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U.S. Rights report fortifies moral, legal entitlement of Tamil state- Fein

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 March 2008, 17:11 GMT]
Contrasting U.S. State Department’s institutional bias in favor of governments, and Bush administration’s willingness to overlook abuses by foreign governments in the name of fighting terrorism, with the recent U.S report on Human Rights in Sri Lanka, Bruce Fine, an attorney for a Tamil activist group in the U.S., in a statement released to the media Wednesday, asserts that, “[t]he fact that the United States would savage the human rights record of the GOSL [Government of Sri Lanka] means that its [Sri Lanka’s] actual terrorism record is far more gruesome than represented. The report thus fortifies the moral and legal entitlement of Tamils to a separate statehood.”

Bruce Fein
Attorney Bruce Fein
“The United States State Department’s 2007 Human Rights Report on Sri Lanka depicts a chilling level of state sponsored terrorism orchestrated by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) far worse than some among the five countries officially listed by the United States as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Sudan, North Korea, Syria, and Iran. The Congress of the United States should pass a joint resolution urging President George W. Bush to add the GOSL to the list of pariah states precluded from receiving aid or trade benefits or visitation or exchange opportunities, except for humanitarian assistance equitably distributed among Tamils, Sinhalese, and Muslims, Fein says.

Fein adds that “[t]he Human Rights Report also supports justification for United States criminal investigations and indictments of the Rajapaksa brothers and Army General Fonseka under the doctrine of command responsibility for failing to prevent or punish extra-judicial killings and torture of Tamils by persons under their direction and control... The State Department’s human rights indictment of the GOSL is exceptionally persuasive.”

“GOSL predictably lashed out at the State Department for allegedly aiding and abetting terrorism,” Fein says, adding, “The GOSL also anemically retorted that the Human Rights Report lacks detailed names or sources for the state sponsored terrorism chronicled at great length. But the GOSL itself provides the explanation. Its notorious retaliation against any and all of its critics frightens witnesses of its terrorism into silence. If threats of physical harm are unsuccessful, bribery is attempted to fill the breach,” Fein adds.

On command responsibility of Sri Lanka officials of rights violations and violence, Fein says, “[t]he GOSL under the criminal law is responsible for the crimes of its employees or agents about which it knew or should have expected and could have prevented or punished.... As applied to the GOSL, the doctrine of command responsibility makes the Rajapaksa brothers and General Fonseka criminally accountable for the actions of the Karuna Group, and its successor, Pillaiyan, and EPDP, paramilitary organizations that responded to the government’s orders...”

Fein chronicles the rights violations and violent incidents Colombo either allegedly was complicit in, or had direct involvement, and concludes that “GOSL is a terrorist state under any sensible definition of the term.... Under international law and practice, the victims of state sponsored terrorism are regularly entitled to separate statehood. Kosovar Albanians had their Slobodan Milosevic. East Timorese had their Suharto. Eritreans had their Mengistu Haile Mariam. The southern Sudanese had their Hassan al-Turabi. And Tamils have their Rajapakse brothers and General Fonseka.”


Chronology:


External Links:
TC: Government Of Sri Lanka’s Terrorism... Statement by Bruce Fein
SydneyLR: Doctrine of Command Responsibility for War Crimes (2Mb)
HarvLR: Criminal liability for actions of subordinates (2Mb)
US: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2007: Sri Lanka
WashU: Alien Tort Claims Act to combat international HR violations (2Mb)

 

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