MP warns ICC of a turbulent environment if UN takes action

sumathipalaGovernment MP for Colombo district, Thilanga Sumathipala, warned the International Criminal Court (ICC)  of a “turbulent environment” and inter-ethnic violence in Sri Lanka and beyond, if the UN was to take action against Sri Lanka following an international inquiry into mass atrocities. This was stated by the parliamentarian in a presentation to Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of ICC and other officials of the Executive Committee of the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA).The PGA is the largest non-profit, non-partisan international network of over 1,100 (MPs) legislators from 139 elected parliaments worldwide.

Sri Lanka was torn by a horrific civil war caused by terrorism that lasted over 30 years. We the citizens were faced with much pain and suffering as a result. Furthermore, the loss to our country was unimaginable. Democratically-elected political leaders including a President and Ministers were assassinated (i.e. President Ranasinghe Premadasa, Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi, presidential candidate Gamini Dissanayake). Even Tamil political leaders who were part of the democratic system were not spared, one such example is Neelan Thiruchelvam.

The Sri Lankan economy took a beating due to the fact that the country’s economic centres, airports and even the Central Bank and World Trade Centre were attacked during this troubled period. The added cost of the continuing war meant that the economy was undermined, so that the underprivileged sections of society were deprived of State assistance.

Moreover, sectors which are vital to a country’s development such as health and education too were often denied State support in the face of crippling war expenses. Thus it is plain that the people of Sri Lanka have been through a dreadful ordeal caused by the ethnic war.

However, we were able to defeat not just the most dreaded, but also the most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world. This group is reported to have carried out the highest number of human killings anywhere. They were responsible for introducing the concept of suicide bombing to the world. Their fund-raising methods included trading of narcotics and arms, making them the organisation with the highest illegal earnings worldwide. In spite of all this we were able to demolish and eradicate this organisation.

Very unfortunate precedent

This terrorist organisation was a threat to the entire world, and they were defeated entirely by our armed forces. Therefore it can be considered an immense achievement by the Sri Lankan Government and one for which we expected accolades from the global community. However, we are most distressed to find that it seems the world has a snare in store for us instead.

This is a very unfortunate precedent. What is the message that this action offers to countries that are currently in the process of battling terrorism? Far from encouraging the defeat of terrorist organisations, it creates a feeling of trepidation. No country would want to expend their resources on defeating dangerous terrorist groups only to be faced with interrogation by the International Criminal Court.

After defeating this dangerous terrorist group that waged war on us for 30 years we expected to be heaped with praise and congratulations. In fact we expected the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka. But what took place? Instead of awarding a Nobel Peace Prize, the international community has thought it necessary to conduct an investigation.

“This terrorist organisation was a threat to the entire world, and they were defeated entirely by our armed forces. Therefore it can be considered an immense achievement by the Sri Lankan Government and one for which we expected accolades from the global community. However, we are most distressed to find that it seems the world has a snare in store for us instead.

After defeating this dangerous terrorist group that waged war on us for 30 years we expected to be heaped with praise and congratulations. In fact we expected the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka. But what took place? Instead of awarding a Nobel Peace Prize, the international community has thought it necessary to conduct an investigation.

It is indeed regrettable and unjust that the United Nations has deemed it fit to yield to pressure from the globally-dominant Tamil population and use the weapon of human rights against the Sinhalese. Your Honour, as President of the International Criminal Court I am sure you will understand my sentiments. These allegations against Sri Lanka have regrettably undermined the credibility and reputation of both the International Criminal Courts and the United Nations.

If the UN persists in taking action against Sri Lanka, a turbulent environment is likely to prevail once again within our country. Furthermore this could affect the entire Asian region, with a rapid spread of unrest and violence between ethnic groups”

Law and order in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a proud history that spans over 3,000 years, with an impressive civilisation and culture. During this period a very strict judicial system was in place beginning with the ‘Gam Sabha’ system at village level.

This internal judicial system continued to evolve in keeping with international laws. We were able to efficiently maintain law and order within our country. As such the need to collaborate with organisations such as the ICC did not arise, hence the reason for Sri Lanka abstaining from signing the Rome Statute.

Therefore it is evident that the ICC is not in any position to conduct an investigation into matters pertaining to Sri Lanka. Furthermore the motion adopted by the International Human Rights Commission too does not facilitate such an investigation.

Allegations undermine credibility of ICC and UN

We are currently facing accusations with regard to the violation of human rights. It is imperative that we get to the core of this issue in order to find a solution. Within Sri Lanka the Sinhalese constitute a majority, but that is not the case in a worldwide context. The Sinhalese are a minority in terms of the total global population. Likewise, even though the Tamils are a minority in Sri Lanka, in comparison with the Sinhala population, they constitute a higher percentage of the global population. The number of Tamils living in the world amounts to over 95 million people.
While reiterating that the 15 million Sinhalese are a minority of the global population, I wish to state that according to the principles laid out by the United Nations, they are required to provide protection and security to the minority Sinhalese. Sadly the situation is quite the reverse.

It is indeed regrettable and unjust that the United Nations has deemed it fit to yield to pressure from the globally-dominant Tamil population and use the weapon of human rights against the Sinhalese. Your Honour, as President of the International Criminal Court I am sure you will understand my sentiments.

These allegations against Sri Lanka have regrettably undermined the credibility and reputation of both the International Criminal Courts and the United Nations.

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