- Question 10:
The Government has alleged that the Paranagama Report agrees with the Channel 4 video allegations. Is that true?
Not at all. It is a deliberate misreading of the Paranagama Report. At paragraph 428, the Paranagama Report states explicitly “ the authenticity of the video footage is not an issue that the Commission can resolve…”.
If, of course, the authenticity of the video is proved, that would establish a prima facia case. The Paranagama Commission goes on to advocate that there should be a proper judicial inquiry.
Indeed the very same was suggested by the LLRC report, which called for an independent investigation. Thus to say that the Paranagama Commission has validated the genuineness of the Channel 4 footage is false. Because if it had, what would be the necessity to call for an inquiry to ascertain the authenticity of the footage? Indeed the Paranagama Commission criticizes Channel 4 in paragraph 432 (page 105) for failing to supply the original film footage. Why would the Paranagama Commission do this, if it had accepted the film footage as authentic?
- Question 11
What is the link between the OISL report and the Darusman Report with respect to the gravity of the allegations made against Sri Lanka?
The answer to this question is to be found in paragraph 22 (page 8) of the OISL report which reads as follows: “ Another key source of information was the United Nation’s Secretary General’s panel of experts headed by Mazuki Darusmann with experts Yasmin Sooka and Steven Ratner.”
Thus, it is quite clear, that the OISL report is firmly grounded in the grave allegations made by the Darusman Report. Therefore it raises the question as to why the Paranagama Commission 2nd Mandate Report which dealt with most of the allegations in the Darusman Report was not tabled in Geneva by the Government.
In addition to that, the OISL report has been prepared during a period when the co-author of the Darusman Report, Yasmin Sooka has also provided additional independent reports against the present Government of Sri Lanka, under the heading of “ Torture and Sexual Abuse Under the New Government in Sri Lanka”. The reason to target both the past and present Government of Sri Lanka is a deliberate strategy by those wanting to establish a separate state in Sri Lanka, as they want to use the UN process to create the impression that regardless of who is in power, the minority community is targeted deliberately as part of an overarching plan to intimidate, torture, and kill civilians. Once again it underlines the question, why did the Government not table the Paranagama 2nd Mandate Report in Geneva, when it also addressed this very issue in a very neutral and detached way.
- Question 12
When the Darusman Report alleged the killing of upto 40,000 civilians in the final stages of the war and the 2nd Paranagama Mandate Report deals with this so effectively, the question is raised once again as to why the Government failed to table the Paranagama Report in Geneva?
The most explosive allegation in the Darusman Report is that upto 40,000 civilians may have been killed in the last phase of the conflict in Sri Lanka. This is a genocidal figure. The Paranagama Report from paragraph 115 (page 19) to paragraph 128 (page 21) completely proves that this allegation in the Darusman report was wrong in fact. Thus for the Government to suggest that the Paranagama Report was far worse than the OISL report, without even once referring to the positively balanced aspects of the Paranagama Report in dealing with the allegations of genocide and crimes against humanity to portray the correct position with respect to the last phase of the conflict, was yet another attempt to mislead the country.
- Question 13
The impression given by the Government to Parliament was that the OISL report is in no way damaging to Sri Lanka and there was nothing to fear. Is this true?
If this is true, what is the need to set up an accountability mechanism with or without foreign judges, with or without foreign investigators, and with or without foreign prosecutors? And what is the need to have the whole process monitored by Geneva as the resolution purports to do?
The onerous judicial mechanism imposed on Sri Lanka that was included in the UNHRC resolution would not have arisen if the Darusman Report, which is the principal document upon which the OISL report was based, was shown to be mistaken in both its findings on facts and in relation to the application of the proper law to those facts. The tabling of the 2nd Mandate Report of the Paranagama Commission in Geneva would have achieved that, and it is a matter of grave concern to me as to why the Government went to great lengths to prevent its circulation at the UNHRC.
- Question 14
Can the Government at this late stage, having co-signed and passed the resolution, now go back and submit the 2nd Mandate Paranagama Report for the consideration of the OHCHR and OISL?
Of course we still can table it. They must do that. It is never too late to submit reports to the UNHRC, as the intention of the proposed judicial mechanism is to arrive at the truth and ascertain what happened during the conflict. Although it was a historic mistake on the part of the Government to have failed to table the report earlier, i.e. prior to the passing of the Geneva resolution, it would have a considerable influence in bringing about a more positive outcome for Sri Lanka, even now.
The report is still a relevant and important document for the UN to consider. After all, the 2nd Mandate Paranagama Report prepared with inputs from the International Advisory Council chaired by Sir Desmond De Silva Q.C. was directed at answering the very questions that needed to be answered to arrive at a fair minded conclusion as to what the truth is, having applied the correct laws of armed conflict to the circumstances of the war.
I have no doubt that they would have greatly appreciated the benefit of reading the Paranagama 2nd Mandate report and revisiting their previous conclusions that were largely influenced by the inaccurate Darusman Report. Getting to the truth of the matter is the foremost objective of any UN official and to have denied them the benefit of the Paranagama Report will go down in our history as a lost opportunity. I hope the Government realize this and send this report to all the members of the UNHRC and its High Commissioner, without any further delay.
The Island 1 Nov 2015 – http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=134564