The Sri Lanka President has repeatedly said that his soldiers under his command went to war with gun in one hand and human rights law book in the other. He also claimed that the operation was a humanitarian operation and there had not been even a single civilian casualty.
He also challenged the authenticity of the Channel 4 documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ that showed summary execution of people with hands tied to their back by soldiers and some soldiers handling naked bodies of women that may have been sexually assaulted. One soldier claimed on the film that one naked body being thrown into a lorry was not really dead and another one says that this one (dead naked body) looks beautiful.
The documentary claimed that these were Sri Lankan soldiers. Sri Lankan soldiers were and still are under the command of His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Defence Secretary is Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother Nandasena (Gotabhaya) Rajapaksa. Nandasena Rajapaksa in a BBC interview said ‘I am telling you we will hang him’. He was referring to Sarath Fonseka, the Army Chief who is in jail now. Sarath Fonseka has implicated Nandasena Rajapaksa in the white flag killings.
Now under international pressure President Mahinda Rajapaksa has agreed to set up a court of inquiry by the army. In other words the army investigating itself. This is like asking Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi or Assad to investigate their own crimes. Can we ask the Norwegian serial killer Breivik to investigate his own killings?
It will be interesting to see the response of Obama administration and the British government. One must remember what President Obama said during his election campaign before he became President. He said ‘When genocide is happening somewhere in the world and we stand idly by that diminishes us’.
With Presidential elections coming up in the US where Obama stands to win, it is anticipated that he would take firm action against Sri Lanka.
The British Foreign Minister Alistair Burt said not so long ago that if ‘accountability’ is not dealt with sufficiently in Sri Lanka ALL OPTIONS ARE OPEN TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT.
The expert panel appointed by the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki Moon has claimed that more than 40,000 people may have been killed during the final phase of the war. The government of Sri Lanka is accused of aerial bombardment of safe zones (set up by the government) and killing thousands of civilians including women, children, disabled and the elderly. The government of Sri Lanka is also accused of bombing hospitals and shooting people who came out of the war zone with white flags. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are accused of using civilians as human shield.
Many human rights organisations have claimed that Tamil women were raped by Sri Lankan soldiers during and after the war.
It will be interesting to see the contents of the book on human rights that the President of Sri Lanka gave his soldiers to hold in one hand whilst carrying a gun on the other.