Systematic enforced disappearances, an international crime, says Boyle

[TamilNet, Monday, 14 December 2015, 23:21 GMT]
Noting the re-emerging threat of white van abductions and enforced disappearances in the historic homeland, the NorthEast, of Eezham Tamils, Professor Francis Boyle, an expert in international law, said that systematic enforced disappearances is a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute, and in Sri Lanka this criminality of the Government of Sri Lanka is "an indicium of genocide against the Eelam Tamils." Boyle noted, as evidence of his concern, the recent incident in Jaffna where Colombo's military intelligence operatives threatened the editors of a local newspaper that they would have to face the "white van" if the paper failed to retract a published story on missing persons.

"When the enforced disappearances of human beings become either widespread or systematic, they become a Crime against Humanity under the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. In the case of Sri Lanka, its enforced disappearances of Eelam Tamils was both widespread and systematic and thus constitutes a Crime against Humanity.

"It also constitutes ongoing international criminal activity by the GOSL unless and until the victims have been accounted for. Furthermore, this GOSL Crime against Humanity is an indicia of threatened and ongoing genocide against the Eelam Tamils," Boyle said in his comment to TamilNet.

A three-member delegation of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), visited Sri Lanka last month to investigate disappearances of civilians during the country’s three-decade civil war. It found that successive governments systematically employed military and paramilitary forces to abduct, torture and ultimately disappear civilians, political opponents and journalists—irrespective of the ethnicity of the target, World Socialist said in its website.

"WGEID’s first visit in October 1991 investigated and ultimately confirmed reports that state forces had engaged in enforced disappearances...The vast majority of enforced disappearances were never effectively investigated or prosecuted," Amnesty said in its coverage ahead of the visit by the UN staff.

Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a US-based rights group that seeks legal redress to war-affected Tamls, published in 2012 an operational blueprint of Sri Lanka's White Van abductions, and the complicity of State Institutions.

The blueprint was based on affidavits from surviving abductees, a video deposition from an ex-member of Liberation Tigers who was spared execution at the last moment, information revealed from recent capture of white van abductors in the South, and other circumstantial evidence including open death threats issued by Sri Lanka's Defense Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse.

TAG concluded that the white van phenomenon is not a random occurrence of isolated events, but a systemic well-organized criminal enterprise carried out by independently operating cells consisting of criminal gangs and military personnel and activated by directives from high level State officials.


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External Links:
WSIS: UN report says Sri Lankan government terrorising families of the disappeared

 

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