2ND LEAD (ADDS VIDEO)

Sri Lanka in war crimes quagmire before CHOGM

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 October 2011, 01:48 GMT]
Sri Lanka is sinking deeply inside a torrent of allegations of war crimes against three senior officials, including Sri Lanka's President, ten days before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is to take place in Perth, prompting Premier Julia Gillard to confirm that Australian Federal Police (AFP) is conducting investigations on Sri Lanka officials over allegations of serious war-crimes, and forcing shadow foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop to demand Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd to reveal whether the government knew about the allegations against Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe before it accepted him as Sri Lanka’s high commissioner.




ABC news on War-crimes
The Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Tony Negus, confirmed that they are considering whether there is sufficient evidence for a war crimes investigation against Mr Samarasinghe. AFP also confirmed that they'd received a submission compiled by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), a legal rights lobby group composed of respected legal figures.

Meena Krishnamoorthy, eye-witness to war crimes
Meena Krishnamoorthy, eye-witness to war crimes
Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is facing summons in a US court for war-crimes, and SriLanka's UN representative Palitha Kohona who is also facing possible investigations by the International Criminal Court over war crime allegations, are the other two officials under investigation, ABC TV reported.

The war-crime allegations gained further credibility after the emergence of an eye-witness, Meena Krishnamoorthy, who spent several years in the war-zone before escaping the final stages of the war to reach Australia safely. Ms Krishnamoorthy told ICJ that she has witnessed massacres by Sri Lanka soldiers.

Mahinda Rajapakse
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse
Ex-Navy Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe
Ex-Navy Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe
Dr. Palitha T. B. Kohona
Dr. Palitha Kohona
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a news conference said: "These allegations are come to light since the Sri Lankan High Commissioner has come to Australia. These allegations are now being looked at by the Australian Federal Police."

Mr Samarasinghe refuted the allegations saying that they are baseless and unsubstantiated, adding, he was commended for saving civilians from the clutches of terrorism. He also said that the military has never shelled any hospital.

While there is no evidence that Samarasinghe was directly involved in shelling civilians, or that he gave direct orders, the accusation turns on the question of accountability. Legal experts said that the doctrine of Command Responsibility attaches to Mr Samarasinghe, and with an additional element if Samarasinghe knew or should have known of his troops shelling unarmed civilians, are suffiicient to hold him culpable.

Professor of International Law at Australian National University, Don Rothwell told ABC, "[u]ltimately what's the real obligation, what's the incentive? Well the incentive is that Australia is a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. That statute does create certain obligations for Australia to conduct these types of investigations and indeed I think there's a very strong argument that Australia both legally and morally needs to do so."

Professor Rothwell added that under the Commonwealth Crimes Act and related legislation giving effect to the Geneva conventions allow the AFP to conduct investigations into the commission of war crimes that occurred overseas including crimes against humanity by any person including non Australian citizens.


Chronology:


Related Articles:
18.10.11   Sri Lanka's Ex-Navy diplomat accused of war-crimes
01.10.11   Rajapakse, an enemy of all mankind, filed U.S. Court papers ..
13.05.11   Kohona admits to sending "Killer SMS"


External Links:
ABC news PM radio: AFP considers war crimes investigation against Sri Lankan diplomat
ChinaPost: Australia faces pressure to probe alleged war crimes linked to Sri Lankan envoy
SMH: High Commissioner hits back over Tamil war crime claim
ABC: A diplomatic dilemma of the Sri Lankan kind
ABC-TV: Allegations of Sri Lankan war crimes in the spotlight
TheAustralian: Secrecy and denial are also war crimes
THEage: Rudd quizzed over envoy
9News: Greens want Sri Lankan envoy recalled

 

Latest 15 Reports
19.04.18 21:15   Photo
JUSU urges Tamils to mark Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance in its true spirit of uprising
18.04.18 23:03  
Cooray emerges as broker of civil contracts to occupying Sinhala military in North
17.04.18 23:31  
SL Resettlement Ministry twists figures on lands seized by Sinhala military in North
16.04.18 20:02  
Mano Ganesan challenged in Jaffna, politician complains of threat
15.04.18 10:13  
7 DS officials under pressure to collaborate with Sinhala colonisation schemes in Batticaloa
14.04.18 23:19  
Colombo schemes new type of subservient CSD colonies in Jaffna diverting foreign aid
13.04.18 23:18   Photo
SL military brings back paramilitary violence to control peaceful protests as NGO tricks fail
12.04.18 19:03  
SL Forest department blocks access to 300 acres of agricultural lands in Ampaa'rai
11.04.18 23:20  
Tamil political prisoner launches hunger-strike at Anuradhapura prison
10.04.18 18:19  
Genocidal Sri Lanka imposes forcible military training for CSD pre-school teachers
09.04.18 11:40   Photo
Fisheries society cautiously welcomes Court decision on fishing access to Naayaa'ru Tamils
08.04.18 23:28  
Militarisation of pre-schools akin to child soldiering: NPC Education Minister
07.04.18 21:34  
Muslim politicians block relocation of SL military base in Batticaloa
06.04.18 06:35   Photo
NPC finally awakens against SL Mahaweli Authority obstructing territorial integrity of Tamil homeland
05.04.18 16:46  
Vavuniyaa Judge warns SL Attorney General against delaying tactics on TPP cases
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=34536