தமிழ்த் தேசியம்

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamils - a Trans State Nation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Indictment against Sri Lanka - Introduction & Index > Genocide'83 > Sri Lanka's Genocidal War '95 >  Sri Lanka's War on Tamils in the Shadow of a Ceasefire: '02 todate > Disappearances & Extra Judicial Killings > Rape & Murder  > Torture  >  Sri Lanka's War Crimes > Censorship, Disinformation & Murder of Journalists > Patterns of  Impunity > Sri Lanka Accused at United Nations > Rajiv Gandhi's War Crimes  >

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Last updated
01/11/07

 "I attended a press conference where  SriLanka Defence Minister Ranjan Wijeratne told the press that there had been no civilian casualties despite heavy bombing. When I volunteered that I had seen many bomb-blasted bodies, and many hundreds of people injured by helicopter strafing and more, the Defence Minister told me it was a pity I had not been shot." Deanna Hodgin, Insight Magazine,  to Congressman Gus Yatron,Subcommittee on Human Rights,Washington 7 November 1990

"You cannot do things under normal law. It takes a lot of time. By the time my good friends who are lawyers take time to solve these things, the match will be over. We have finished the first eleven and the second eleven. Now we are tackling the under fourteen fellows.", Sri Lanka's Deputy Defence Minister, Ranjan Wijeratne  (Sri Lanka Hansard, Volume 62, Column 1249, proceedings of 25 January 1990)

 "...The time has come for the whole Sinhala race which has existed for 2500 years, jealously safeguarding their language and religion, to fight without giving any quarter to save their birthright... I will lead the campaign..." J.R.Jayawardene, Sinhala Opposition Leader in Sri Lanka Tribune, 30 August 1957 
"If there is discrimination in this land which is not their (Tamil) homeland, then why try to stay here.Why not go back home (India) where there would be no discrimination. There are your kovils and Gods.There you have your culture, education, universities etc. There you are masters of your own fate....

If the sleeping Sinhalese wake up to see the Tamils trying to establish a Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, then things may not be quite calm. It would be advisable for the Tamils not to disturb the sleeping Sinhala brother. Everybody knows that lions when disturbed are not peaceful." - Mr.W.J.M. Lokubandara, M.P. in Sri Lanka's Parliament, July 1981
"Since yesterday morning, we have heard in this honourable House about the various types of punishment that should be meted out to them (Tamil Parliamentary leaders).

The MP for Panadura (Dr Neville Fernando) said there was a punishment during the time of the Sinhalese kings, namely, two arecanut posts are erected, the two posts are then drawn toward each other with a rope, then tie each of the feet of the offender to each post and then cut the rope which result in the tearing apart the body. These people also should be punished in the same way..

...some members suggested that they should be put to death on the stake; some other members said that their passports shouldbe confiscated; still other members said that they should be stood at the Galle Face Green and shot. The people of this country want and the government is prepared to inflict these punishments on these people."
- Mr. G.V.Punchinilame, Sinhala M.P. for Ratnapura in Sri Lanka's Parliament, July 1981.
"Now, Sir... what should we do to this so called leader of the Tamils? If I were given the power, I would tie him to the nearest concrete post in this building and horsewhip him till I raise him to his wits. Thereafter let anybody do anything he likes - throw him into the Beire (lake) or into the sea, because he will be so mutilated that I do not think there will be life in him. That is war." - Mr.D.M. Chandrapala, Sinhala M.P. for Kundasale in Sri Lanka's Parliament, July 1981
" We are born as Sinhalese and as Buddhists in this country. Though we are in a majority, we have been surrendering to the minority community for four years. Let us rule as a majority community". - Mrs. Wimala Kannangara M.P., Minister for Rural Development, in Sri Lanka's Parliament, July 1981
 "I have tried to be effective for sometime but cannot. I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna (Tamil) people now... The more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here.. really, if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy.."" July 1983, President Jayawardene,  in  the London Daily Telegraph:
 

INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA

Impunity: Crime & No Punishment

Impunity means freedom from punishment.  During the past five decades and more the Sri Lankan security forces, para military groups and Sinhala goondas have violated the rights of the Tamil people, have killed, tortured, raped and massacred with impunity, free from any fear of punishment. The pattern of behaviour established by the Sinhala  Sri Lanka government's refusal to adequately investigate the crimes committed against the Tamil people and the overt statements made by Sinhala politicians from time to time expose the true nature of the assimilative agenda of  Sinhala Buddhist governments.

Impunity Making Mockery of Addressing Extrajudicial Executions - Special Rapporteur to UN's Third Committee, 29 October  2007
Mass Acquittal in Bindunuwewa Massacre Case, June 2005

"At no time there were any incidents among the detainees and the management. There were no incidents with the neighbours either…. It is clear from the information now received by the authorities that provocation from external forces had led to this situation,"  - thus spoke President Chandrika Kumaratunga immediately following the Bindunuwewa massacre. The acquittal of the accused in the Bindunuwewa massacre was foretold...The ethnic biases have plagued the administration of justice in Sri Lanka. It has been almost impossible for the ethnic minority Tamils to obtain justice. The impunity accorded by the Sri Lankan government to the perpetrators of racial violence has increased the alienation of the ethnic minority Tamils. The judgement of 27 May 2005 which established the fact that not a single person could be held guilty for the mass murder of 28 Tamils in the protective custody of the State at Bindunuwewa will further increase the distrust of even the moderate Tamil minorities with the democratic institutions of Sri Lanka..."

Amnesty International Calls on the Sri Lankan Government to Prosecute Security Forces Responsible for Disappearances in Sri Lanka, 2004
In Sri Lanka, the security forces have been responsible for tens of thousands of "disappearances" ... "Disappearance" appeared to be used for two purposes: it facilitated torture without accountability and it concealed the killing of prisoners. In the overwhelming majority of these cases, there have been virtually no reported prosecutions or convictions. Impunity for these crimes continues. .."
Sinhala dominated Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission closes file on rape of Sarathambaal, June 2001

"..Since the government of President Chandrika is indifferent to crimes committed by members of the armed forces in a pervasive climate of immunity from punishment, such state sponsored terrorism is on the rise. The long arm of the law simply refuses to catch the rapists and murders, except in very rare cases, when the victims are Tamils!.."

Appeal submitted by the Tamil Centre for Human Rights to UN Commission on Human Rights, March 2000

"..Impunity remains a serious concern, and has been consistently noted in reports on human rights fact finding missions to Sri Lanka over many years. .. Impunity reigns, cutting deeper and deeper wounds into the Tamil people in the Island of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan security forces continue to arrest, torture, rape, murder and dispose of bodies with impunity..."

Written statement  by the Asian Legal Resource Centre at UN Commission on Human Rights, February 2000

 "The major obstacle to the prosecution of the perpetrators is that there had been no criminal investigations into the disappearances when they occurred. The criminal investigations were prevented by special emergency regulation laws, the passage of which created the background for large-scale disappearances. The provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code relating to criminal investigations were suspended through special laws. The bodies were allowed to be disposed of without any report being filed before the courts or without any inquest. As most of the bodies were burnt there is no possibility of examining them during belated inquiries. Further, as the alleged perpetrators are the law enforcement officers themselves, there is no possibility of conducting a credible inquiry into disappearances by the normal process of criminal investigations through the agencies of the police. The demand for the appointment of a special agency for investigating disappearances has not been heeded."

No action taken against soldiers committing human rights violations...reports British Refugee Council, January 2000

"..Batticaloa people are concerned that no action is being taken against soldiers committing human rights violations. Local (Tamil) MP Joseph Pararajasingham says that security forces fired indiscriminately while celebrating the New Year and killed R Suriyaprakash, 18, of Iruthayapuram. On 17 January, the Kalmunai court ordered the police to appoint a senior officer and submit a special progress report in the case of student S Sanjayan who allegedly died of torture in custody. The order was made after lawyers complained that the police had not made any progress in the investigation for the last three months..."

 Asian Human Rights Commission Statement, September 1999

....The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar in his speech to the United Nations failed to touch on the main issue of the debate, which is the gross abuse of human rights by the State. Does sovereignty give the right to a State to engage in gross abuse of human rights? Can those States, which have failed to redress gross abuse of human rights, say "we are sovereign, we do not need to redress to gross abuse of human rights." Can a state protect those who have committed crimes against humanity? Former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet tried to use the same defence but failed. Sri Lankan record of gross abuse of human rights is much worse than that of the Chile during the rule of Pinochet....."

Sri Lanka's pervasive climate of impunity a source of concern says Human Rights Watch, January 1999

"..In several prominent human rights cases before the courts, security personnel accused of gross violations remained on active duty.. No progress was made in reopening the notorious Bolgoda Lake case despite government vows in 1997 to expedite it. The case implicated twenty-two Special Task Force (STF) commandos in the 1995 murders of twenty-three Tamil youths whose bodies were found floating in bodies of water near Colombo. The suspects were released on bail in 1996 and resumed their duties.....  Sri Lanka's pervasive climate of impunity was a source of concern for both the U.N. Working Group on Disappearances and Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Bacre Waly Ndaiye..."

A culture of impunity has developed says International Commission of Jurists, September 1998

"Between 1983 and the present day the security forces in Sri Lanka (including the armed forces, the police, and local militia units armed by the Government) have been responsible for thousands of murders and disappearances, the vast majority of the latter involving deliberate killings... a great many murders and disappearances have ... occurred in the course of the struggle against the LTTE. After a welcome decline in 1994 and 1995, there was a significant recurrence in 1996.... The fact is that not a single member of the security forces had at the date of the Mission, been convicted of murder. .."

Professor Jordan J. Paust  in the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, May 1998

"The pattern of behavior established by the government’s refusal to allow non-governmental and HRTF investigations, as well as the refusal to adequately investigate denials of human rights, coupled with evidence of government impunity, constitute circumstantial evidence of the policy of denial of rights .."

Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions - March 1998

"...Effective impunity encourages political violence and is a serious destabilizing element in all contexts of the Sri Lankan socio­political system. Respect for the rule of law is essential to maintain order and stability and to protect human rights in any country. Impunity perpetuates the mass violation of human rights. There have been periodical extrajudicial executions, but few perpetrators have been brought to justice. Furthermore, impunity is an obstacle to democratic development and peace negotiations, and makes reconciliation difficult. This culture of impunity has led to arbitrary killings and has contributed to the uncontrollable spiralling of violence.  The systematic absence of investigation, either civil or military, into violations of the right to life facilitates impunity. Investigations are rarely conducted, and when they are, they do not lead to the appropriate convictions or penalties. .."

Tamil M.P. Joseph Pararajasingham on Impunity & Human Rights Violations in Batticaloa, Appeal to United States, August 1997

 "..the Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) has given wide arbitrary powers to the security forces which results in the impunity enjoyed by them by usage of these obnoxious regulations, including through murder, torture and intimidation of witnesses. Also, the Government seems unable or unwilling to punish the perpetrators. Directives and statements by Government leaders, including the President, are not implemented by the military in the field. Since they are not punished, more violations are committed.

The military is also encouraged by the regular denials by the Government of the violations, ignoring results of independent inquiries, the government censorship and restrictions on outside observers and NGOs, and by the support that the Government and the military receives from the international community. Of special significance is the U.S. support in arms sales and Green Beret training to the Sri Lankan Army. .."

De facto impunity for security forces - Bolgoda Trial Collapses, March 1997
" When the case against 22 members of the Special Task Force including senior officers of the Intelligence Unit for involvement in dumping of bodies in the Bolgoda Lake was taken up in Courts on March 13, the  judge commented that the relevant parties were not present in Court and  that the absence of representatives of the Attorney General's Department in such a situation was an obstruction to justice. Saying  that continuing with the trial in such a case was a waste of time, he  added that he would not sit again in this case..."  
Justice has fled the entire system - Sinhala paper Sunday Leader - December 1996

"..The national newspaper pages pathetically record ever increasing stories of rape, murder, beatings, political killings and counter-killings, and suicides apparently motivated through fear or mental inability to contend with the fear of an unrestrained violent reprisal. ..This is the tragic and true state of affairs as far as law and justice are concerned in Sri Lanka. ... Ultimately, even rape and murder in some remote place is tainted with either political intervention or protection that ensures the rapist, the murderer, the killer, the political assassin, the arsonist, freedom to strut free and terrorise society.  The basic texture of political intervention negates social justice and the rule of law.."

Impunity remains a serious concern says Amnesty, August 1996
"...Impunity for those responsible for human rights violations remains a serious concern. Progress in a few court cases against members of the security forces charged in connection with "disappearances" and extrajudicial executions is slow; as are investigations into many other cases. Relatives of tens of thousands of people who were killed or "disappeared" over the last 13 years or so are still waiting for justice to be done...."
Report by an independent international law group on impunity in Sri Lanka,  May 1985

"..The international community has repeatedly urged the Government of Sri Lanka to prevent further violence and to prosecute security force members committing extra-judicial killings. In 1983, the Government assured the United Nations that it intended to protect the fundamental rights of all Sri Lankan nationals. In February of 1984, Sri Lanka's Permanent Mission to the United Nations reiterated this commitment, assuring the United Nations' Commission on Human -Rights that the rash of Tamil killings during 1983 would be investigated and that the security forces responsible would be punished. To date, however, no security force personnel have been prosecuted. The only sanction meted out has been the discharge of some officials guilty of gross human rights violations. On one occasion, for example, the Government discharged 149 navy and army personnel implicated in killing 51 innocent civilians in the Jaffna district between July 23 11 and 27, 1983. Even this relatively minor sanction has been rarely utilized. In the majority of cases, the Government has failed to discipline responsible security force members at all, despite assurances to the contrary. The failure to punish security force personnel implicated in violence and the weak sanctions meted out in rare instances of punishment seriously compromise Sri Lanka's international obligations and its domestic law. ...This study recounts repeated incidents for which the Government has accepted responsibility for violent acts by security force personnel and for which legal or administrative remedies have neither been pursued nor provided redress. "

Paul Sieghart: Sri Lanka: A Mounting Tragedy of Errors - Report of International Commission of Jurists 1984

"...the Government's lack of respect for the rule of law was evident in three cases in which a mantle of protection was thrown over officials who had exceeded or abused their powers.

Senator S.Nadesan Q.C., Sri Lanka Senate Hansard,  4 June 1958

"Shops were looted... but the police did nothing... Why did that happen? All that happened because specific instructions had been given to the police that they should not shoot, should not arrest, should not deal with the lawlessness and disorder that was let loose... rowdies and hooligans were given a free hand to assault, humiliate and rob any innocent Tamil walking the roads on that day. That was the attitude taken up by a Cabinet composed of Sinhalese Ministers... These (hooligans) were instigated by some members of Parliament... they were heading the gang of hooligans. The Prime Minister made a remarkably wonderful speech on that occasion. He came, he smiled and he told the crowd, "Don't do that. Rain is coming down. They will be cooled in no time." That was the type of appeal he made. If Sinhalese men were being thrashed by Tamils and their ears bitten, I wonder whether the Prime Minister would have adopted the same attitude." -

 

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