The United States’ reported backing for a domestic process of accountability with ‘international technical assistance’ perverts international justice said exiled Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam on Tuesday.
Writing in the Asian Correspondent, Mr Tissainayagam said:
“the U.S. and the international community are misguided in believing that the two elections and a national government have brought about enduring change that merits Washington to collaborate with Colombo on the forthcoming resolution at the UNHRC. This is because despite regime change there is little evidence that the new government has either the capacity or the political will to domestically investigate, try and punish perpetrators of international crimes.”
He went on detail the inadequacy in “important institutions of state that will be vital in determining if the process of accountability effectively delivers justice to the victims”.
“Even as he campaigned for the presidency, Sirisena, who has admitted being acting minister of defence “when most of the LTTE leaders were killed,” was insistent that Rajapakse and the military leaders implicated in mass atrocities against Tamils would not be brought before an international tribunal for war crimes,” said Mr Tissainayagam, adding, “Installed in power, the Sirisena government intervened directly to protect the status of those in the military implicated in war crimes”.
The journalist also stated that Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe “has been no less emphatic in expressing similar reservations on an international investigation”.
Mr Tissainayagam added,
“The parties forming the national government in parliament which he heads are expected formally agree to a common position on “protecting the rights of war heroes who were responsible for liberating the country.” This is expected before the UNHRC meeting later this month.”
He concluded by saying,
“As in the case of Burma, in Sri Lanka too the U.S. is applauding superficial gains in democracy and human rights to cover up more substantive advantages it has in geopolitics and commerce. In Burma there was a release of political prisoners and some liberalisation of press laws, while in Sri Lanka there have been mild gestures to Tamil sentiments such as releasing of some land held by the military and the appointment of a civilian governor over a military one in the Tamil-majority Northern Province.”
“But accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity goes deeper than gestures. It deals with fundamentals on how those enjoying state power are going to deliver justice to a group traditionally seen as the ‘other’. In the minds of the victims unless there is scrutiny by the international community of the process, it will be perverted. And the U.S. by its endorsement of a domestic accountability process over an international one has laid the cornerstone for the perversion of international justice.”
See his full piece here.