Accountability delayed by Politics, ill-prepared institutions, says Prof. Ratner

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 January 2013, 01:10 GMT]
Professor Steven Ratner, a member of the Panel of Experts appointed to advice United Nations Secretary General (UNSG), Ban Ki Moon, on the issue of accountability with regard to alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka, in a recent U.S. Law journal, writes that, in the case of Sri Lanka, "despite an impressive set of legal norms in place to deal with atrocities such as those committed in this conflict, the infusion of politics and the limitations of unprepared institutions can seriously delay prospects for accountability."

Prof. Steven Ratner
Prof. Steven Ratner
While Dr Ratner explains the international and Colombo-introduced limitations within which his committee had to work, Ratner displays a genuine understanding of the origins of the Sri Lanka conflict, Tamil activist circles commented on the paper. The activists added that the paper and the Panel report may be valuable insstrument to trigger an objective and detailed inquiry into the events of Mu'l'livaaykkaal in a future date when international political conditions are more favorable to demanding the establishment of the facts behind the killing of more than 80,000 Tamil civilians (Petrie report), even if the current political forces in the U.N., and the Indian Ocean geopolitics have thwarted any meaningful progress in accountability.

In Pg. 808 Ratner admits that it was political pressure by the United States that resulted in Ban Ki Moon appointing the Panel of Experts.

Francis Boyle, professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law, who called the killings in Mu'l'livaaykkaal as several times worse than the Srebrenica genocide, questioned the panels reluctance to using the genocide label. (Footnote 29: “Although various Tamil exile groups routinely deployed the word genocide to decide governmental actions, the panel made no such legal determination based on the credibly alleged violations.”)

Boyle also disagreed with Ratner statement, “[b]ecause of the disagreements among states over the application and scope of human rights obligations during armed conflict, the panel addressed only those human rights violations “materially or temporally outside the conduct of the war.” Prof. Boyle commented, "This makes no sense because the World Court has routinely ruled that both international humanitarian law and international human rights law apply during times of war and therefore that both bodies of law should be applied."

Noting the admission by Ratner, in Pg 802, that the Panel did not recommend an International Criminal Court investigation for political reasons—it “would have been counterproductive,” Boyle asked "For whom? Certainly not the interests of justice and accountability, let alone peace and reconciliation."

 

Latest 15 Reports
26.07.16 23:38  
JUSU opposes police cases against Tamil students, SL military steps up surveillance
25.07.16 21:12   Photo
2009 genocide justice not going to come from UNP of 1983 pogrom: Shivajilingam
24.07.16 23:00   Photo
Saiva priests protest against Colombo constructing fishing jetty near Nakulesvaram temple
23.07.16 23:09  
Ethnic discrimination in student enrollment exposes reconciliation farce: Tamil academic
22.07.16 19:47   Photo
Tamil student leaders in Jaffna condemn SL Governor Cooray’s remarks in Colombo
21.07.16 01:26  
University engineers not learning lessons
21.07.16 00:21   Photo
Tamil politicians blame SL Military for enticing Sinhala students with triumphalist chauvinism
20.07.16 16:39   Photo
Tamil fishermen rise up against Colombo's move to permanently militarise Pa'l'li-munai in Mannaar
20.07.16 15:21   Photo
NPC demands CoI to go beyond criminal investigations on Jaffna University clash
19.07.16 23:15  
Sinhala-Tamil student clash in Jaffna exposes dangerous proportions of military occupation
18.07.16 18:01   Photo
‘SL President sanctioning 67-feet Buddha statue off Jaffna is act of aggression’
17.07.16 23:46  
Eastern University instructs assaulted Tamil student to attend investigations in Colombo
16.07.16 13:37   Photo
SL military-backed Sinhala students clash with Tamil students in Jaffna University
15.07.16 23:51   Photo
Encouraged by US appeasement, SL military strengthens genocidal grip on North
14.07.16 23:52  
SL Commander of 58 Division twists lists at Mullaiththeevu Magistrates’ Court
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=35967