Protesters will face criminal prosecution in future - SL police

Protesters and demonstrators are to be prosecuted in the future, the Sri Lankan police has announced . Police spokesperson Ajith Rohona told a press conference that due to the public inconvenience caused by demonstrations and road blockades, protestors would be charged for wasting public time. The policy will allegedly be enacted in all districts on the island, including Colombo.

Sri Lanka denies visa refusal for US official

Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry has denied reports that it refused a visa for the US Ambassador at Large for Women’s Issues, Catherine Russell, who cancelled a 2 day visit scheduled to the island. External Affairs Ministry official Prabhashini Ponnamperuma said that the government was merely requesting Russell to reschedule her visit. “What has been reported is totally erroneous. Sri Lanka has not denied a visa to Ms. Russell as there was no reason for such a refusal. Her visit had to be rescheduled because if otherwise she would have been unable to meet some of those whom she planned...

Potential genocidal crimes of SL are result of 'deliberate planning and policy decisions' - ICEP report

The International Crimes Evidence Project (ICEP) on Sri Lanka, carried out by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), concluded the Sri Lankan government was responsible for vast " crimes against humanity of persecution ". Highlighting the need for a truly independent and credible investigation, the report added that such crimes " constitute genocidal acts if the additional requisite elements for this crime are found to be present through further investigation". “ An independent and comprehensive international investigation is needed into these alleged violations of international law . The absence of such investigation will also ensure the ongoing impunity of those on both sides of the conduct who have committed violations, thereby emboldening those who may continue to abuse the civilian population.” There are also allegations of collusion and other acts by the Sri Lankan state, which inhibit accountability for wartime crimes and protect perpetrators. This report describes command and control structures so well-established that criminal responsibility for certain crimes if proven at trial could lead to convictions of senior military commanders and Sri Lankan Government officials, as well as senior surviving members of the LTTE. ICEP is in the process of collecting new evidentiary material. Early analysis suggests that the Sri Lankan Government may have sought systematically to exhume and destroy evidence of mass civilian deaths. See here for key points of the report. Find full report here .

CTC calls for 'financial and diplomatic sanctions' against Sri Lanka

The Canadian Tamil Congress has called for financial and diplomatic sanctions against Sri Lanka, as it urged the international community to take decisive action at the United Nations Human Rights Council in March. In a statement released yesterday, as the Sri Lankan President lashed out at the prospect of an investigation into human rights violations, the CTC stated, "As Sri Lanka celebrates its 66th year of independence, Tamils in Sri Lanka and worldwide look forward to the support of the international community to bring about peace, justice and equality to the Tamils on the island. Tamils worldwide remain hopeful that a meaningful resolution will be passed in the upcoming March 2014 United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva – one with a mandate to establish an international independent investigation into allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed during the final stages of the war." The statement went on to say, "While the Canadian Tamil Congress thanks the government of Canada for its strong stand at CHOGM in November 2014, we urge our government to take decisive action involving financial and diplomatic sanctions against Sri Lanka."

Key findings of ICEP report

Key findings from the report entitled ‘Island of Impunity?’ are reproduced below. “The report illustrates violations perpetrated by both parties to the conflict and in particular, widespread torture, sexual violence and enforced disappearance, which continue in part today, perpetrated by SFs (Sri Lankan Forces) on the civilian population, “There are also allegations of collusion and other acts by the Sri Lankan state, which inhibit accountability for wartime crimes and protect perpetrators.” "Certain alleged crimes committed during the final months of the war involved such flagrant and reckless disregard for the laws of war, which strongly suggests there was intent to commit those crimes. For example, with effective control of all land, sea, and air approaches, the disciplined, well-trained and well-armed Sri Lankan SFs conducted indiscriminate artillery bombardments of areas of known civilian concentrations, also striking hospitals and humanitarian sites." On the destruction of mass graves sites, "Shortly before this report was finalised, ICEP obtained new eye-witness information in respect of the registration and burial of the civilian dead in the former conflict zone in Sri Lanka during the final five months of the war, and the alleged systematic destruction of civilian mass burial sites in the post-conflict period. "According to this witness, these burial sites contained human remains from hundreds, and in some instances, thousands of men, women and children who died during the conflict. The precise location of these, and other, burial sites, has been provided to ICEP, "This witness has alleged that scores of civilian mass burial sites were systematically destroyed after the conflict. According to this witness, the SFs, and specifically members of the Sri Lankan Police and Sri Lankan Army, are directly implicated in this conduct. This witness believes that senior SFs officials knew that graves were being identified for the purpose of exhumation, and permanent destruction, over a period of more than a year. Self evidently, these allegations are very serious and there is an urgent need for further investigation to determine their veracity." "[...] allegations are that human remains from mass burial sites in the conflict zone were exhumed and were covertly destroyed. This highlights the urgent need for an internationally-mandated investigation.” On indiscriminate killings of Tamil civilians, “The impact of attacks on civilians suggests that the use of military force was manifestly disproportionate to any anticipated military advantage,

SL Human Rights Commissioner props up Colombo's fallacy

Sri Lanka's Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Prathiba Mahanamahewa dismissed the criticisms made by the US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal during her visit to the island as incorrect. Pointing to the Sri Lankan government's notoriously flawed attempt at placating the international call for accountability, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), Mahanamahewa pointed to a number of equally flawed government initiatives to argue that progress had been made. See here .

UNP finds its voice over killing of Sinhalese

The UNP has accused the government of human rights abuses, citing the Weliweriya incident, which left 3 Sinhalese dead, and the Welikade prison massacre , which left 26 Sinhalese and one Tamil dead. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said that both incidents are good examples of human rights being violated, according to Colombo Gazette . “The law and order situation has completely broken down in the country,” he said. Kiriella further said that the UNP is willing to help the government on the human rights issue but the government must first do its part. The opposition MP demanded the launch of a...

ICEP report's acknowledgement of intent is to be welcomed says TAG

Tamils Against Genocide ( TAG ) welcomed the ICEP report leaked today, which concluded a damning catalogue of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and called for an urgent international investigation into these crimes as well as possible genocidal acts. Speaking to the Tamil Guardian, Jan Jananayagam of TAG, said that the organisation welcomed the report, produced by the PIAC. "Coming from an Australian institute, it adds geographical diversity to the range of voices calling for a full international investigation, and collates new evidence that has been reported piece-wise over the last five years and overlays them with legal analysis laying a foundation for prosecution, " explained Ms. Jananayagam. " The ICEP report’s description of GOSLs destruction of evidence and in particular human remains corroborates TAGs own primary evidence and constitutes information that was not previously in the public domain ," she added.

ICEP report underscores why an international investigation is urgently needed say Tamils

The ICEP report, 'Island of Impunity' , by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, published today underscores the reason why an urgent international investigation is needed said Tamils across the world. Speaking to the Tamil Guardian, Suren Surendiran of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) said, "This report is the latest in a mounting body of evidence which shows that the Sri Lankan government's mass killing of the Tamil people in the Vanni was planned and deliberate ." "This is exactly why many within the Tamil community have insisted it's a genocide, and so therefore, it is welcome that the report, along side an increasing number of international experts, calls for an investigation into possible genocidal acts ," he added. Tasha Manoranjan of PEARL, a US based advocacy organisation, told the Tamil Guardian that they welcomed the report for its "thorough overview of the widespread and systematic crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government against the Tamils," and particularly for its acknowledgement that these crimes could constitute genocide if the additional elements of this crime are found in subsequent investigations. Ms. Manoranjan said, "The crime against humanity of persecution, which is raised in the report, rises to the level of genocide when committed with the intent to destroy a particular group, and here, it is painfully apparent that the Sri Lankan government's acts were committed with the intent to destroy the Vanni Tamils, " "In recognising the intentional nature of attacks against Tamil civilians and the intent behind depriving the community of food and medical aid, the report presents evidence showing that the Sri Lankan government's actions were calculated to inflict as much death and destruction as possible ." " This report essentially provides a prima facie case for concluding that the Sri Lankan government committed genocide against Tamils ."

Jayalalitha to push for UNHRC resolution seeking justice for genocide of Tamils

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalitha, today, outlined her intent to ensure that India tables a separate resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions that sought to punish those responsible for the genocide against Tamil civilians during the last stages of the ethnic conflict. Jayalalitha, who expects her AIADMK party to have a bigger influence in the Centre’s policies post general elections, explained that it would be easier to push for an Indian led resolution against Sri lanka, stating , “As far as we are concerned, India itself should move a separate...