by Shamindra Ferdinando
Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has alleged that those who had been with the LTTE until the very end of the conflict in May 2009 were now pursuing war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka.
Referring to a conversation with former US Ambassador in Colombo Patricia Butenis, war veteran Rajapaksa said that when he had inquired about a section of the international community targeting the war winning government, her response was that the LTTE had been eradicated; therefore those who survived should be accountable.
The former Defence Secretary was referring to the four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and Tamil diaspora organizations, such as the UK headquartered Global Tamil Forum (GTF). Reference was also made to the post-war partnership between the TNA and the GTF pushing for full implementation of the Geneva Resolution 30/1, inclusive of foreign judges in judicial inquiry.
The former Defence Secretary was addressing a gathering following the launch of ‘A factual appraisal of the OISL report: A rebuttal to the allegations against the armed forces’ at the Sambuddathwa Jayanthi Mandiraya on Monday (March 13).
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa dealt comprehensively with the alleged denial of humanitarian assistance to the Vanni population, one of the three major violations categorized under the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The former Defence Secretary pointed out that as the Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (CCHA) consisting of government, diplomatic, NGOs and INGO representatives decided on supplies to the LTTE held area therefore foreigners could help the proposed judicial mechanism to establish the truth.
Emphasizing that CCHA included even US, EU and Japanese Ambassadors and the British High Commissioner as well as the top Colombo based World Food Programme (WFP) official, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that CCHA minutes could confirm measures taken by the then government to move required supplies overland and by sea.
A smiling Rajapaksa said that none of them had complained about shortage of food and other essential items, though there were requests for zinc sheets, cement and iron. Rajapaksa said that as CCHA minutes were available, verification could be made.
The former Defence Secretary alleged that top UN official who had taken tangible measures to store sufficient food stocks in the north was moved out to Japan on a false pretext. Then there had been an independent survey conducted by UNICEF and Tamil civil administration machinery that revealed the majority of parents interviewed by them complained their children were being abducted by the LTTE.
Former Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva explained the close relationship between the TNA and the LTTE during the conflict. The European Union Election Observation Mission in June 2004 accused the TNA of securing the lions share of electoral seats at April 2014 general election in the Northern and Eastern Provinces with the support of the LTTE, Sarath Nanda Silva said.