The leader of the Tamil National Alliance this week rejected the Sri Lankan prime minister's call to 'forgive and forget' the past, demanding justice through an international mechanism and stressing that offenders should be punished.
In an interview to the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper, R Sampanthan said, "We want justice."
"We welcome the statement where he acknowledged the war crimes committed by the state armed forces. However, we totally reject his notion of forgetting and forgiving. We will never allow the idea of forgetting and forgiving to take root.
Victims of the war crime committed by the armed forces are still living in Vanni. Hence, the affected, the killed, and the enforced disappeared need justice. Facts must be discerned through an international mechanism. Offenders should be punished. The government should allow this.
There is evidence. Domestic investigations conducted with the victims have confirmed that war crimes were committed during the final war. The victims have informed the international leaders and important officials who visited Sri Lanka of the truth. Therefore, no one can escape by saying that both sides have committed war crimes. That is, they cannot say that both the armed forces and the LTTE have committed war crimes and escape.
Firstly, the rules of war must be followed if war is going on in a country. Secondly, the war should be waged while defending the people of the said country. The Sri Lankan armed forces threw away these two rules and committed blatant human rights violations and war crimes.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed. Thousands of people became enforced disappeared. In this situation, the Prime Minister has said that we should forget and forgive the war crimes while accepting the facts concerning them.
We will not allow that. The internationally community will not allow that too.
During the final war, the armed forces have committed war crimes not only against the Tamil people but also the LTTE. Surrendered and captured members of the LTTE were cruelly tortured. Many became enforced disappeared. Many were killed. The evidence for this has also been released.
So, the Government of Sri Lanka must respect the resolutions passed by the United Nations and take measures to implement them properly. Facts must be found, and justice should be established.