India legally obliged to prevent GoSL's genocide against Tamils- Prof. Boyle

[TamilNet, Thursday, 05 February 2009, 05:02 GMT]
Emphasizing that under Common Article 1 to the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, India has the obligation "to respect and to ensure respect" for these Conventions "in all circumstances," Professor Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, in a communiqué sent to TamilNet says, "India must demand that the United States government prosecute Rajapakse immediately for violating the U.S. Genocide Convention Implementation Act as well as the U.S. War Crimes Act," and appeals to the Tamils worldwide and people of good faith and goodwill to mobilize behind the legal agenda set forth above [in the communique] and to pressure the Governments of India and the United States to fulfill their solemn obligations under the Genocide Convention and the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949."

Full text of the communiqué follows:

Professor Francis Boyle
Professor Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law.
"The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) is currently inflicting acts of genocide against the Tamils in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention, and war crimes against them in violation of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949. India is a party to all five of these Conventions. Therefore, under Article 1 of the Genocide Convention India has an obligation to do everything in its power "to prevent" GOSL's genocide against the Tamils.

Furthermore, under Common Article 1 to the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, India has the obligation "to respect and to ensure respect" for these Conventions "in all circumstances." This requirement means that India has an obligation to prevent the GOSL from inflicting war crimes against the Tamils. Similar principles of analysis likewise apply to all 140 states that are parties to the Genocide Convention and to all states that are parties to the Four Geneva Conventions, which is almost every state in the world.

In addition, as the original homeland for the Tamils, India has the right, the obligation, and the standing under international law to act as parens patriae for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Therefore, India must immediately sue the GOSL for genocide at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, demand an Emergency Hearing of the Court, and request that the World Court issue a Temporary Restraining Order against the GOSL to cease and desist from committing all acts of genocide against the Tamils. Time is of the essence!

GOSL Defense Minister Rajapakse has determined that a quarter-million Tamils are nothing more than a free-fire zone, which constitutes an act of genocide as well as a war crime. Since he is a United States Citizen, India must demand that the United States government prosecute Rajapakse immediately for violating the U.S. Genocide Convention Implementation Act as well as the U.S. War Crimes Act. Under Article 1 of the Genocide Convention the United States government has an obligation "to prevent and to punish" genocide. This treaty obligation requires the United States government to institute criminal proceedings against U.S. Citizen Rajapakse in order "to punish" his genocide against the Tamils.

India must use its newly founded special relationship with the United States government to do just that. Both the United States and India have a joint and several obligation "to prevent" the GOSL from committing genocide against the Tamils and "to punish" U.S. Citizen Rajapakse for committing genocide against the Tamils. The Four Geneva Conventions also require that India demand that the United States government prosecute U.S. Citizen Rajapakse for violating the U.S. War Crimes Act, which the United States government is obligated to do under both the Geneva Conventions and that Act.

I call upon all Tamils around the World and all people of good faith and good will to mobilize behind the legal agenda set forth above and to pressure the Governments of India and the United States (as well as your own Governments) to fulfill their solemn obligations under the Genocide Convention and the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949."

As an internationally recognized expert, Professor Boyle serves as counsel to Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 8 April 1993 and 13 September 1993 the author single-handedly won two World Court Orders overwhelmingly in favor of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina against the rump Yugoslavia to cease and desist from committing all acts of genocide against the Bosnians.

A scholar in the areas of international law and human rights, Professor Boyle received a J.D. degree, and A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Harvard University. Prior to joining the faculty at the College of Law, he was a teaching fellow at Harvard and an associate at its Center for International Affairs.


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