CHENNAI: Launching a signature campaign to press for a trial by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the genocide of Lankan Tamils, Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) Prime Minister V Rudrakumaran on Wednesday said active support of the people of Tamil Nadu was crucial for generating international opinion to render justice to the Lankan Tamils.
Inaugurating the campaign here through skype, he urged the United Nations to refer the genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils to the ICC or establish a similar credible international judicial mechanism for investigation and prosecution of the war crimes and genocide.
Citing the UN Internal Review Report on Sri Lanka, he said there were 70,000 casualties in the first six months of the war and quoted former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton who had listed Sri Lanka along with Bosnia, Burma, Congo and Sudan where rape was used a tactic of war.
According to him the new Lankan government’s call for a domestic or hybrid mechanism to replace any international judicial process was an attempt to deflect the call for referral to the ICC and to delay other meaningful actions on accountability. Efforts to establish a domestic truth and reconciliation commission, he said would be another diversionary tactic to protect those who committed serious crimes against Tamils.
Listing out the reasons for an international investigation, the TGTE Prime Minister said “Even though the President has changed, the political environment vis-a-vis Tamils has not changed. Several former military personnel, including the military commander at the end of the war General Sarath Fonseka are in senior positions in the current government. The fact that the military apparatus is still intact and the militarisation of the north east continues to perpetuate fear among Tamils and had a deep impact on day to day activities. Therefore, it is unlikely that victims and witnesses will be truly independent before a domestic or hybrid tribunal”.
Besides, President Sirisena has served as Defence Minister during the end of the war, when large number of Tamils were killed and Sri Lanka did not have criminal provisions for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
The unitary Lankan State and judiciary were not ethnically neutral and most of the crimes were perpetrated by the State apparatus. The island judiciary was always subservient to political leadership when it came to abuses against Tamils. Even under a Tamil Chief Justice, no prosecution was ever brought against anyone for the mass killings of Tamils in 1983, he added.
TGTE Senator Saraswathi, Thamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi leader T Velmurugan, DVK president ‘Kolathur’ Mani and Tamil nationalist leader Thiagu were present on the occasion.