The victimizers may 'sleep no
The attempt by a New
York court to serve summons on Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent
Representative to the UN Major General Shavendra Silva is
short-sightedness at its worst. To begin with, as pointed out by
the Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry, this is a glaring violation of
the laws and conventions governing the treatment of the
diplomatic representatives of member states of the UN.
The court action is in clear violation of the time-honoured
norm of immunity from legal action, usually enjoyed by a
country's diplomatic representatives abroad and could have a
deeply destabilizing impact on the West's relations with Sri
It was mentioned in some quarters that the initiators of the
court action meant it to be a 'test case' of some sort. Implied
in this perception is the awareness that the summons had a
questionable legal foundation and that the court action was
launched on an experimental or hit-or-miss basis. If this is so,
we could only conclude that the authorities in question have
been acting in a most irresponsible fashion. For, the illegal
nature of the act of serving summons should have right along
been seen and ruled out as a possible course of action in the
circumstances in question. If this is a matter of 'testing the
waters' we are left with the reflection that no stone is being
left unturned by anti-Lanka elements in their search for ways to
humiliate and harass Sri Lanka.
On the face of it, the most fundamental of laws pertaining to
the treatment of diplomatic representatives by states are being
violated by actions of this kind that fly in the face of the
finest norms of inter-state courtesy.
Moreover, the Sri Lankan state is ever willing to provide our
diplomats abroad with all the assistance required in these
situations and our diplomats could rest assured of the
staunchest backing of the state.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his recent address to the UN
General Assembly pulled no punches when he warned against
'discriminatory approaches' and partiality in the treatment of
states by the more powerful actors of the current global
political order. We too lend our voice to that of the President
in warning against discriminatory treatment of the less powerful
states of the world by those states which are in positions of
influence in the global power structure.
The adoption of Janus-faced policies could prove extremely
harmful for two reasons at least. One, the Rule of Law is stood
on its head. Two, extremist political forces are greatly
strengthened and emboldened by the unlawful treatment of
It is highly ironic that the Darusman Panel Report had its
origins within the UN system. This is because the sovereign
equality of states is a foundational principle of the UNO. In
terms of this cardinal principle, every state enjoys the right
to defend itself and to protect its territorial integrity
against separatist forces. This is exactly what the Lankan state
did when it took on the LTTE and saw to its disempowerment and
defeat. Any legally-constituted state in Sri Lanka's situation
would have been obliged to do what Sri Lanka did and Sri Lanka,
for one, would never begrudge them this inalienable right.
Why are some of the powerful of the world ganging-up against
Sri Lanka, then, and that too in the most oppressive fashion?
The most intelligible answer that we could arrive at is the
irrepressible need of the powerful to have compliant, submissive
states in particularly the Third World. Sri Lanka proved that it
could put down the Tigers without the help of the West and this
has perhaps aggravated the general animosity of the powerful
against a resourceful and independent state in the developing
world, which Sri Lanka proved to be.
Apparently, the powerful are willing to bend, distort and
even abandon the core principles of International Law for the
purpose of holding the whip-hand over the up and coming states
of the developing world.
But it should be realized by the more unscrupulous powers of
the West that the results of such actions could be greater
international anarchy and lawlessness. In an anarchic world no
one would be secure and the powerful in the international
political system ought to know this by now. Here too, the tragic
myopia of the powerful could be amply seen.
But, as we have warned in this commentary time and again, the
brow-beaters of the West could be only giving a much longed for
fillip to the extremist racist political forces in both Northern
and Southern Sri Lanka and their backers abroad by their
continued efforts to victimize Sri Lanka.
This is the second reason why double standards by the West
are harmful. Is this the desired result? If so, the result could
be extremely disquieting for all concerned. For, the forces of
communalism will not only prove divisive in Sri Lanka but breed
countless law and order issues for the West, so that the
powerful would 'sleep no more.'