must abort LTTE propaganda – Rohan Gunaratne
President’s arrest not possible
Rudra Kumaran and Nediyavan ‘at
Courts ‘will decide on Fonseka’s
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
But a situation where they could be arrested did not
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
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
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
It is an irony that the LTTE activists are directing
human rights violations charges against the
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
Q: Do you imply that the measures being taken
by the government at diplomatic level are not
effective enough in counteracting the LTTE
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
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
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
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
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
Q: What is your thinking on the political
agenda being pursued by the LTTE section led by
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
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
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
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
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
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.