Category Archives: human rights

Infantry Warfare and the Final Phase of Eelam War IV: Where Laymen Blunder into Infantile Assessments

Michael Roberts

 In his typically feisty style Mark Salter has taken issue with the characterization of a statement in his To End a Civil War as “infantile”  (within an article based on the Lt Col Gash files[1]). [This protest is now reproduced at the end of this essay as well]. Salter’s assertion is from an UTHR report which in turn is based on appraisals provided by Tamil civilians who survived the last stages of the war. Here I address both Salter and Rajan Hoole, a friend of mine and the central figure behind the exhaustive 2009 UTHR reports.

Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the LTTE separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu…Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu, northeast Sri Lanka, March 26, 2009. Pictures taken March 26, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer (SRI LANKA POLITICS CONFLICT IMAGE OF THE DAY TOP PICTURE)

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Diehard Tigers Unpunished: Swiss Federal Court negates Its Prosecutors

News Item from Swissinfo,ch … where the title is  “No jail for Swiss Tamil Tiger financiers”

The Swiss Federal Criminal Court has given no prison terms to alleged financiers of the Sri Lankan Tamil separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). The 13 accused were either given suspended custodial sentences or acquitted. The court on Thursday said accusations of participation in and support of a criminal organisation did not stand and released all of the accused.

It noted that the hierarchical link between the LTTE and WTCC was not sufficiently established. The judges also felt there was not enough concrete proof to consider the LTTE as a criminal organisation.  Continue reading

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Facing Palihakkara: Foreign Judges on Homeland Soil?

Darshanie Ratnawallie in Daily Mirror, 13 June 2018, with the title reading “Diplomacy and Foreign Judges”

Could there be a keener pleasure than to sit around a fire and discuss diplomacy with a diplomat? Of course, there is no fire; just coffee, and that only in plastic cups, which nevertheless provides the fire, inside, instead of outside, but with the same cheering and relaxing power.

  
It’s after the coffee break at the ‘Education Institute’ and Ambassador Palihakkara has invited questions. “You said we cannot operate in isolation. But we have opposed the intervention of foreign judges in HR issues. As a diplomat how do you view this?” a student asks. Palihakkara makes it clear that he views it with disfavour, and concern and has no doubts that the same degree of disfavour would be forthcoming from every country, were such a thing suggested to them.    Continue reading

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Tributes for Sir Desmond de Silva

PRESS RELEASE from The RESIDUAL COURT, The Hague, 5 June 2018 ….  Residual Special Court Remembers Former Prosecutor Sir Desmond de Silva, QC

The Residual Special Court has learned with sadness of the death of former Special Court Prosecutor Sir Desmond de Silva, QC, who passed away on Saturday in the UK. Desmond was the first Deputy Prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

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Goodness Gracious Me! Double Standards in UK and Here. There, Everywhere!

Shamindra Ferdinando,  in The Island, 9 May 2018, where the title is How UK manipulated RTI law to deny Lanka chance to counter war crimes allegations” …. with emphasis here being inserted by The Editor, Thuppahi

Having adopted the Freedom of Information Act, way back in 1970, Norway is now ranked 67 in the Global Right to Information Rating, maintained by the Center for Law and Democracy. Sri Lanka enacted the Right to Information Act, No. 12 of 2016, a year after the change of the war-winning Rajapaksa administration. The UNP, and a section of the civil society and media, campaigned for the right to information (RTI) law though they couldn’t convince the previous government to introduce the Right to Information Act. However, since the adoption of the right to information law, the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration has quickly reached third position in international rankings. The government and all those who had campaigned for RTI law consider it a key good governance administration’s achievement.

Ferdinando Lord Michael Naseby

Norwegian Ambassador Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther and Chairman, Sri Lanka Press Institute Kumar Nadesan at the inauguration of ‘Empowering Citizens with RTI’ on Tueaday (May 8) at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS). Norway funded the two-day conference. (pictures by Sujatha Jayaratne)

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The Bogollagama Gem: Thoughts on the Threatening US Spectre in March-May 2009

Michael Roberts

A = The ethnographic gem on events in 2009 provided by former minister Rohitha Bogollagama in 2013 that is now clarified by Chandre Dharmawardana is startling news even for those aware of the exchanges taking place in the (i) ambassadorial despatches now accessible via Wikileaks and (ii) the bare details of the secret meeting held in Kuala Lumpur at KP’s ‘office’ in February 2009 between Norwegian diplomats and LTTE operatives (with US cognisance).[1]

two symbolic snaps 

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An US Commando Force was at Katunayake in April 2009 prepared for a So-called ‘Humanitarian Intervention’

Chandre Dharma-wardana, an Item arising from our recent email exchanges and taken from his website …. http://dh-web.org/place.names/posts/blake.html ……….with emphasis in different colours added by me as Editor, Thuppahi

Rohitha Bogollagama was the Foreign Mininster (FM) in 2009, during the last days of the Eelam War-IV. On October 20, 2013 evening, I had a conversation with him in the presence of Mohanil Samarakoon (Address: 7 Rajapihilla Terrace, Kandy). We were at the Estate bungalow of the late Mrs. Sharmini Maththew, Korakaha Estate, Kurunegala. This was after dinner, when all other guests had moved out to the veranda. I was not personally known to Mr. Bogollagama until that afternoon. The three of us lingered further, seated around the dining table. I asked Mr. Bogollagama about the last days of the war. He spoke willingly, and with no further encouragement from me. 

Rohitha Bogollagama

Later it occurred to me that many of the things stated by Mr. Bogollagama were of historical significance; hence I wrote down from memory a brief synopsis of our conversation the following day, after I returned to Colombo. What Mr. Bogollagama said was as follows.

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