Monday, 24 January 2011

Sri Lankan Government Playing It into the hands of the Adversary.

20 months in to the military victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam(LTTE), the Sri Lanka government is facing serious accountability issues relating to war crimes.
Initial attempts by pro-LTTE elements and the West were scuttled but Ban Ki Moon’s three member panel to investigate alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka is very much in the limelight again.
In mid last year, Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris declared that the UN panel probing alleged ‘war crimes’ in Sri Lanka was “illegal” and no visas will be granted to the members of the panel. However, immediately after the infamous “Oxford Fiasco”, he said that the panel would be welcome to testify before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). He added that visas would be issued to the panel’s members for the visit.
Who is to blame for providing fresh impetus to the adversary’s cause? It is obvious that the hypocrisy of the Sri Lankan government and the imprudence of its foreign policy have led the country into a rather precarious situation. Why would the president need to address the Oxford University Union for a second time ignoring the warnings given by the diplomatic missions?
Weeks ahead of the visit to UK (for the non-address of the Oxford Union), the PR machine of the Sri Lankan government was already touting “what an honor has the president brought to the country in being invited to address the Oxford Union for a second time and the bravery he has shown in not bowing to the pressure exerted by the Tamil Diaspora in UK” and so on and so forth.
Then what happened? It gave much needed PR to the LTTE sympathizers' cause, their mass protests were covered by new agencies all around the world, and the embracement Sri Lanka had to face to go with it. UK government gave its reciprocal snub to president Rajapakse’s SOS call adding insult to injury. Imagine how na├»ve one has be to expect the UK (which the Sri Lankan government so merrily criticized and humiliated back at home) to intervene?
Sri Lankan government walked right into the trap which appears to be an orchestrated effort by the pro-LTTE elements and the West to humiliate Sri Lanka in front of the world.     
However there is only one way the government can mute the hue and cry for the investigation on alleged war crimes, that is to demonstrate genuine will to establish national reconciliation and re-establish the rule of law which seems to be deteriorating owing to increased authoritarianism of the executive.

Today an important Supreme Court ruling will be announced, which would be a litmus test for Sri Lanka’s Judiciary as far as its independence is concerned. General Sarath Fonseka has challenged the validity of the first General Courts Martial (GCM) that has stripped him of his rank, decorations and denied his pension. It is on the grounds that the General Court Martial (the first among two such GCMs) is not a judicial body.
This Supreme Court Ruling will make or mar the image of the Sri Lankan government where its accountability is concerned. It is up to them to portray Sri Lanka as yet another undemocratic state like Myanmar(which they have been consorting with of late) political dissent is not tolerated.