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TAG calls for arrest of Rajapaksa

Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) have submitted a formal complaint to the UK’s Metropolitan Police Service, over Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapksa visit for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations next week, and called for criminal proceedings to commence against him.

In a complaint sent to the Metropolitan Police on Friday, the organisation noted that Rajapaksa stands accused of involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, stating,

“In light of the UK’s obligations under universal jurisdiction provisions, we invite the Metropolitan Police to investigate these allegations and arrest Rajapaksa in order to commence criminal proceedings.”

Speaking to the Tamil Guardian a TAG spokesperson said,

“TAG has submitted a formal complaint with the aim of bringing justice to the victims of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Sri Lankan state.

While TAG appreciates that there are immunity issues involved, it is our understanding that this will not prevent the Metropolitan Police from opening a case file and commencing investigations.”


Sending a copy of the recent case submission in the United States against Rajapaksa, TAG highlighted the case of Dr Kasipillai Manoharan, father of one of the ‘Trinco 5’ students killed by Sri Lankan security forces in 2005, and a UK resident.

The group went on to cite sections of the UN Panel of Experts report, commenting

“the report characterizes the systematic shelling of civilians and intentional deprivation of access to food and medicine as “calculated to bring about the destruction of a significant part of the civilian population”. This characterization is identical to the definition of genocide in Article 2(c) of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.”

Noting that the Sri Lankan President is also “Commander-in-chief” of the armed forces and bears command responsibility, the complaint concluded,

The strength of these credible allegations clearly meets the threshold for an arrest to be made and charges to be brought. TAG urges the Metropolitan Police to take necessary steps in accordance with the UK’s universal jurisdiction and international law obligations to arrest Rajapaksa and bring him to justice.”

Read the full text of the formally submitted complaint below.


Re: War Crimes Complaint Against Visiting Sri Lankan President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa

Dear Sir/Madam,

Tamils Against Genocide Inc (TAG). is a non-profit litigation advocacy organization incorporated in the United States. We are involved in evidence gathering and in bringing litigations on behalf of victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against perpetrators from Sri Lanka under universal jurisdiction provisions in countries including the United States and in submissions to international bodies such as the International Criminal Court. Further details of our work may be found under the litigation section of our web site http://www.tamilsagainstgenocide.org

We are writing to make a formal complaint against the Sri Lankan President Percy Mahendra Rajapaksa regarding alleged involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Rajapaksa is due to visit the United Kingdom (UK) imminently in conjunction with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. In light of the UK’s obligations under universal jurisdiction provisions, we invite the Metropolitan Police to investigate these allegations and arrest Rajapaksa in order to commence criminal proceedings.

TAG is involved with ongoing litigations and investigations into war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Sri Lanka. Of particular relevance is Manoharan, Lavan & Aiyathurai v Rajapaksa [case 1:11-CV-00235] which was filed against Rajapaksa in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in January 2011 by attorney Bruce Fein acting under instructions from TAG. The complaint against Rajapaksa alleges that ‘the defendant’s Presidency has been earmarked by gross violations of internationally recognized human rights including war crimes, rape, torture, inhumane or degrading treatment and prolonged detention without charges.’ Please find the case submission attached.

In particular, one of the claimants in the US case, Dr Kasipillai Manoharan, is a resident of the UK. His son, Ragihar Manoharan, was “beaten and killed extra-judicially by Sri Lankan security forces under the command responsibility and control of the Defendant [Rajapaksa]” (page 2 of the submission). Mr Manoharan’s son was one of five students who were killed extra-judicially by Sri Lankan security forces in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka in January 2006 under Rajapaksa’s presidency. Please find attached the evidence submitted to The People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka - Dublin, Ireland (Janunary 14-15, 2010) regarding this incident.

Furthermore, Rajapaksa was the incumbent head of state during the final stages of the civil war in Sri Lanka. Article 30 of the Sri Lankan Constitution vests power over the armed forces in the hands of the Sri Lankan President as “Commander-in-chief”. Rajapaksa therefore had command responsibility over the Sri Lankan armed forces that allegedly committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during the war according to the Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka (the UN Report) published by the United Nations on 31 March 2011.

At pages 68-69 the report characterizes the systematic shelling of civilians and intentional deprivation of access to food and medicine as “calculated to bring about the destruction of a significant part of the civilian population”. This characterization is identical to the definition of genocide in Article 2(c) of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. At paragraphs 104 and 109, the UN Report describes the shelling of hospitals.

The UN Report further cites The International Crisis Group’s (ICG) report entitled ‘War Crimes in Sri Lanka’ published on 17 May 2010. At page (i) of its report, the ICG alleges ‘the intentional shelling of hospitals’ and ‘the intentional infliction of suffering on civilians’. At pages 15 to 18 of the report, the ICG alleges a series of attacks on hospitals including government hospitals, staffed by government doctors within the LTTE controlled, so-called ‘No Fire Zones’.

The evidence presented in these reports has been further corroborated by the critically acclaimed Channel 4 documentary, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, which provides graphic footage of the Sri Lankan army’s shell attacks whose frequency was deliberately timed in order to maximize casualties and to exterminate rescuers who came to the rescue of patients wounded by the initial shelling.

The strength of these credible allegations clearly meets the threshold for an arrest to be made and charges to be brought. TAG urges the Metropolitan Police to take necessary steps in accordance with the UK’s universal jurisdiction and international law obligations to arrest Rajapaksa and bring him to justice.

Yours Sincerely,

Tamils Against Genocide