UN investigation can serve as leverage to establish ICTSL, says Prof. Boyle

[TamilNet, Thursday, 11 March 2010, 03:28 GMT]
Commenting on the United Nations report that UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon's appointed experts will establish standards for Sri Lanka's accountability concerning "possible breaches of international humanitarian law...," Professor Francis A. Boyle of University of Illinois College of Law said, "[t]his language of "international humanitarian law" means that the United Nations will be getting into investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the GOSL against the Tamils, which is an encouraging sign. In other words, the United Nations will be investigating international criminal responsibility by the Rajapaksas, Fonseka, the General Staff, et al," Boyle added.

"We need to keep the pressure on Ban Ki-Moon and the United Nations Secretariat and the most powerful States such as the United States and the United Kingdom to go through with this investigation. The final results of this investigation can then be used as leverage for the U.N. General Assembly to establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Sri Lanka (ICTSL) as a "subsidiary organ" under U..N. Charter article 22," Professor Boyle told TamilNet.

"The United Nations Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). But China would undoubtedly exercise its Veto Power at the United Nations Security Council to prevent the Council from establishing the ICTSL.

"China would also veto any attempt by Security Council members to refer the GOSL crimes against the Tamils to the International Criminal Court (ICC). And unfortunately, the ICC Prosecutor has publicly stated that he does not believe he has jurisdiction to open an investigation into GOSL crimes on his own accord because Sri Lanka is not a party to the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court.

"Therefore, the creation of the ICTSL by the U.N. General Assembly is the one option we have to establish some degree of international criminal accountability for the atrocities against the Tamils perpetrated by the GOSL's highest level officials," Prof. Boyle said.

"When in March of 1993 as the Lawyer for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina I personally went after Slobodan Milosevic in the International Court of Justice in The Hague for committing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Bosnians , nobody else realistically expected they would ever see him on trial for anything.

"Yet Milosevic died in March of 2006 while being tried before the ICTY in The Hague for committing every crime in the ICTY Statute, including genocide at Srebrenica.

"Based upon my personal experience in bringing Milosevic to justice, that is about the time-frame we are looking at for doing the same to the Rajapaksas, Fonseka, the GOSL General Staff, et al.

"The time for the Tamil Diaspora to get organized for this task is now!" Professor Boyle reiterated.


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