. Her role in demonizing Gaddafi & helping to lay the groundwork for the US/NATO intervention needs mention too as she quoted casualty figures without verifying them and called for foreign military intervention – does the UNHRC head have such a mandate? Is this not a violation of Article 1 & 2 of UN Charter that declares calling for regime change of a sovereign country as a war crime. In fact Justice Patrice Nyaberi objected to the former UNHRC head as President of the ICTR in view of her bias.
UN/UNHRC partiality against smaller UN member states
- If every country in the UN has one vote each irrespective of the size of the country, why is it glaringly clear that the UN sides with countries that are more powerful and goes after the countries that are not. Evidence of this can be very clearly presented.
- Many believe that the arms deals with US & UK for jihadi proxy wars led to Saudi election to the UNHRC where 47 out of 54 countries voted in favor of Saudi.
- Since 2006, UNHRC alone had declared 45 resolutions against Israel and in total there are over 165 Resolutions against Israel in the General Assembly and over 225 Resolutions by the UNSC however, these Resolutions are simply a charade as nothing happens against Israel as US keeps vetoing them. Other countries are not so lucky!
- Let us also note that in May 28, 2008 when the EU nations called for an independent investigation of Sri Lanka that motion was rejected 29 to 12 with 6 abstentions.
- The Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, during last week of June, 2016, reiterated the call for the military to cease commercial activity (Island Newspaper/Shamindra Ferdinando)
Questioning the Resolutions against Sri Lanka
In April 2017 Amnesty International admitted that the very basis of the Geneva Resolution 30/1 adopted in Oct 1, 2015 is questionable.
4 Resolutions were passed in UNHRC in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 based on the unsubstantiated PoE report.
The resolutions are going behind the conflict and touching areas that has no relation to the conflict – changing the constitution, country’s penal codes, the structure of the military, the status of Buddhism
September, 2006, the President authorized the setting up of Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (CCHA). The grouping included ministers, senior officials, including Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa; top Colombo based diplomats and senior representatives of UN agencies – FAO, UNICEF and WFP. 1st meeting of the CCHA was on Oct 14, 2006 and the last meeting on 11 May 2009. Minutes of CCHA meetings are available with Jeevan Thiagarajah, executive director of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) US, EU, Japanese, UN Resident/Humanitarian coordinator too had been represented in CCHA deliberations. The Colombo-based diplomats had direct access to Government Agents, Ms Imelda Sukumar (Mullaitivu), Vedhanayagam (Kilinochchi), Ms P.S.M. Charles (Vavuniya), Nicholas Pillai (Mannar), as they too were members of the CCHA.
The CCHA had met 28 times from Oct 14, 2006 to 11 May 2009 – why did no one raise issue of GOSL lapses during these 28 meetings without complaining years later to the OHCHR/OISL & PoE?
The former defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapakse is on record to say that none of these envoys had complained about shortage of food and other essential items, though there were requests for zinc sheets, cement and iron.
At a CCHA meeting on 30 March 2009 the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (R/HC) in Sri Lanka, Neil Bhune, estimated the maximum number of civilians trapped at 180,000. The minutes of this meeting revealed that Ambassador Blake admitted that the LTTE was continuing to hold civilians against their will.
Did the PoE or the OISL have a look at the meetings of these meetings before throwing allegations that the Sri Lankan Government/Armed Forces did not supply food/medicines etc to the Tamils held by LTTE?
From October 2008 to January 2009 – 12 food convoys to the Vanni (Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts) delivered 7,694 metric tonnes of food.
During the final phase of the conflict, the ICRC evacuated 13,800 casualties and accompanying relatives from the war zone to Trincomalee by sea – while the Sri Lankan Armed forces laying down 5000 military lives saved close to 300,000 Tamil civilians! Upto 21st April even ICRC did not know that the LTTE had 300,000 people.
Jacque de Maio, ICRC Head of Operations for South Asia on 9 July 2009 said that the LTTE commanders, objective was to keep the distinction between civilian and military assets blurred. In fact, the army actually could have won the military battle faster with higher civilian casualties, yet chosen a slower approach which led to a greater number of Sri Lankan military deaths. https://www.onlanka.com/news/icrc-sri-lanka-during-final-phase-of-war.html
Lord Naseby has been one of the handful of non-Sri Lankans to have come out to search for the truth and taken trouble to use the UK Right to Information Act and discover that even the British Government had been fiddling with data and hiding data and he has clearly shown that the figure of 7721 dead quoted by the UN Country Team and kept hidden by the UN system is most likely to correct death toll in Sri Lanka’s 30 year conflict. The lies and the scheming that has gone into the process of vilifying a UN member state is shocking and that discrimination, bias, hypocrisy and lies seem to be continuing still. No UN Charter allows UN envoys to demand changes to a country’s constitution, penal codes, removal of the historical heritage and place of Buddhism… these are exactly what is taking place at present by envoys who function as Viceroys after they land in Sri Lanka.
This nonsense must stop and the UN system must appoint a very independent team to assess whether due process was followed by the UNHRC/OHCHR Head on Sri Lanka from the appointment of the PoE, the OISL, the Resolutions and the many visits of the UN envoys who have been functioning outside their mandate. These findings should be presented to the UNGA and UNSC. These are areas that other UN member countries should worry about too as they can be the next victim.