Monday, 20th October 2014
The European Union (EU) General Court has recently held that no thorough examination had preceded the imposition of sanctions on the LTTE and ‘the contested measures [proscription etc.,] are based not on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities, as required by Common Position 2001/931 and case-law but on factual imputations derived from the press and the internet’. (Emphasis added) Far be it from us to question the learned judges’ wisdom. But, one sees that the very same modus operandi has been adopted unflinchingly by the EU, the US and international human rights groups in making war crimes charges against Sri Lanka. The much-touted claim that 40,000 civilians were killed during the concluding stages of the Vanni war against the LTTE in 2009 is a case in point. This figure simply plucked out of the air is now being liberally used the world over!
Worse, the Darusman report which paved the way for the UNHRC-led war crimes campaign against those who slew the Tigers is based on information derived from some persons and organisations whose identities will remain classified for 25 years!
The EU court has expeditiously determined that the EU ban on the LTTE does not stand up to legal scrutiny. The US and the UK with the help of their allies waged a bloody war against Iraq on the basis of factual imputations derived not from the press and the Internet’ but from some falsified intelligence dossiers. However, the conclusions of the Chilcot inquiry into that illegal conflagration have not yet been made public. Why?
What’s in a ban which is not properly implemented? European politicians openly further the interests of the LTTE which has access even to the British Parliament. It receives this kind of preferential treatment in spite of a ban because it is believed to be able to deliver tens of thousands of votes to political parties of its choice in Europe and has the wherewithal for lobbying. Why the EU itself did not annul the LTTE proscription without leaving it to the judiciary is the question.
Sri Lanka also has a history of proscribing and de-proscribing the LTTE and negotiating with the outfit while bans were on for political reasons. Both the UNP and the SLFP have made a mockery of LTTE proscription; the former went so far as to provide Prabhakaran with money, arms, ammunition and shelter in the late 1980s in spite of his crimes against civilians and political assassinations.
Now that there is no war to fight, the LTTE has enough and more funds and time to wage costly legal battles against international bans. The lifting of sanctions in Europe is no mean achievement for it. Whether its relentless efforts to regain international legitimacy will reach fruition in countries like the US remains to be seen.The Sri Lankan government lost no time in expressing its concern about the EU court decision which is certainly a comedown for it on the diplomatic front. The LTTE will gain a great deal of legitimacy in time for the next UNHRC session in Geneva, where some countries are openly campaigning for sanctions against Sri Lanka. However, paradoxical as it may sound, the court ruling has stood President Mahinda Rajapaksa in good stead with a snap presidential election on the horizon.
No sooner had President Rajapaksa declared, in an obvious bid to justify his seeking a third term, that he was ready to scrap the executive presidency if the Tiger sympathisers renounced their separatist ideology than the EU court decision was announced. Politically speaking, this ruling could not have come at a better time for President Rajapaksa; it has helped bolster his claim. He will make the most of it during the next few months.
The EU court decision has, no doubt, perturbed all victims of LTTE terror, but it has certainly made the EU look less hypocritical.
It does not make sense to retain a ban on an outfit which has enjoyed unbridled freedom to operate in Europe all these years, does it?