SLMM's double standards
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission's (SLMM)
outgoing Chief, Ulf Henriccson, has dragged the monitoring mechanism to
the centre of controversy by holding the Sri Lankan Armed Forces
responsible for the killing of 17 local aid workers in early August in
Muttur, who were deployed by the French Charity, Action Against Hunger
in relief operations among the displaced.
Given the SLMM's tendency to sidestep the issue of naming and holding
the LTTE responsible for the numerous killings carried out by it of
political opponents and unarmed civilians since 2002, on the grounds
that such pronouncements are not mandated by the CFA, we wonder whether
the SLMM could not be accused of double standards when it takes it upon
itself to pronounce that the Security Forces should be held responsible
for the Muttur killings.
In other words, are not such magisterial pronouncements violative of
the SLMM's mandate, which is confined to mainly monitoring the
ceasefire? Isn't the outgoing SLMM Chief risking being accused of
"shooting from the hip" by making such comments unreservedly?
Nevertheless, the SLMM chief would need to answer Government Defence
Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella's strictures on his pronouncements over
the killings, if the latter are to carry any weight. For instance, there
is the CID finding that Muttur was under LTTE control at the time the
massacre occurred. Besides, the SLMM needs to take into consideration
the JMO report which points to the possible time of the massacre. All
such evidence points to the fact that Muttur was under LTTE control at
the time of the killings.
We hope, then, that the SLMM would take the bull by the horns or
rather the Tiger by its cruel jaws, and not hesitate to identify the
real killers behind the massacre.
Moreover, the SLMM has failed to meet the crucial test of
transparency and divulge very clearly the methodology adopted by it to
arrive at the conclusion that the Security Forces should be held
responsible for the killings. If the SLMM allegation is to carry any
weight the public thirst for knowledge on this score must be quenched.
The SLMM should also consider the cardinal point that the Government
flew down forensic experts from Australia to probe these killings. Is
this the conduct of a guilty party?
We hope complete rationality and clarity of thinking would guide the
deliberations of the SLMM, which plays a crucial role in the peace
process. It needs to refrain from rushing to conclusions which would
prove controversial and stir the basest of emotions among some.
A crucial function of the SLMM is to dialogue closely with the
parties to the conflict and ensure the non-recurrence of ceasefire
This requires profound sagacity and impartiality. It would help the
peace process greatly if the SLMM weighs very carefully the evidence at
hand before rushing to conclusions.
A prime need at the moment is the strengthening of the Rule of Law.
We do not believe anything positive would be achieved through the
jettisoning of this cardinal value.
Accordingly, all responsible quarters should go the extra mile to
ensure that all wrong-doers are brought to justice speedily. Let us not
fail in this great undertaking.
Over crowded prisons need for remedial action
Chairman of the Central Committee of the
Prisoners' Welfare Association T. S. Rajapakse has drawn timely
attention to the pathetic conditions within Prison by his article
"Prisons or Well Holes" appeared on CDN 01/08/06 - Truly the
situation is such that Prisons are "bursting at the seams."
Developing prejudices through education
Since its inception practically, the Government
has had to handle a relentless series of assaults by the Tigers.
Contrary to the myth spread by both the LTTE and its sympathizers in
the opposition, the response has generally been admirable, combining
commensurate military responses with a firm commitment to a
Continuation of the unwise intent to keep the Tamil question
Kethesh represented the future so many fine Sri
Lankans are struggling to build pluralistic, respectful of human
life and human rights, deeply democratic. His life stands as a
symbol of what is good and right in the country.