31 March 2019
Australia on War Crimes Investigations
The Associated Press report was headed ‘Australia: Sri Lanka war crime allegations should be investigated’
I interpreted the above as the Press using our Ambassador to profit from our misery. The Press quotes as follows:
["The approach we are taking is that we do want to work with the Sri Lankan tri-services. The war finished 10 years ago. We need to think about the future," Philp said.
…“We do know that there are serious allegations. We certainly believe that they should be taken seriously,” Philp said.
He added that the Sri Lankan government’s recent co-sponsoring of a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council reiterating its commitment to investigate the allegations gives Australia confidence.’]
I interpreted the above as our Ambassador seeking to enjoy the best of both worlds.
The war is going on and will go on until the victims bring about closure. It’s not different to racism in Australia. We the victims have the right to bring about closure. Until then no one has the authority to shut the door and this includes the International Criminal Court (ICC).
For his part Mr Wigneswaran – the former Chief Minister of Northern Province, has made comments to the effect of endorsing foreign judges - ‘It is not against the Army; It is against certain persons in the Army
Foreign Judges are brought in to find out the truth’
The interpretations by the two – one Australian and the other Sri Lankan - place them naturally in one group. Our Truth is the foundation of our interpretations and needs to be taken as such when spoken by those who think they are in ‘free environment’. Demoting Sri Lanka for personal reasons has the risk of misleading the very victims one claims to speak on behalf of. When we vote we are facilitated to be ‘free’ and this helps us to be true. But when Judiciary decides they have to use the Law as its supervisor. To that extent one is not free until the law and we become One.
The ICC inquiry would need to include the conduct of Dr Palitha Kohona’s role in the final war. This means that Australia is also standing accused of the charges against the Sri Lankan government. Does Ambassador Philp want the Australian Government’s role in this through Dr Palitha Kohona also to be inquired into? Given that the Australian government has so far not moved to strip Dr Palitha Kohona of his citizenship means that Australia is also in the side taken by Dr Palitha Kohona who was part of the management of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade responsible for Foreign Policy. Thus, Dr Palitha Kohona has become an example of the perils of dual citizens in policy making. The quid pro quo was his elevated status as the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations.
The parallel of this duality exists in Mr Wigneswaran also. During his election campaign followed by his tenure as Chief Minister, Mr Wigneswaran presented the picture that he endorsed LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran as ‘brother’.
This was confirmed recently by News In Asia under the heading ‘Former North Lankan Chief Minister lauds LTTE leader for forging Tamil unity’
[Speaking at a Jaffna-Kilinochchi district conference of the Eelam Peoples’ Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRF), Wigneswaran said that the unity of all Tamil parties is the need of the hour and that they should take the cue from “younger brother” (Thambi) Prabhakaran and forge a united front to fight for Tamil rights.]
This call is contradicted by the endorsement of Foreign Judges who would find Annai (elder brother) to be as guilty as Thambi. This was the reason why Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam who is much more global than Mr Wigneswaran – does not want to form partnership with Mr Wigneswaran. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam is the best intellectual politician Jaffna has and we need this just as much as we need Tamil Opposition in National Parliament. Both are needed to raise the platform from quid-pro-quos to knowledge based decisions needed for life.
As for Unity – citizens who have financially benefited from the rule of LTTE would not care about the LTTE getting a bad name by ‘Foreigners’ . To them – members of the Diaspora who have taken the role of financiers are the ultimate government. These Diaspora leaders are the parallels of dual citizen Dr Palitha Kohona. Unless a global body is able to raise the problem to the global level – they would not be able to find the ‘Truth’ in form common to all investors. There is currently no faith based connection between victims in Jaffna and the Diaspora leaders, leave alone foreign judges. Academic leaders at the University of Jaffna take the attitude ‘give us the money and we will give you our status’.
Promises have creditability only when they are founded on truth. The Truth of the Jaffna Tamil includes the pain of losing status as an educated group – which status was seriously demoted due to the promise of ‘freedom’ from a government that was not a relative to majority living in Jaffna. Political power without belief leads to frivolity.
As for Federalism, Tamils in Northern Sri Lanka have enjoyed Federalism to the extent they practiced the laws of Thesawalamai. As per my current experience – even judges to whom North is ‘home’ are not committed to Thesawalamai which is like ‘Buddhism Foremost’ article in the Sri Lankan constitution. Mr Wigneswaran as Chief Minister did not establish reliable Administrative order in Northern Courts – through the voters who believed in his intellectual status. This was followed by the Tamil People’s Council which – as Gajendrakumar highlighted became Mr Wigneswaran’s personal address for identity purposes.
Jaffna was put to the test of Federalism by us through the Testamentary case of our brother in law of Vaddukoddai. The foreign lawyers (from Colombo) influencing the judges – delivered and outcome that is in breach of fundamentals of Theswalamai law. The lawyer from Colombo who represented the opposition submitted case law Puthatamby et al v Mailvakanam et al – D.C. Jaffna, 577 in support of their argument to apply Common Law. But as per that ruling of – Lawrie A.C.J stated:
[ – Thesawalamai undoubtedly is the law governing inheritance in the Northern Province but sub-sections 5 and 7 of section 1 seem to be silent as to the succession of remote relations to each other. 5 and 7 deal only with the succession inter se of members of the same family, father and mother, brothers and sisters]
The Mallakam District court used common law basis and dismissed our objection. This was upheld by Appellate High Court of Jaffna, led by Mr Elancheleyan. That confirms the level at which Northern Courts are committed to Federalism. They have confirmed that they are more comfortable with Unitary state structure than with Federal structure.
Mr Wigneswaran did not demonstrate the urge to bring order to the very system that he was a part of. Based on my own experience, Mr Wigneswaran could have done this as ‘service’. A true owner does not need status to transform a disorderly system. Mr Wigneswaran is as foreign to Northern Sri Lanka, as the foreign judges would be to Sri Lanka. Neither would identify with and naturally share the Truth they discover. In Northern Sri Lanka – the judges and lawyers ‘tell’ and we have to say ‘yes sir/ if you say so sir’. That is the Truth to discover which we did/do not need foreign judges. Had we opposed this at the workplace and in public administration – we would have not had the war by saying ‘yes Anna / if you say so Thambi’.
Unity can happen through majority depending on handful of minorities – like militants. When they do – they disconnect with their educated ancestors. Can’t have both and expect to claim inner peace and outer harmony.