09 March 2018
GTF & TNA Contradiction
As per the Island article – “GTF calls on ‘international community’ to use all its leverage against Sri Lanka” :
[The Office of Missing Persons (OMP), the only transitional justice process Sri Lanka has contemplated to-date, has not been operationalised more than a year and a half after it was legislated ]
On the same issue – Tamil Political leaders have revealed their stand as reported through Ceylon Today article ‘TNA rips into Govt’:
[The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday (7), criticized the Government for preparing the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance Act sans retrospective application…………………………..
TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran asserted that the Government's real intention behind introducing the Bill......(which is now an Act) is satisfying certain people and the international community.
He said, "Sri Lanka has a long history of disappearances. People can't just go missing. They are made to disappear by some party. During the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna insurgency about 60,000 youths went missing. And also, in the last phase of the war with the LTTE, tens of thousands went missing. It was reported that they had gone missing after they surrendered to the Sri Lanka Forces. Enforced disappearance is worse than murder. In a murder the relatives know what happened to the person who died. But in a disappearance they do not have such a clue. "This Bill is only applicable for the future. It indicates that there is a need to protect offenders of this crime. This intention of the Government is not a noble thing. This is an eyewash to satisfy certain parties," Sumanthiran criticized. He also said that the Government does not want to go after criminals responsible for enforced disappearances. It must be because a finger is pointed at the Sri Lanka Forces, but it is not an excuse, he added. Furthermore, the TNA MP said, "It is pathetic that you are saying that the offenders responsible for past such incidents will not be punished according to this Bill. You are saying that they committed the crime, but you will not come after them."]
The current state of Emergency in Sri Lanka, confirms the need for Government to have subjective power over the Armed Forces. If the Office of Missing Persons and therefore the Enforced Disappearances Act were Operationalized, to satisfy bodies such as the Global Tamil Forum, the government would lose subjective power over the Armed Forces. The real risk then is reverse Administration – meaning the Armed Forces would takeover the Government. It is understandable that GTF with its base in the UK would identify with the validity of such Operationalization. That is the way of the Objective world driven by money. But to enforce that , even in thought, to Sri Lankan Tamils currently living in Sri Lanka is cruel. It confirms the distance between Sri Lankan Tamils and British Tamils.
As per the above report, the Hon M A Sumanthiran stated ‘This Bill is only applicable for the future. It indicates that there is a need to protect offenders of this crime. This intention of the Government is not a noble thing.’
This means to my mind, that the Opposition also by feeling and/or structure has that need to protect victims of this crime. If the application is Retrospective, as expressed by TNA – then it is likely that the Government would not have enough subjective power to influence the Armed Forces whose intellectual capacity could be read through the JVP politicians. TNA does would know this through LTTE influence. The 60,000 Sinhalese youths going missing was not one sided. Likewise, Tamil youth who sought premature freedom including at family level. When there is ‘freedom’ at the lower level – the higher structures are frozen.
The source of fighters for militancy in North – is clearly established as the junior caste folks. Whilst it’s easy to blame the senior castes, I learnt through direct experience that members of the junior caste who isolated themselves developed their own kingdoms. As a member of the senior caste without strong money-power, I became the outsider even though I stayed largely within my home property and temple activities. Once they got used to ruling power they start attacking intellectuals who are seen as threat to their authority. This is the dilemma faced not only by the educated within the Sri Lankan government but also within the Northern Provincial Government. The recent Local Government election outcomes confirmed this risk of militancy. We are now seeing it Transactionalized in action. So long as the Tamil Community respects its intellectuals it would protect itself from such repetitions. It’s not the pain of pro-LTTE Tamil victims that brought us that protection but the feelings of Tamil intellectuals who paved the way for those who had the position clout to get involved.
As per my own experience, the Tamil Community, including the Diaspora, has NOT operationalized the Stressors that resulted in suppression of their own political rights by the LTTE. Killing the body is far less damaging than killing one’s earned and inherited rights to participate in an independent alternate process to become independent. The stress from such suppression has to be cured first before we as a community are entitled to the intellectual pathway of the law. If TNA included the LTTE and respected the dignity of those families relative to others, they would not seek retrospective application. Their role is to heal them confidentially through common faith. To the extent they seek retrospective application of this law, they lose the right to war-crimes inquiry at the global level for otherwise they run the risk of being guilty of Double Jeopardy.