Showing posts with label Gotabahaya Rajapakse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gotabahaya Rajapakse. Show all posts

Saturday, August 02, 2014

How meaningful are Jayalalitha's love letters to Narendra Modi? (The article that caused a diplomatic blunder from the part of Sri Lanka)

By Shenali D Waduge
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned they say and that aptly puts to context the feelings of Jayalalitha towards Sri Lanka. But, the BJP high powered delegation led by Dr. Subramaniam Swamy who arrived in Sri Lanka at the invitation of the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies recently made explicitly clear that Tamil Nadu would not come between Indo-Lanka relations and also thanked the Sri Lankan President for arresting but releasing the Indian fishermen while confiscating the boats. It was the boat owners that forced the Indian fishermen to poach into Sri Lankan waters because the Indian side had no fish. These are some realities that the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu cannot ignore and her tantrums are dampening the otherwise positive outlook of the Modi-led BJP Government. She should be advised to stop her tantrums and start looking at how the Indian fishermen can be absorbed into a new avenue of livelihood if there are no fish to fish in Indian waters. 

The International Maritime Border Line drawn up in 1974 and 1976 is a bilateral agreement between India and Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister can cry and hoot but she cannot change the legality of this agreement honored by the 2 sovereign nations. 

Katchchetivu came under the jurisdiction of Sri Lanka following the IMBL and Sri Lanka's claim to Katchchaitivu was made in 1924 while as far back as 1876 the island was referred to as belonging to Sri Lanka even the colonial invaders regarded the island as belonging to Sri Lanka. 

Thus, with a bilateral agreement in place it is Tamil Nadu fishermen who are violating the IMBL and the arrest of fishermen poaching into Sri Lankan waters cannot be faulted on Sri Lanka. 

We realize that the issue at hand is as a result of the Indian side of the marine bed affected as a result of internationally banned bottom trawling. It is because commercial fishing has ignored to look after the source from which it makes money that there are no fish on Indian waters along the Tamil Nadu coast. Sri Lanka is not to be blamed because there are no fish in the Indian waters. The Tamil Nadu Government must take blame for allowing internationally banned bottom trawlers to operate. 

We are well aware that India had been making millions from poaching into Sri Lankan waters using bottom trawlers and stealing the shrimps, prawns and fish that ideally belong to the fishermen of Sri Lanka. These poached fish calculated into years would account for theft and loss of millions of revenue to Sri Lanka. This cannot go on not just because it is a violation of territorial rights, theft of fish that do not belong to India but more importantly the manner of fishing will end up totally ruining the marine environment and destroying marine life and eventually lead to no fish on Sri Lankan waters as well. 

The environmental impact and future of marine life is what should take prominence in any diplomatic discussions. 

The Tamil Nadu Government and its Chief Minister should accept fault on several angles. 

Tamil Nadu fishermen violating internationally recognized IMBL and bilateral agreement between India and Sri Lanka 

Tamil Nadu fishermen using bottom trawlers that are internationally banned 

Tamil Nadu coast marine bed destroyed because of bottom trawling and so no fish for the Indian fishermen to fish 

If the Indian coast had no fish as a result of the Indian fishermen destroying the marine life, should the Tamil Nadu authorities have taken measures to look into how the Indian fishermen and their families would survive? The solution is not to poach on waters that belong to other nations. It is not a long time solution or a viable solution. It is as a result of Tamil Nadu authorities not taking to account these realities that their fishermen are facing a predicament of no livelihood and Sri Lanka cannot be blamed for this. 

Would Indian fishermen be allowed to poach in territorial waters that belong to other nations just because the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister comes out with a list of reasons giving them right to? 

The BJP Government is commended for taking a stand and appreciated for approving the measures taken by Sri Lanka in arresting and releasing the Indian fishermen but confiscating the boats. Tamil Nadu seem to have forgotten that it is the Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen whose livelihood was affected as a result of Tamil Nadu fishermen poaching on Sri Lankan waters. The TNA ever ready to find fault with the Sri Lankan Government has not come to the rescue of its own fishermen or brought up the grievance of the Sri Lankan fishermen denied livelihood and this speaks volumes of the sincerity of the TNA towards its own people too. 

With the latest letter of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister directed at demanding the release of the boats, we can but wonder whether some of these may belong to her or her supporters!

When Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is aware that the Tamil Nadu fishermen are violating internationally demarcated waters and poaching while also using internationally banned bottom trawlers, it is unjustified to ask the Indian Prime Minister to take action against Sri Lanka. Obviously she is attempting to dent the popularity of the Indian Prime Minister while also disturb the amity that is being built between the two nations. Her actions are obviously aligned to the undiplomatic and unscrupulous policies followed by the Sonia-led Congress Government where the Central Government of India was virtually kept strangulated and on a noose by successive Tamil Nadu Governments. 

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister may learn sooner than later that Narendra Modi is not a puppet to dance to her tantrums or threats. She should not attempt to embarrass Mr. Modi by her unjustified outbursts. It will not look good on the new Indian Prime Minister if he were to demand that Indian fishermen be allowed to cross the IMBL into Sri Lankan waters is this the mischief that Jayalalitha is upto? 

With the Modi mantra directed towards better and practical governance it is best that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister directs her attention at how to meet the livelihood challenges of Indian fishermen who have no fish to fish on Indian waters. Poaching is not the solution. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tamil Diaspora urge to put Sri Lanka President on dock while Rajapakse says ready to go to gallows

(December 14, Colombo - Lanka Polity) Canadian Tamil Congress spokesman David Poopalapillai told IANS that the Tamil diaspora around the world is writing to the UN, the International Court of Justice and world leaders to put the Sri Lankan president on trial immediately.

"We are drafting our petition and will send it soon to the world leaders, including Canada and India, to put Mahinda Rajapaksa and his men in the dock for war crimes,'' he said.

"What more proof do world leaders and the international community now need to try the Sri Lankan president and his men for crimes against humanity?'' he asked commenting on Sri Lanka's ex-Army Commander Sarath Fonseka's statement to The Sunday Leader that Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, a brother of President Rajapakse, ordered to kill the Tamil rebel leaders that came with white flags to surrender. 

"Rajapaksa is a war criminal. He should be taken to The Hague to face trial for war crimes. No nation has violated the Geneva Convention as flagrantly as Sri Lanka. No nation ever killed the surrendering enemy.''

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse said yesterday (14) that he was ready to go to gallows on behalf of the 'war herpes'.

Fonseka named Sri Lanka Army Major General Shavendra Silva, a Brigadier who was leading operations under Fonseka, as the person of reception of the killing orders of the Defense Secretary.

Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse is a US citizen.

The majority Sinhala community respects the military and political leadership alike that crushed the violent armed struggle of Tamil nationalists. They vehemently oppose power sharing and want to maintain the Sinhala dominance in state apparatus. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), a rebel movement that had a de facto state in Northern and Eastern parts of the island was militarily defeated and almost all leaders were eliminated in the military operations that ended in May 2009 with the victory of the state Army. 

University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna), an independent human rights organization in the Tamil polity in Sri Lanka stated in a recent report "for both parties, the key to military dominance lay not in brilliant strategies, but in an utter disregard for the lives of civilians and combatants alike, driven by their leaders’ single-minded pursuit of personal power."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fonseka's 'evidence' on war crime charges against Sri Lanka taking wings internationally

(December 13, Colombo - Lanka Polity) "This is a comment given by General Fonseka and he will come out with many more. We will not comment on what he says."

This was the response of the Army spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara to an AFP reporter when the latter asked the Brigadier to comment on the ex-Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka's statement that Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse ordered the commander of the army's 58th division, not to accommodate any LTTE (Tiger) leaders attempting to surrender and that they must all be killed.

However, the story has begun to spread in international media as analysts speculate backlash from the UN and other human rights bodies that urge for a probe on war crime charges in the last phase of the war with the Tamil Tigers. 

Fonseka's statement is the strongest evidence that has come out so far against Sri Lanka state and officials over war crime charges.

During the war's finale, the United States and other Western nations voiced alarm at Sri Lanka's treatment of non-combatants, along with its internment afterward of some 130,000 Tamil civilians. The U.S. State Department in October released a congressionally mandated report cataloguing accounts of shelling of civilians, killings, child-army recruitment and other abuses during Sri Lanka’s offensive against the separatists this year.

Sri Lanka's ex-Army chief cites evidence of war crimes of the rulers

(December 13, Colombo - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka's opposition presidential candidate ex-Army Commander retired General Sarath Fonseka made a highly controversial statement today to The Sunday Leader newspaper unsettling the whole establishment including himself.

Immediately after the Sri Lankan rulers invigorated two selected investigations pertaining to intimidating and killing of media persons, for which the accusation finger was pointed at Fonseka by opposition and media, the latter said to the same newspaper the editor Lasantha Wickramathunga was brutally murdered on a busy highway in January that Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa instructed a key ground commander in the north that all Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) leaders must be killed and not allowed to surrender.

This is the first ever concrete evidence of war crimes suspected took place in the final phase of the war against the LTTE and UN Human Rights Council, the UN Security Council and other international bodies cannot overlook the former Army Commander's statement.

In an explosive interview with The Sunday Leader General Fonseka the then Army Commander  said he had no information communicated to him in the final days of the war that three key LTTE leaders had opted to surrender to Sri Lanka’s armed forces as the battle drew to a bloody finish.

Fonseka charged that communications were instead confined  between the LTTE leaders, Norway, various foreign parties, Basil Rajapaksa, Member of Parliament and the powerful senior adviser to the President and such information was never conveyed to him as he supervised the final stages of the war. “Later, I learnt that Basil had conveyed this information to the Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa – who in turn spoke with Brigadier Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Army’s 58th Division, giving orders not to accommodate any LTTE leaders attempting surrender and that “they must all be killed.”

General Fonseka explained how on the night of May 17th this year desperate efforts of three senior LTTE leaders trapped in the war zone to save their lives failed as they were instead shot dead as they prepared to surrender to government forces.

The government later claimed that troops found bodies of three key LTTE leaders identified as Nadesan, Pulidevan and Ramesh during the mop- up operations in the last LTTE stronghold on the morning of May 18.

General Fonseka said the incident took place as the remaining LTTE cadres were boxed into a 100m x 100m area, North of Vellamullivaikkal.

Balasingham Nadeshan  a former police constable of Sri Lanka police was the political head of the LTTE. Seevaratnam Pulidevan was the head of “LTTE peace secretariat” while Ramesh a senior special commander of the military wing.

Hours before they surrendered, in a flurry of emails, text messages and telephone calls between NGOs, a foreign government and Sri Lankan officials in Colombo, the two LTTE political leaders had frantically inquired as to how they could give themselves up.

They were told: “Get a piece of white cloth, put up your hands and walk towards the other side in a non-threatening manner.”

But the attempt to surrender by the three LTTE leader and their families failed. Sometime between midnight on 17 May and the early hours of the next morning, the three men and their family members were shot dead.

General Fonseka said it was Basil Rajapaksa together with the Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa who through foreign intermediaries conveyed a message back to the LTTE leaders who wished to surrender to walk out carrying a piece of white cloth.  “It was their idea,” he said.


When we contacted  Shavendra Silva, now promoted to Major General he sounded very shocked when told of the allegation but insisted he could not respond to this charge until he had clearance from the military spokesman.

Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told us he had to get clearance from the Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya.

Later in the day the military spokesman said that he had contacted both the Army Commander and General Shavindra Silva and both had said that they would not comment on the matter.

The chief intermediary for the three LTTE men was the Norwegian government’s then Environment and Development Minister Erik Solheim. (Solheim is now the overseas development minister) On Sunday 17 May, Mr Solheim apparently received calls from LTTE figures who said they wanted to surrender.

The ICRC in Colombo later confirmed that it had received word from the Norwegians that the two leaders were looking to give themselves up. “The ICRC was approached on this matter by the representatives of the LTTE as well as the Norwegian authorities,”  spokeswoman Sarasi Wijeratne was quoted saying  at the time of the incident. “The information was referred to the Sri Lankan authorities. We have no idea what happened [then]. We lost contact with everyone in the last conflict.”

The government’s point man in the negotiations appears to have been former foreign secretary Palitha Kohona who is now Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the United nations  He was quoted by news agencies saying that in the days leading up to Sunday evening, he had received a number of messages indicating from Mr. Nadesan and Mr Pulidevan – whom he has met at various peace talks – wanting a way out.

In one interview with ‘SiberNews’ Mr. Kohona said that his response had been that “there was only one way to surrender that is recognised by military practice”. He said they should obtain a white flag and give themselves up. “I kept saying this for three days,” he added.

But General Fonseka maintains that Nadesan, Ramesh and Pulidevan had been shot dead by government troops as they advanced towards them carrying a white flag, as they had been instructed to do.

Fonseka said he later learnt about what exactly had taken place as a result of journalists who had been entrenched at the time with General Shavendra Silva’s brigade command.  These reporter’s according to Fonseka  were privy to the telephone call received by the Army’s 58th Brigade Commander from the Defence Secretary –“telling him to not accommodate any LTTE surrenders but to simply go ahead and kill them.” – “These journalists later told me what exactly took place,” Fonseka said.
“Norway never got in touch” – Basil
Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa refuted this damning charge.  He told The Sunday Leader, “The Norwegians never got in touch with me over this particular incident.  I have been in touch with the Norwegians over various issues pertaining to the conflict but never once on this particular issue.”

When asked if he had been unaware then that three LTTE leaders were seeking surrender during the last stages of the war – Rajapaksa replied, “No. I won’t say that. But Norway never got in touch with me.”

Asked nevertheless if he did convey something to this effect to his brother and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Mr. Rajapaksa said “If I had not been informed by Norway in the first instance then obviously the second did not happen.”

Our attempts to contact Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa failed.  When we telephoned the Defence Ministry Friday we were told Mr. Rajapaksa had not been in office the entire day.  His staff refused to release any other telephone number.
A reader of The Sunday Leader commented as follows:

The War Crimes Tribunal and the international community should take note of the disclosures of Gen Sarath Fonseka, under whose watch the decades-long war was won. Perhaps, in the run-up to the Presidential election, we will learn more of the final phase of the war, and the innocent civilian blood that was shed to achieve that victory, hitherto censored from public knowledge. If this is not war crimes and crimes against humanity, what is?
Following is an excerpt from an encyclopedia on surrender:

Surrender is when soldiers, nations or other combatants stop fighting and eventually become prisoners of war, either as individuals or when ordered to by their officers. A White flag is a common symbol of surrender, as is the gesture of raising one's hands empty and open above one's head.

When the parties agree to terms the surrender may be conditional, i.e. if the surrendering party promises to submit only after the victor makes certain promises. Otherwise it is a surrender at discretion (unconditional surrender); the victor makes no promises of treatment other than those provided by the laws and customs of war  — most of which are laid out in the Hague Conventions (1907) and the Geneva Conventions . Normally a belligerent will only agree to surrender unconditionally if completely incapable of continuing hostilities.

The Third Geneva Convention  states that prisoners of war should not be mistreated or abused. United States Army  policy states that surrendered persons should be treated according to the "5 S's" until turned over to higher authority.
  • Silence: so that they cannot plan an escape attempt.
  • Search: for weapons or items of intelligence value.
  • Secure: tie up and/or guard carefully at all times, particularly at first.
  • Safeguard: do not allow the dangers of the battlefield to hurt them
  • Separate: soldiers from officers, men from women, combatant

    s from civilians, to make them easier to control.


(NWP1-14M, Section 11.7)

Combatants cease to be subject to attack when they have individually laid down their arms to surrender, when they are no longer capable of resistance, or when the unit in which they are serving or embarked has surrendered or been captured.  However, the law of armed conflict does not precisely define when surrender takes effect or how it may be accomplished in practical terms.  Surrender involves an offer by the surrendering party (a unit or individual combatant) and an ability to accept on the part of the opponent.  The latter may not refuse an offer of surrender when communicated, but that communication must be made at a time when it can be received and properly acted upon - an attempt to surrender in the midst of a hard-fought battle is neither easily communicated nor received.  The issue is one of reasonableness.

Combatants who have surrendered or otherwise fallen into enemy hands are entitled to prisoner-of-war status and, as such, must be treated humanely and protected against violence, intimidation, insult, and public curiosity.  When prisoners of war are given medical treatment, no distinction among them will be based on any grounds other than medical ones.  Prisoners of war may be interrogated upon capture but are required to disclose only their name, rank, date of birth, and military serial number.  Torture, threats, or other coercive acts are prohibited.

Persons entitled to prisoner-of-war status upon capture include members of the regular armed forces, the militia and volunteer units fighting with the regular armed forces, and civilians accompanying the armed forces.  Militia, volunteers, guerrillas, and other partisans not fighting in association with the regular armed forces qualify for prisoner-of-war status upon capture, provided they are commanded by a person responsible for their conduct, are uniformed or bear a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carry their arms openly, and conduct their operations in accordance with the law of armed conflict.

Should a question arise regarding a captive's entitlement to prisoner-of-war status, that individual should be accorded prisoner-of-war treatment until a competent tribunal convened by the captor determines the status to which that individual is properly entitled.  Individuals captured as spies or as illegal combatants have the right to assert their claim of entitlement to prisoner-of-war status before a judicial tribunal and to have the question adjudicated.  Such persons have a right to be fairly tried for violations of the law of armed conflict and may not be summarily executed.

According to Wikipedia, clloquial definitions of war crime include violations of established protections of the laws of war, but also include failures to adhere to norms of procedure and rules of battle, such as attacking those displaying a flag of truce, or using that same flag as a ruse of war to mount an attack. Attacking enemy troops while they are being deployed by way of a parachute is not a war crime. However, Protocol I, Article 42 of the Geneva Conventions explicitly forbids attacking parachutists who eject from damaged airplanes, and surrendering parachutists once landed.War crimes include such acts as mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilians. War crimes are sometimes part of instances of mass murder and genocide though these crimes are more broadly covered under international humanitarian law described as crimes against humanity.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Sri Lanka in talks to avoid war-crimes quiz in US

(November 02, Colombo - Lanka Polity) Sri Lanka called on US authorities to drop plans to interview the island's military commander over allegations of war crimes against ethnic Tamil rebels, an official said Sunday.

The Colombo government held "very high-level" talks to prevent General Sarath Fonseka, currently visiting Oklahoma, from being quizzed over his conduct during the conflict against the Tamil Tigers, the official said.

The privately-run Sunday Times newspaper here said Fonseka had been asked to present himself for an interview with the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday.

The move "prompted fears in Colombo that Washington is asserting its legal authority over the 'war crimes' report" released last month, the paper said referring to a State Department dossier on alleged war crimes.

The report outlined excesses by security forces and Tiger rebels during the final stages of fighting earlier this year. The report, submitted to the US Congress, refers to Fonseka's having overstepped his brief.

The Sunday Times said the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission there was already providing legal assistance to Fonseka.

Fonseka is a US Green Card holder and travelled to the US last week to visit his two daughters. He also addressed a group of Sri Lankans in Washington last week and took credit for leading the battle to crush the Tigers.

The US embassy in Colombo declined comment.

The State Department report cited allegations that Tamil rebels recruited children and that government forces broke a ceasefire as well as killed rebels who surrendered.

It also cited reports in which it was claimed government troops or government-backed paramilitaries "abducted and in some instances then killed Tamil civilians, particularly children and young men."

The report covered the period from January -- when fighting intensified -- until the end of May, when Sri Lankan troops defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at the end of a decades-old separatist conflict.

Sri Lanka last week announced it was appointing a panel to investigate the allegations after initially dismissing the report as "unsubstantiated."

The island's government managed to stave off a UN human rights council debate on alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity thanks to the backing of veto-holders China and Russia.

The UN has said that up to 7,000 civilians perished during the last four months of fighting and accused both the military and the Tigers of not doing enough to protect civilians.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

KP - Gota joint operation to suppress the remnants of the LTTE

(August 12, 2009 - Lanka Polity) Reliable sources reveal that KP, a.k.a Selvarasa Pathmanathan or Kumaran Pathanathan who was captured in Malaysia and brought to Colombo by Sri Lanka government is now assisting the government to crack down on the remnants of his organization locally and internationally. KP was appointed the General Secretary of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) after his leader Velupillai Prabakaran was killed by government forces on May 18, 2009 at a location in Mullaithivu district of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. KP is the senior-most remaining leader of the LTTE.

The brother of the President Mahinda Rajapakse, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who excelled in defeating one the most sophisticated and long lasted guerrilla movement, had one to one talks with KP immediately after he was brought to Colombo, reliable sources say.

Unconfirmed reports say that KP was captured and brought to Colombo following an undisclosed understanding between him and the government.

KP was handling a major military supply and business wing of the LTTE. In the last phase of the military onslaught against the Tiger movement, LTTE leader appointed him as the plenipotentiary of the organization. He was consolidating as the leader of the organization amidst resistance of some other LTTE seniors by the time he was captured at a hotel in Kuala Lampur last week.

Meanwhile, the sources say that the government has prepared a plan to suppress the military, organizational and fund raising networks of the LTTE even without leaving space for the Tamil nationalist separatism to raise its head.

White handkerchief marks protest against forcible cremation by the government of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan civil society is silently but strongly marking their protest against the government's inhuman  forcible  cremation of a 20-da...