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TGTE calls on states to take Sri Lanka to ICJ over genocide

The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) this month urged states party to the UN Genocide Convention to take legal action against Sri Lanka at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). 

Addressing an event in UK's Houses of Parliament on December 10, marking the 70th Anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the TGTE's prime minister, Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran said, 

"To give meaning to the Convention as it relates to Sri Lanka, we call upon one of the States party to the Genocide Convention to bring legal action against Sri Lanka in the International Court of Justice. In many instances, as is the case with Sri Lanka, it is not just individuals but the whole state apparatus that is used to commit this heinous crime."

“We also call upon States to amend their Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act by removing immunity for States and to bring legal action against States for genocide in their domestic tribunals.”

UK MPs, Siobhain McDonagh and Gareth Thomas, human rights legal experts Peter Haynes QC, Richard Rogers, Human Rights Lawyers Alex Prezanti, and Kim Renfrew also addressed the event. 

Rogers, who assisted in drafting the second international judgement for genocide, said "we really need is greater determination from states to act fast when early signs of genocide become apparent. If the dream of Lemkin is to be realized, and we are to avoid more genocides, powerful states must put self-interest to the side and work together to prevent the genocide, considered the “crime of crimes". 

Prezanti, who represented victims of international crimes in Ukraine, Cambodia and Georgia, and currently representing an accused charged with genocide at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, said,

“There is one positive takeaway from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for Sri Lankan victims. It is that even if it takes years, justice may eventually come.” 

Prezanti added, robust documentation and preservation of evidence of international crimes is essential and must continue. 

Outlining the TGTE's call for justice for genocide against the Tamil people, Rudrakumaran further said: 

"There is no word other than genocide which can capture the magnitude and atrociousness of the crime committed against the Tamil people. The political reason for not recognizing the Mullivaaikaal atrocity as genocide is that under the traditional justice paradigm, as demonstrated by the opinions of African human rights tribunals and the Canadian Supreme Court with respect to Quebec, an entity that was subjected to genocide has a right to establish an independent state under the principles of self-defense and self-preservation The transitional justice paradigm also states that establishing an independent state can be justified under its fourth pillar of reparations and nonrecurrence,” Prime Minister Rudrakumaran said. “Presently, many States prefer to keep Sri Lanka as one entity than to devise a political arrangement that will ensure the physical security of the Tamils."