News Features  


We must abort LTTE propaganda – Rohan Gunaratne
President’s arrest not possible KP ‘should
be released’
Rudra Kumaran and Nediyavan ‘at loggerheads’ Courts ‘will decide on Fonseka’s fate’

By Sandun Jeewantha and Chamara Lakshan Kumara
Prof Rohan Gunaratne, well-known international counter terrorism expert, in an interview with our sister paper Rivira speaks on the rump LTTE international network and war crime charges being made against Sri Lankan government mainly by LTTE activists and sympathisers in the Tamil diaspora.
Question: There were recent reports in the international Press pointing to the possibility of President Mahinda Rajapaksa being arrested in the United Kingdom in case he visits that country. Do you think such an eventuality is possible?
Answer: No. Such a thing can never happen.

Q: Why do you say

A: The media reports speculated that the President could be arrested in connections with war crime allegations against the government.
Anyone can make such allegations.
Similar allegations have been levelled against very powerful leaders in the world.
Former US President George Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair too had to face such allegations.
But a situation where they could be arrested did not develop.
It is preposterous to talk about arresting President Rajapaksa on war crime charges.
That civilians getting killed in a war is not something that makes news.
That always happens in a war situation.
The possibility of civilians getting killed in a war against a guerilla outfit is higher than in any other war.
There is no evidence at all to substantiate the allegation that Sri Lankan security forces had targeted civilians while in action.
Therefore, none can arbitrarily arrest the President on the basis of war crime allegations against the Sri Lankan armed forces.
If we are the subject of civilian’s deaths in wars, we must first turn our attention to death tolls in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The kind of massacres witnessed in these countries never occurred in our country.
The reports that hinted the possibility of President Rajapaksa being arrested in the UK were based on a fabrication by the LTTE international network.
It is not something possible in real life.

Q: Is there no possibility of making such an arrest under the law in operation in Britain? Are there provisions in the British law to arrest a person against whom a complaint of war crime charges is made to a proper authority?
A: A President of a country cannot be arrested so easily just because someone has made a complaint of war charges against him.
If such a situation existed, most of the heads of state in the world should be under arrest in another country today. Because there is some charge or other against practically every head of state in the world today!

Q: Don’t you think the fact that this type of charges is being levelled against the Sri Lankan government speaks volumes for the efficiency and effectiveness of the LTTE international network?
A: True, the LTTE was militarily defeated in Sri Lanka. But the outfit is operational at a certain level of activism internationally. Their propaganda network is effective.
Once the LTTE was looked on as the most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world.
Thousands of civilians perished at their hands.
They carried out human rights violations on a massive scale.
It is an irony that the LTTE activists are directing human rights violations charges against the government today.
This means an organisation responsible for grave human violations is making human rights violations charges against the government today.
This accounts for the effectiveness of their propaganda machine.

Q: Do you imply that the measures being taken by the government at diplomatic level are not effective enough in counteracting the LTTE propaganda?
A: It is the responsibility of Sri Lankan missions abroad to combat anti-Sri Lanka propaganda mounted by the LTTE propaganda machine
The External Ministry alone cannot wage this battle against the LTTE international network.
Heads of Sri Lankan missions form the vanguard of this battle.
They should effectively abort the LTTE propaganda.

Q: One section of the LTTE is functioning under the leadership of Nediyavan in Norway. Meanwhile another section is operating under the leadership of Rudra Kumaran. What is your assessment of the operational clout of these two groups?
A: Nediyavan is functioning as the leader of the LTTE international Network. He wields a certain amount of power and is in the thick of rebuilding the LTTE.

Q: Why is the government of Norway tolerating the presence of an LTTE leader engaged in rebuilding a terrorist organisation on its soil?
A: The main reason for this attitude of the Norwegian government is the liberal laws obtaining in Scandinavian countries.
They do not have deterrent laws in force against terrorism as they do not face any terrorist threat.
This has created space for terrorist organisations to function in these countries.

Q: How is the functioning of the LTTE’s fund raising and the shipping and procurement divisions? Are these divisions as strong as before?
A: Clearly these divisions have now fallen on hard times.
The main reason for the setback in their fund raising division is those engaged in operating this network have embezzled the funds for self-aggrandizement, thus pushing the needs of the organisation to a back seat.
Another reason is that the Tamil diaspora has lost faith in the LTTE. They have lost heart following the three-decade old struggle of the LTTE being crushed militarily.
The diaspora appears to be having the feeling that they have been let down by the LTTE leadership. Therefore, the fund raising capacity has greatly weakened.

Q: What is your thinking on the political agenda being pursued by the LTTE section led by Rudra Kumaran?
A: Rudra Kumaran and Nediyavan are at loggerheads.
Nediyavan wants to be the sole leader of the LTTE.
So he is trying to bring Kumaran’s section too under his command.
Rudra Kumaran wields some power.
That is why he was able to advance his transnational state of Tamil Eelam concept.
Nediyavan is not opposed to this concept, but he does not accept Kumaran’s leadership.
I do not think that Rudra Kumaran can make any progress in his political programme given the impracticability of his transnational Tamil Eelam concept.

Q: What is your opinion about the course of action that should be taken in regard to Kumaran Pathmanathan who functioned as the LTTE’s international leader?
A: KP should be released.
He should be given full freedom.
KP is in a position to make a great contribution towards the success of the government effort to rid the Tamil people of the military mindset and convince them of the need of all three communities, Sinahala, Tamil and Muslim to live and work together in a spirit of brotherhood.
There is no problem about releasing KP as he is working according to the agenda of the government.

Q: Do you believe that the people will react positively to the release of KP in a situation where former army commander Sarath Fonseka is serving a prison term?
A: The matter with regard to Sarath Fonseka is before the courts and courts will give a ruling.

Q: Do you say that KP should not be prosecuted? Do you say he has done no wrong and he is innocent?
A: No. There are charges against him. He is now collaborating with the government to ensure the stability of the country. It is a good thing.