Accuser as Judge and Jury

The Island Editorial April 4, 2014

US Ambassador in Colombo Michele J. Sison is doing everything in her power to justify her country’s resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. She cannot be faulted for doing her job. But, some of the arguments she has put forth in support of the US action are not convincing, to say the least.

Ambassador Sison has told foreign correspondents in Colombo that the US should not be blamed for long-standing divisions in Sri Lanka. Here, one sees the so-called straw man fallacy. No one in his or her proper senses will make such an allegation. Sri Lanka’s divisions, especially those along ethno-religious line, are as old as the hills and some of them even predate the discovery of America!

But, the recently adopted US-sponsored UNHRC resolution has caused reconciliation to elude this country further. For, it has made LTTE groups active overseas intransigent and cocky so much so that they are now all out to use the UNHRC to avenge the decimation of their military muscle and pursue their separatist goal politically with the help of some western governments.

The US envoy has urged the Sri Lankan government to fulfil its obligations to its people and take meaningful, concrete steps on reconciliation and accountability. The latter, no doubt, must do so, but it takes two to tango, doesn’t it?

What about the proponents of the UNHRC resolution, who recognised Prabhakaran as the sole representative of Tamils? Reconciliation is anathema to them because they need ethnic tensions to fuel their Eelam project and secure block votes. It is not reconciliation that they seek but revenge and an opportunity to create conditions for re-launching their Eelam project. They are doing their damnedest to have the incumbent government responsible for defeating the LTTE dislodged because they see it as an insurmountable obstacle in their path. They are striving to pave the way for a malleable government like the one which allowed itself to be railroaded into signing a blatantly lopsided CFA with the LTTE and compromising national security at the behest of external forces. Their not-so-surreptitious plan and the agenda of the West desirous of engineering a regime change here to further their geo-strategic interests dovetail.

The US policy towards the LTTE has been consistent and it has repeatedly declared its commitment to helping preserve Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity. But, sadly, there is little that it could do to avoid being seen to be promoting the interests of pro-LTTE groups because of its diplomatic badger hunt against Sri Lanka in Geneva.

Ambassador Sison is reported to have told journalists that for the first time, ‘the resolution requests a comprehensive investigation, to be undertaken by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes committed in Sri Lanka by both sides, during the 2002-2009 period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report’.

Yes, it does make such a call. The US may preen itself on its diplomatic victory against a tiny country though it could not secure India’s support for its move. But, there is absolutely no need for such an investigation! The OHCHR has already found those who defeated the LTTE guilty of war crimes as could be seen from what UNHRC Chief Navi Pillay has said in her report on Sri Lanka. The same goes for the UNSG’s office, if the Darusman Report commissioned by it is any indication. Here is a situation where the accuser has been allowed to act as the judge and the jury as well. All signs are that the OHCHR’s probe will turn out to be a kangaroo trial.

The US wishes to encourage the Sri Lankan government to cooperate fully with UN mechanisms, Ambassador Sison says. But, the problem with them is that they are manipulated by vested interests to further their interests on the pretext of protecting human rights.


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