US's war crimes report, a canary in coalmine - Rapp

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 15 September 2009, 11:44 GMT]
With United Nations remaining impotent to act carry out investigations into the conduct of Sri Lanka military during the last several months of the war, a report to be released by the United States State Department on September 21, remains, perhaps the last credible instrument in the hands of the West to begin to find the truth on the allegations of war-crimes by the Sri Lanka Government and the Liberation Tigers, a spokesperson for a US-based activist group said. Stephen Rapp, US's ambassdor at large for War Crimes Issues (WCI) told Time that his office is responsible "to collect information on ongoing atrocities... [and] give a signal [when] something serious is occuring."

Responding to Time's question on what his office's focus is, Rapp said, "There are situations that have already been handed to us. There is a report from the Department of State on the war in Sri Lanka due in Congress [on Sept. 21]. Additionally the office, together with the Secretary for Global Affairs and the Secretary of State, has the responsibility to collect information on ongoing atrocities and it is then the responsibility of the President to determine what steps might be taken towards justice. Like the canary in the coalmine, we give the signal that something very serious is occurring."

The Guardian, in a damaging article on Sri Lanka's conduct after the war, faulted Colombo's approach arguing as follows: "[instead of giving political and civil rights to the Tamils in the areas where they are majority], president Mahinda Rajapaksa offers Tamils a bargain based on amnesia, not justice: forget the past and your future will be assured. The offer carries the latent threat: reject it and face the consequences of being an enemy of the state."

Responding to a similar issue, when Time asked Ambassador Rapp "if the requirements of peace get in the way of justice?" the Ambassador responded "I think we've learned that contrary to fears, holding people accountable for atrocities does not make the problem worse, it makes it better. When Milosevic was indicted for ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, people were convinced that they would never have peace and he would be worse than ever. Within a short time he was charged and jailed in his own country.

"Justice is a necessary ingredient to the establishment of peace. There's always an argument that justifies doing nothing, but you can't defer it forever," Rapp said.

In the amendment 1169 to H.R. 2346, an Act making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, U.S. Senators had earlier proposed to "prohibit certain forms of financial support to Sri Lanka," unless certification is made by the Secretary of State that "Sri Lanka has taken certain steps to address the humanitarian situation in areas affected by the conflict in Sri Lanka."

The forthcoming war-crimes report from the US State Department is mandated by the above Act.


Related Articles:
26.08.09   SLA war crimes eerily similar to Srebrenica Scorpions' terro..
21.05.09   US to block financial support until Sri Lanka addresses Righ..
15.02.09   Genocide in Sri Lanka - Boston Globe
14.12.08   Fein: Genocide charges against Sri Lanka officials ready


External Links:
Time: Stephen Rapp: Obama's Point Man on War Crimes

 

Latest 15 Reports
22.01.21 08:01   Photo
Gotabaya sets up deceptive COI citing ‘sovereignty’ and ‘non-aligned’ foreign policy
18.01.21 23:44   Photo
Tamil activists resisted three sources of outside influence while drafting demands to UNHRC
16.01.21 11:03  
Tamil national parties demand UN to inquire into crime of genocide and set up IIIM
09.01.21 09:37   Photo
Demolition of Tamil genocide monument, fourth emblematic trauma since 1974: Rev Fr Sakthivel
08.01.21 23:51   Photo
Colombo destroys Mu'l'livaaykkaal memorial monument at Jaffna University
07.01.21 11:22   Photo
With emphasis on genocide, Suresh calls for ICC-referral, IIIM and referendum
07.01.21 00:04   Photo
Boyle prefers IIIM demand over ICC-referral, says specific reference to genocide essential
06.01.21 14:26  
Indian Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar trades off Tamils’ sovereign rights
05.01.21 07:08  
TNPF's reluctance, NGO-meddling pose challenges to formulating joint Tamil demands to UN: Shivaji
06.12.20 15:44   Photo
Colombo’s brutal suppression of Tamil Heroes’ Day counter-productive to stated objectives: Tamil MP
27.11.20 16:44   Photo
Occupied Tamil Eelam marks Heroes' Day indoors, SL military detains seminary principal
16.11.20 18:45  
China launches world’s biggest regional trade agreement without Indian participation
31.10.20 10:58  
Tamils risk Kashmir-like status revocation if Gota continues Trinco military cooperation with US
06.10.20 11:40  
Poet Pulamaipithan who championed Tamil Eelam solidarity in Tamil Nadu turns 85
28.09.20 23:19   Photo
Muslims join Tamils opposing Colombo's suppression of Thileepan Remembrance in North
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=30238