The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 6

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Page 6 Sunday, November 9, 2014 The Nation
Shenali Waduge
The world was told that the UN
investigation would be transparent and
fair. The modus operandi behind blank
UNHRC war crimes forms given by TNA
to LTTE cadres to obtain signatures
does not exactly fit into the category
of transparent or fair. The arrest of
an LTTE un-rehabilitated cadre by Sri
Lankan State authorities has put the
cat out of the bag. The most important
question is how many such blank forms
have been falsely filled and sent to the
UNHRC so far for the 3 member Panel to
base their final report on-
Thearrestof theTNA-connectedLTTE
cadre raises some valid questions.
Threat posed by Un-rehabilitated
cadres.
How many more un-rehabilitated
LTTE cadres are still living in Sri
Lanka? Howmany of these LTTE cadres
are now living abroad posing a threat to
foreign citizens?
UNHRC war crimes complaint
forms
l
Are these for sale if so where
can people purchase them? Are these
available to a select handful, if so
why and what criteria make them the
selected lot? When email queries were
sent to the general email requesting
how to make submissions we were told
that there was no specific template or
format the only requirement was to keep
submissions to within 10 pages though
the font size or font type was not given
either. There is no automatic receipt
mail generated for submissions sent or
even acknowledgement as is generally
done. Now it emerges that the UNHRC
has a war crimes form given to one side
only. This is unacceptable.
l
How come these forms ended
up in the hands of the TNA? Did the
UNHRC post them, courier themor were
they given by hand when TNA officials
were visiting Geneva? Why have
they not been given to the Sri Lankan
delegations? Who in the UNHRC had
the authority to give such forms?
l
How many forms were there?
TheapprehendedLTTEcadrehadonhim
500 blank forms and 500 signatures.
l
Were other LTTE cadres used
and how many signatures did they
obtain altogether?
l
The UNHRC war crimes
forms could not have been photocopied
because there is a serial number to the
forms. The Sri Lankan authorities must
demand an official explanation from the
UNHRC as to exactly how many forms
have been given to the TNA.
l
The UNHRC must also explain
how they were given and why and the
Government of Sri Lanka must demand
the cancellation of every serial number
form given, rendering the false war
crimes accounts being compiled null
and void.
TNA start explaining
l
If the TNA claims they were
not aware of Ananthi Sasitharan’s letter
requesting extension of submission
deadline on a Northern Provincial
Council letterhead, what official action
is the Chief Minister taking against
her? The Northern Governor needs to
take up this matter officially.
TNA-LTTE links
l
How
many
other
un-
rehabilitated LTTE cadres does the
TNA have personal contacts with and
how have they been utilized since May
2009?
l
On what grounds is the TNA’s
Premachandran requesting the UNHRC
to pressurize Sri Lankan authorities to
release the arrested LTTE cadre?
l
The allegations of links
between the LTTE and TNA need to be
formally investigated by the Sri Lankan
State. There is sufficient evidence and it
must commence now.
Was this how the “Darusman Report”
was compiled?
l
If the UNHRC is resorting to
handing around blank forms to obtain
bogus accounts and we are also aware
that certain high powered foreign
envoys are regularly visiting the North,
givinghandouts and encouraging people
to make their cases against Sri Lanka,
these may add up to some mischief
taking shape.
l
We should also recall how
arrested LTTE members in Malaysia
were found with UNHCR identity cards
which opened another can of worms
which the UN has subtly brushed under
the carpet.
l
If the TNA is working in
cahoots with elements inside the
UNHRC that are handing out blank war
crimes forms, this is something the Sri
Lankan nation should not and cannot
take lightly. The respective authorities
need to take up this matter at the highest
levels and make all the noise possible.
l
We have every right now to
wonder if the Ban Ki Mon Panel report
was compiled in a similar fashion
because all the witnesses remain
anonymous for decades. And the
question of whether these names are
bogus is a very valid question which
the UN Secretary General now needs to
officially respond to.
When Sri Lanka is in the right we need
not fear pointing fingers at the cheats,
in fact we have every right to expose
these cheats and liars. These are good
lessons for the Opposition of Sri Lanka
most of whom have never seen the
LTTE as terrorists, and should alert the
Sri Lankan public of the dangers that
continue to plague Sri Lanka in spite of
defeating the LTTE on the ground.
Following the News Release on November 7, 2014 by
the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights condemning disinformation designed to discred-
it the UN investigation on Sri Lanka, the Permanent
Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva has
sent a communiqué to the UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights.
Excerpts are given below.
8th November 2014
Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva
Dear High Commissioner,
I write with reference to the News Release by your office dated 7 No-
vember 2014 titled ‘Zeid condemns persistent disinformation designed
to discredit UN Investigation on Sri Lanka’.
It is extremely regrettable that a News Release should have been is-
sued on this matter attributed personally to you questioning the integrity
of the Government of a sovereign nation which has been a member of
the United Nations since 1955.
It is unfortunate that your News Release has been issued without
making any attempt to understand the context or content apparent from
the Media Release of the Ministry of External Affairs dated 5th Novem-
ber 2014.
In fact, the OHCHR has been inept in comprehending for reasons
best known to it that the thrust of the concerns expressed by the Gov-
ernment of Sri Lanka related to the flawed procedure of the OHCHR
Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL).
The Government of Sri Lanka, its departments and agencies made
no attempt whatsoever to prevent bona fide witnesses from submitting
information to the investigation team. Neither was any attempt made to
deter and intimidate individuals from submitting evidence. The submis-
sions that the Investigation would have received by now would stand to
prove this fact.
The Government of Sri Lanka informed a selected group of Ambas-
sadors and Representatives based in Colombo, about the revelations
made by an individual who was apprehended on the grounds of being
a non-rehabilitated LTTE cadre. These revelations included him being
employed to collect signatures of persons affected by the conflict on
blank forms by deceiving them into believing that they would be granted
monetary compensation by the UN. The forms were to then be used to
submit false and fabricated information to the OISL. This information
was shared by the Government in order to caution the interlocutors on
attempts being made at manipulating the investigation process.
Connected to this issue was the Government’s concern regarding the
response of the OHCHR Spokesperson to a Sri Lankan newspaper that
although officially the deadline for submissions was October 30th and
will not be extended, submissions arriving late would not be necessarily
refused as some material may take time to arrive. This is in contraven-
tion of the original deadline established in the OISL announcement. This
statement by the Spokesperson implies that only some material arriving
late would be admitted, the basis for which is unknown. However, it is
astonishing that your News Release at this juncture seeks to confirm
the said deadline for submissions and the closure of the e-mail address.
Such conflicting positions only serve to call into question the integrity of
the OISL process.
With regard to your position on trained investigators, it is only reason-
able for the OHCHR to have explained this fact in a professional manner
while assuring the Government that the Investigation will exercise vigi-
lance regarding attempts by parties to manipulate the system. Instead,
you have challenged the right of a sovereign State to raise concerns
regarding procedural aspects of an Investigation which impacts its peo-
ple and their future in the context of the ongoing sensitive reconciliation
process.
The Government’s categorical rejection of the investigation estab-
lished by the Human Rights Council is not tantamount to concealing
information. The Government of Sri Lanka has steadfastly maintained
that it owes to the country’s dignity not to subject its people to an inves-
tigation that does not conform to even the minimum requisites of justice
and fairplay. This position has been overwhelmingly endorsed by the na-
tional Parliament. It is a principled position which the Government chose
to take that was supported by many countries in the Council.
It is a matter of deep concern to note that you, as a high official of the
UN system, have resorted to the use of intemperate language to attack
and vilify a sovereign member of the United Nations. Further, you have
chosen to cast aspersions and denigrate a democratically elected Gov-
ernment. In fact, some countries have, on extremely cogent grounds,
rejected mandates of the Council previously in much stronger ways, and
have not been censured in the manner as in this instance. This undoubt-
edly confirms the double standards being applied. This type of action on
your part would regrettably constrain constructive engagement which
the Government of Sri Lanka has consistently sought to pursue.
Since you have released your comments to the public domain, I am
compelled to make the text of this letter available to the membership of
the Council and the people of Sri Lanka who deserve to be aware of the
facts pertaining to this matter.
Yours sincerely,
Ravinatha Aryasinha
Ambassador
Permanent Representative
GENEVA (7 November
2014)
– UN High
Commissioner for Human
Rights
Zeid
Ra’ad
Al Hussein on Friday
criticized the continuing
attacks by the Sri Lankan
Government
on
the
integrity of the UN Human
Rights Office’s ongoing
investigation into alleged
grave
human
rights
violations and abuses in
Sri Lanka, andcondemned
the intimidation of human
rights defenders and
individuals who may wish
to cooperate with the
investigation.
“This continuing cam-
paign of distortion and
disinformation about the
investigation, as well as
the insidious attempts to
prevent possible bona fide
witnesses from submitting
information to the investi-
gating team, is an affront
to the United Nations Hu-
man Rights Council which
mandated* the investiga-
tion,” High Commissioner
Zeid said.
“The Government of
Sri Lanka has refused
point blank to cooper-
ate with the investigation
despite being explicitly
requested by the Human
Rights Council to do so,”
Zeid said. “Such a refusal
does not, however, under-
mine the integrity of an
investigation set up by the
Council – instead it raises
concerns about the integ-
rity of the government in
question. Why would gov-
ernments with nothing to
hide go to such extraordi-
nary lengths to sabotage
an impartial international
investigation?” he added.
“The Government’s at-
tempts to deter and in-
timidate individuals from
submitting evidence to
a UN investigation team
is unacceptable conduct
for any Member State
of the United Nations
which has committed to
uphold the UN Charter,”
the High Commissioner
said. “Since the end of
the conflict in 2009, Sri
Lanka has continued to
obstruct any independent
investigation despite the
persistent,
compelling
and widespread allega-
tions that possible serious
international crimes were
committed by both sides
during the conflict in Sri
Lanka.”
The High Commissioner
noted that Sri Lankan civil
society organizations and
human rights defenders
have continued to be sub-
jected to surveillance, ha-
rassment and other forms
of intimidation. “A wall of
fear has been created that
has undoubtedly served to
deter people from submit-
ting evidence,” Zeid said.
The High Commission-
er rejected this week’s
“false and unsubstanti-
ated accusations by the
Sri Lankan Government
that the conduct of the in-
vestigation has been ‘un-
professional’ and that its
approach is ‘selective and
biased.’”
He also rejected as
“absurd” the accusation
that the investigation was
somehow compromised
by the arrest of a man
who was allegedly in pos-
session of blank signed
forms that would then be
fraudulently filled in and
submitted to the investi-
gation.
“We don’t accept any-
thing at face value. UN
human rights investiga-
tors are trained to spot
fraudulent submissions.
The process of analysis
and corroboration of in-
formation and evidence is
well defined, refined and
codified on the basis of
many years’ experience,”
Zeid said. “We have been
directly involved with more
than 40 Commissions of
Inquiry, Fact-Finding Mis-
sions and similar inqui-
ries. It is a false equation
to suggest that because
someone may have been
trying to submit false sub-
missions, the inquiry is
discredited. In addition,
the submissions form only
a part of the investiga-
tion.”
The High Commis-
sioner stressed that the
UN had not formatted or
distributed any forms for
people to fill in, nor had
the investigation team re-
quested any individual or
organization to go out and
collect information on its
behalf. He also rejected
the imputation that the
United Nations would ever
provide monetary com-
pensation in exchange for
information.
“The methodology of
the investigation has been
made public through its
terms of reference. It is
based on standard meth-
odology for such investi-
gations aimed at ensuring
the integrity of the process
through the application of
the principles of indepen-
dence, impartiality, objec-
tivity and protection of wit-
nesses,” Zeid said.
“On the issue of trans-
parency, we will not be
releasing information on
the interviews we are
conducting, or where, or
when they take place.
This is, again, standard
procedure for protecting
sources of information
especially where there is
a clear risk that people
providing information may
suffer reprisals,” the High
Commissioner said.
He urged the Govern-
ment to “focus on the
substantive issues under
investigation instead of
obscuring them by the
constant questioning of
procedures which – while
not unimportant – are not
the heart of the matter.”
He encouraged the Gov-
ernment to begin engag-
ing with the investigation.
The investigation team
confirmed that the call for
submissions ended on 30
October and that the sub-
missions email address
has ceased to exist.
Sun Master was born in Pooneryn
as Avalpullei Wijendran in1975 and
then moved to Vavuniya after his ed-
ucation. He started giving tuition to
the youth in Vavuniya and gained im-
mense popularity in the area.
He had been a member of the Eelam
People’s Revolutionary Liberation
Front (EPRLF). During the war, he has
been an advisor of the LTTE Political
Wing and has assisted its intelligence
arm. In the closing days of the war, he
has arrived in the government held
area, and after spending some time at
an IDP camp, has settled in Vavuniya.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA),
which sought to cash in on his popu-
larity appointed him as the Chair-
man of the Citizens Committee in
Vavuniya.
Wijendran had actively taken part
at TNA meetings and campaigns dur-
ing the recent Northern Provincial
Council elections and had even ad-
dressed meetings. His sister too had
contested the NPC polls and he had
actively campaigned for her.
His knowledge in English allowed
him to meet with Civil Society repre-
sentatives, diplomatic missions, and
The Blank Form Man
Avalpullei Wijendran alias Sun Master
envoys. He has been a leading
participant in memorials for
Tamil leaders and been at the
forefront of protests “in sup-
port of the disappeared.”
It has been revealed that Wi-
jendran had met with several
foreign dignitaries and held
secret pocket meetings with
the people.
He had been instrumental
in collecting data on affected
people in the North.
Accordingly, he had request-
ed several persons to collect
details of affected people in the
North. He had also assigned
people to obtain signatures on
blank forms which had alleg-
edly been drafted according to
UN specifications.
One such person who was
sent to collect details, Sin-
nathambi Krishnarasa was
arrested with the forms in
Pooneryn on October 25. He
had obtained six signatures
on blank forms stating that
they would receive compensa-
tion from the UN.
His notebook contained 400
names of affected people.
Caught Red-Handed
UNHRC blank war crimes forms compromise process integrity
Zeid raps
Government
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
GOSL responds to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
1,2,3,4,5 7,8-9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,...76
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