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Gordon Weiss

The United Nations has I gather taken note of my detailed account of Chris du Toit and his network of observers, as have others in the Congo who I presume came across him later, after his involvement in what his disciple Gordon Weiss describes as ‘the illicit wars fought by South Africa in Angola’. I have however been reminded that, perhaps more even than Weiss, the responsibility for the attack on Sri Lanka with regard to ‘its shelling of the United Nations hub’ rests on the other colonel who reported to Weiss, namely the retired Bangladeshi colonel Harun Khan who ‘had led brigades into battle and managed counter-insurgency operations in his own country’.

I myself continue to believe that Harun was comparatively innocent, and it was his boss Chris du Toit who was the linchpin of the operation to pile allegations on Sri Lanka. But certainly Weiss quotes Harun directly, and it would seem that it is his evidence that has contributed to the criticisms contained in Paragraphs 80 to 94 in the Darusman report.

The Darusman report leaps from place to place in its account, indicating the vague nature of the panellists’ knowledge. Para 80 begins On 20 January 2009, the Government unilaterally declared a No Fire Zone (NFZ) and remarks that The LTTE did not accept the NFZ as binding. The rationale for the location of the NFZ, which encompassed the LTTE’s western and southern defensive lines, and the boundary of which along the A35 was only 800 metres north of the advancing SLA frontline, was not clear.

That last line suggests that the panellists had some sympathy with the refusal of the LTTE to accept the NFZ, a refusal that led to concerted use of the NFZ for its own military operations. Then in Para 81 the Panel concentrates on the hospital at Vallipuram, declaring that On or around 19 to 21 January, SLA shells hit Vallipunam hospital, located in the first NFZ, killing patients. Throughout the final stages of the war, virtually every hospital in the Vanni, whether permanent or makeshift, was hit by artillery. Particularly those which contained wounded LTTE were hit repeatedly

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Rajiva Wijesinha

July 2011
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