GoSL lacks will to bring justice – IIGEP

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 March 2008, 00:16 GMT]
A lack of will on the part of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) was one factor in the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) terminating its operations in Sri Lanka, Prof. Sir. Nigel Rodley, representing Britain in the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), told BBC Tamil service in an interview Thursday.

Sir Nigel Rodley
Sir Nigel Rodley (Photo: BBC)
“It was I think a lack of will ... they certainly didn’t have the money in order to have full servicing from the private bar,” Sir Nigel Rodley said on being asked by the BBC Tamil service correspondent whether it was administrative problems or the lack of determination to maintain law and justice, or disinterest on the part of GoSL which ended in the termination of the operations of IIGEP in Sri Lanka.

"We felt that there were shortcomings in the structure of the CoI and the duty of IIGEP was to find what was wrong in the investigations of CoI and the reason for the perpetrators of the crimes involved escaping the arms of the law.

"The Attorney General’s presence in the CoI and the participation of his office in the commission was a factor that reduced the credibility of commission," Sir Nigel Rodley said in his interview.

"Sri Lanka was accused yesterday of widespread abductions in its counter-insurgency operations against the Tamil Tigers, making the country one of the worst in the world for 'disappearances,'" said The Guardian, a British daily, in its Friday edition.

"The Presidential Commission was so obviously an eye-wash and the IIGEP was only called upon to give respectability to a very deliberate design to subvert the process of law for which purpose alone this Commission was appointed," said Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a HongKong-based Rights watchdog, in a press release issued Friday.

Meanwhile, Dr. Manohar, the father of Rajivar, one of the five university students killed in Trincomalee in January 2006, told BBC Tamil service Thursday, “Sri Lanka Government realized the danger of being exposed if IIGEP continued to monitor the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) investigating into the killings and was worried of the repercussions on the IIGEP's move to take the issue to levels of international standards.”

“Now that I am out of Sri Lanka I am no longer afraid to state that it was the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops who killed my son,” Dr. Manohar added.

“The IIGEP monitored the investigation of the CoI and was moving it to international standards which was something the GoSL could not put up with and that is why it applied pressure on the IIGET forcing it to terminate its service,” Dr. Manohar said.

GoSL says that it is unable to continue investigations because witnesses do not turn up at the trials, the BBC correspondent told Dr. Manohar and sought his response in the interview.

“No one will come forward to bear witness because whoever who dared to so had been killed,” Dr. Mahohar replied.

“It was very dangerous to speak the truth and I admit that I too was scared to bear witness that it was the SLA troops who killed my son and other four youths in Trincomalee,” he said.

“Two of the students in the group, seriously injured in the grenade attack which killed the others, had testified in the inquest into deaths that it was the SLA troops that killed their five colleagues.”

“Even though the two are now in countries away from Sri Lanka they will not come forward to bear witness because of the danger to the lives of their parents and siblings who still are in Sri Lanka,” Dr. Manohar told.

“There have been many commissions of inquiry appointed to investigate into the human rights violation in Sri Lanka but none of them had been of any use because Sri Lanka government will do what it wants,” he told BBC.

The only way to find justice is to take these cases of gross human rights violations to the International Courts of Justice and international agencies like UN should intervene to offer direction and help to Sri Lanka and the commissions to bring justice to the Tamils in Sri Lanka

The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), headed by P N Bhagwati, former Indian Chief Justice, decided to terminate its operations in Sri Lanka, according to a statement issued by the IIGEP on Thursday. "The IIGEP is of the opinion that there has not been the minimum level of trust necessary for the success of the work of the commission and the IIGEP," an AFP report has quoted a statement by the IIGEP.

Trincomalee residents were shocked and angered over the killing of five old students of Trincomalee Sri Koneswara Hindu College in a grenade attack alleged by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers on 2 January at about 7.50 p.m. Two old students, one from Sri Koneswara Hindu College and another from St.Joseoh’s College in Trincomalee were warded in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Trincomalee general hospital. All the dead and injured were identified as Tamils and below the age of 20 years. Two of the dead students have gained university admission for the current academic year, police sources said.

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External Links:
BBC: Sri Lanka rapped over 'disappeared'
TG: Watchdog quits over human rights abuses
AHRC: SRI LANKA: IIGEP's quitting is no surprise, but what next?



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