Feature Article
5TH LEAD (Correction)

Sumanthiran acts to weaken Tamil demand for genocide investigation

[TamilNet, Saturday, 19 September 2015, 15:51 GMT]
Switzerland-based diaspora legal activist Lathan Suntharalingam on Friday questioned TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran, who was addressing a well-orchestrated meeting at Bern, on how the TNA parliamentarian elected from North was planning to take forward the NPC resolution demanding international investigation on genocide, particularly at the SL Parliament. The response by Mr Sumanthiran was shocking the Tamil psyche, said Thirumurugan Gandhi of May 17 Movement from Tamil Nadu, who was also present at the meeting in Switzerland. At the meeting, Sumanthiran went on record claiming that the NPC resolution was a ‘foolish’ move. He blamed Justice C.V. Wigneswaran for having shut off the door for genocide investigation by passing that resolution against his advice. Sumanthiran was detracting on the genocide question after the instructions by outside agenda-setters, Mr Lathan said.

An NGO outfit advocating from violence to peaceful ‘transformation’ of conflicts, hosted the meeting in Switzerland. Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) official Martin Stürzinger took part in the meeting together with Anna Leissing of Swiss Peace.

Mr Thirumurgan Gandhi, who attended the meeting told TamilNet that the organisers were behaving like they were adhering to the agenda set by the International Crisis Group (ICG).

“It was shocking to see how far Mr Sumanthiran could go in serving the agenda of the external actors, especially that of the USA, in abandoning the principled demands on international investigation on genocide and the demand for plebiscite among Eezham Tamils,” Thirumurugan Gandhi further said.

Lathan Suntharalingam told TamilNet that the conduct of certain Switzerland-based NGOs and FDFA bureaucrats, who were seeking to deceive the Diaspora Tamils through deploying the TNA politician M.A. Sumanthiran and the so-called Global Tamil Forum (GTF), has now been exposed.

“We have now decided to confront these agenda-setters through the Swiss Parliament and through the political parties in Switzerland,” Mr Sutharalingam who was earlier an elected parliament in Switzerland told TamilNet.

The GTF has no democratic mandate among the Tamil diaspora, he further said.

In the meantime, the ‘Strategic Director’ of GTF, Mr Suren Surendiran, was addressing the audience at length canvassing support for ‘Sri Lanka’ transformation through constitutional changes in the island.

Mr Surendiran said around 10,000 Tamils among the one million strong diaspora were politically active. But, he felt that he was perhaps representing the remaining ‘silent majority’, who were not politically active.

In the meantime, informed sources in the island said a Colombo based ‘chamber of lawyers’ has been operating for some time now on the funds utilised by the agenda-setters. Naming a few lawyers such as Niran Anketell as advancing the US agenda, the sources said the group was operating along the ‘Singapore Principles’, funded by certain European countries, including Switzerland.

Sumanthiran's team was visiting London on Saturday drawing the ire of diaspora activists who distributed leaflets exposing the team's alleged mission to scuttle any momentum to conduct criminal investigation of possible genocide. The team has also organised another ‘invitees-only’ meeting on Sunday in Oslo, informed sources further said.

* * *

Mr Sumanthiran responded to the question posed by Mr Lathan Suntheralingam as follows:

“With regards to the Northern Provincial Council resolution on genocide, long before the NPC passed that resolution, I spoke in the Sri Lankan Parliament. It is there on record, and I cited a few incidents and said this was within the definition of genocide. As a position we have said, well this act will amount to genocide and that act will amount to genocide and so and so.”

“The Northern Provincial Council resolution, by the way, says the opposite. One must read it carefully.”

“It begins by saying what we have listed above are not recognised as genocide. It says so. It says these things are not recognised in the world as genocide. Later, at the bottom, it says World must now start recognising these also as genocide. These protracted acts are also genocide. We must come to a place of accepting these also as genocide. It unnecessarily conceded that within the definition that is accepted by the world today this is not genocide. That is what the Northern Provincial Council said.”

“I am not a member of the NPC. If I was there, I would have said, don't be foolish. Don't pass this kind of resolution. They passed it. ”

“What is genocide? Genocide is an international crime. That must be proven in a judicial forum, not in a representatives' one. Representatives can have their views. We take that view very seriously. We said they have a right to make that view open. That doesn't mean that the crime of genocide is proven.”

“The crime of genocide has certain ingredients that must be proved in an established Court.”

“UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, very specifically said, with such a report full of horrors as he himself called it, he says it hasn't satisfied the test of genocide. He said it. When he was asked at the press conference also, he said it.”

“We have watered it down.”

“All groups in Sri Lanka have welcomed what was said about genocide. We warned some of our people not to put genocide to the test now and get a negative answer. We repeatedly told them don't put that question now. They got it now, a negative answer.

“You need to look at it legally, it is a legal issue. Crime of genocide is a legal issue, not ... what you feel like. You can pass a resolution on what you feel. It doesn't touch anybody unless you prove ingredients of those offenses very specifically to see if it is a crime of genocide.”

“But, very few people listen to good advice. So, we have got a reply, a negative reply.”

“Thankfully, the High Commissioner says, not as of now, maybe as investigations continue, may be it might come later.”

* * *

When Mr Suntharalingam responded by reminding Mr Sumanthiran that his question was about how the TNA parliamentarian was prepared to in advocate the investigation on genocide, not his emotional response on the details, Sumanthiran replied that the former Supreme Court Judge and NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran had shut off the doors on future investigation on genocide.

Sumanthiran continued:

“ He [Wigneswaran] shut the door to us. In that resolution, he says what we have listed is not recognized as in the world as genocide now. We want you to reconsider the definition of genocide, he says, because these protracted acts are not recognized. So he is asking the world community to reconsider the definition of genocide, you must read it first.

“It is the right of the NPC who have made it, it has sent its resolution worldwide, that where it ends. Whether you have a trial for genocide, the present independent international investigation is saying no, not as for now. So we will wait, if evidence emerges. I am as a trained lawyer, I am convinced that we still don’t have the required evidence to prove the crime of genocide in a court of Law. I might want to do that; I can understand your anxiety to wanting to do that. But you have to look at it impassionately, and objectively to see whether those ingredients can be met. And, as a trained lawyer I don’t think they are there.”

Lathan Suntharalingam told TamilNet that Mr Sumanthiran had failed to convince how he was foreseeing a future investigation on genocide, without Eezham Tamils, who are subjected to the protracted genocide, demanding the investigations.

Suntharalingam added that it is surprising that Sumanthiran appears to have made up his mind even while the full criminal investigation has not yet been conducted and not all evidence of crimes were presented in a court of law that "genocide has not occurred." Further, the OISL report is only a precursor to a full criminal investigation that will establish whether genocide occurred, and no other "verbal statements" can preempt a criminal investigation that may lead to a positive determination of genocide. What Sumanthiran is attempting to do is to deviously shift the blame to others as detractors while falsely presenting himself as an advocate for genocide investigations, Suntharalingam further said.

“Genocide denial is a crime. Eezham Tamils should see how the agents of ultimate culprits are trying to place their arguments against Tamils demanding genocide investigations without getting the blame of genocide denial on themselves,” he further said.



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