War Crimes and Lord Naseby
February 13, 2019
The Island. Colombo.
I wish to respond to N.A.DE.Silva’s opinion piece appearing in the Island dated February 13, 2019. Like a drowning man clutching a straw the likes of Amaratunga are clinging on to Lord Naseby’s coat-tails that “that Sri Lankan forces had not committed war crimes, as proved beyond reasonable doubt by the dispatches of the Military Attaché of the British Embassy in Sri Lanka during the final stages of the war in 2009.”
To claim that Sri Lanka armed forces committed no war crimes and cite Lord Naseby as a witness is ridiculous, if not hilarious. Lord Naseby is a shady character who was reprimanded by the UK parliament for conduct unbecoming of an MP. During the rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa, he enjoyed free travel and holidays in Sri Lanka. In a way, he is a mercenary who is repaying Sri Lanka for the hospitality he and his family enjoyed. This is how he became “true friend” of Sri Lanka.
The crimes committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces have been well-documented thanks to the soldiers who took photographs and passed on the human rights activists sometimes free and sometimes for a fee.
It was Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka who confessed that the army did not fight the LTTE according to the rules of war.
On May 18, 2009, over 300 LTTE cadres surrendered led by Balasingham Nadesan, Head of the Political Department, his Deputy Seevaratnam Pulidevan and Col. Ramesh of the Peace Secretariat. On May 14 Nadesan contacted the United Nations, the governments of Norway, United Kingdom, United States and also ICRC and had been assured by Mahinda Rajapaksa and told to surrender at a particular place by the Basil Rajapakse. LTTE’s request for a third party witness to oversee the surrender was not granted. They surrendered to the 58 Division (Sri Lanka) carrying White flags and were reportedly shot dead. Sarath Fonseka and the then Sri Lankan Army Chief said that they had been shot dead on the orders of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Shavendra Silva Commander of the 58 Division (Sri Lanka). Balachandran Prabhakaran the son of LTTE Chief was also killed after surrendering along with his bodyguards. UN Panel states the LTTE leaders intended to surrender. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Flag_incident)
On the same day at Vadduvaakal over 110-second rung, LTTE cadres surrendered to the army. They were taken in CTB buses in the presence of their spouses and relatives for a short inquiry, but they never returned after that ‘short’ inquiry. Among those who surrendered were Poet Ratnathurai, Elilan, Yogi, Balakumar and Thilakar.
Thanks to some soldiers photographs appeared in the media showing the mutilated bodies of B.Nadeasan, Pulithevan and Col. Ramesh with burnt marks all over their bodies. A photograph appeared in the media showing Balakumar with his son seated on a bench inside an army camp.
Likewise, Balachandran, son of LTTE leader Prabhakaran who surrendered with his bodyguards was also shot dead. A photograph showed the 12-year-old kid seated on a bench inside an army bunker munching some short- eats oblivious of the imminent death lurking around him. Later, the bullet-ridden body of Balachchandran was seen thrown to the ground.
Will Amaratunga please tell us why these surrenders were killed and who gave the orders to shoot?
Tamils are pointing the finger at Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who for all intents and purposes the de facto Defence Minister throughout the war from November 2005. Incidentally, it was Sirisena who was acting Defence Minister in the absence of Mahinda Rajapaksa who has gone abroad.
Let it be known that you cannot bury a pumpkin under a plate of rice. The truth will be out one day and the perpetrators of war crimes will face justice.
To see a write-up and photographs on this massacre please visit URL http://white-flags.org/
February 12, 2019, 12:00 pm
Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con), on 5th February during a House of Commons debate on UNHRC, declared that UK Government expected full implementation of Resolution 30/1 of 2015 and 34/1 of 2017 (The Island – 08.02.2019). He apparently refuted Lord Naseby’s (a true friend of Sri Lanka if ever there was one) position that Sri Lankan forces had not committed war crimes, as proved beyond reasonable doubt by the dispatches of the Military Attache of the British Embassy in Sri Lanka during the final stages of the war in 2009.
Though Lord Ahmad says Britain is a true friend of Sri Lanka, his government did nothing to help Lord Naseby retrieve those documents which would have helped everybody get at the truth. On the contrary, UK government has totally ignored Lord Naseby’s findings and his arguments. Instead of looking into those documents, the UK prefers to trust the UN Panel of Experts reports full of unsubstantiated allegations. In fact, Lord Naseby claimed with proof that people who were supposed to have disappeared had appeared. Further, he has said Sri Lanka has done enough as regards the implementation of the Resolutions and it was time to withdraw them. He has pointed out that the key sponsor of the resolutions, the US, has resigned from the UNHRC, declaring that it has no confidence in the organization. If the US, most powerful country has no confidence in the UNHRC, how can Lord Ahmad ask Sri Lanka to have confidence in that organization and follow its recommendations?
Lord Ahmad has said, “Without truth, justice, and guarantee of non-recurrence there can be no lasting reconciliation”. However, his government, in choosing to ignore important evidence supplied by its own official stationed in their Embassy in Sri Lanka, who had access to first-hand information from the war front and had kept a close watch on the proceedings, has shown that it has no genuine interest in truth and justice. As for non-recurrence, UK did its utmost to keep the war going indefinitely and deny peace and reconciliation to Sri Lankan people, first by turning a blind eye to the LTTE activity in their country without which the LTTE could not have survived so long, and then by trying its best to stop the war in its last stage and rescue Prabhakaran. The UK and its Lords have no moral right to talk about truth, justice and non-recurrence of violence in Sri Lanka for it was that country with others who helped the LTTE to keep the fires burning.
The western powers, by engineering a regime change and then getting the new regime’s foreign minister to obediently cosponsor the resolution, and forcing it to enact laws on Office for Missing Persons, Reparations, and do similar evil deeds have done enough damage to the chances of reconciliation. By focusing their attention and assistance on one community and one party to the conflict, they have shown their partiality and unsuitability to be a friend of all the people of Sri Lanka.
They have no right to lord it over us and tell us what to do about our war heroes and our war which we won despite their interference. Lord Ahmad has only added to the load of piffle he has uttered when he contends that reconciliation had come to a halt during the 51 days following the temporary change of government in Sri Lanka. People in Sri Lanka live in harmony despite their politicians and this is a problem for the British and some of their lords.
N.A. DE S. AMARATUNGA
The Island – February 13, 2019