UNHRC Investigates Sri Lanka: What happens when ‘the other side’ is caught collecting blank submission forms with signatures?
The signatures are genuine but the witness account is false – how does the OHCHR/UNHRC and OISL define this? Is it a forgery or false evidence or how else would OHCHR define such mischief? It certainly is not a bonafide witness account.
The OISL or the OHCHR have not to date revealed even before the arrest how many such forms they have received despite having experts to detect forgeries and when it was discovered after the arrest that there is a concerted effort in Sri Lanka and probably overseas as well to collect genuine signatures but write false accounts no one but the OHCHR and the UNSG have got upset at the disclosure. Is this not strange?
The UNHRC/OHCHR/ OISL or the UN Secretary General has not satisfactorily responded to the arrest and in particular the findings.
The submission format can vary too – the LTTE Diaspora may have compiled their own submission format. The crux of the matter is that there are groups of people collecting signatures of people with no date and photos, NIC copies and death certificates as well. When a form is blank and the collectors are LTTE, surely we are not childish to think that whoever is making entries will be showering praise or singing hosannas’ for the Sri Lankan soldiers!
Thus, Sri Lanka and the general public have every right to be concerned. That concern is elevated because of several other factors.
- On 22nd October 2014, the LTTE unrehabilitated cadre had handed blank forms with signatures to a TNA advisory panel member known as Sun Master. This naturally raises more questions as to how many such forms the LTTE cadre would have handed over. Sun Master however has fled to India.
- There are serious doubts as to how many other LTTE cadres would have been given a similar task and how many such blank forms have been thus collected since the announcement of the investigation.
- There is also the doubt of the same exercise being carried in countries where Tamil diaspora prevail. We are aware that the GOSL proscribed organizations have launched online appeals via their websites and have set up ‘investigation’ teams to tabulate ‘grievances’. This all leads to the question of who and how many are involved in doctoring information and building up false accounts via ghost writers!
The global scale of this initiative is nothing we should take lightly particularly so when the UNHRC boasts of having wonderful systems in place to assure transparency.
Yet, our surprise and disappointment comes in the manner that both the UNHRC head and UNSG has behaved after the GOSL questioned the credibility of the investigation after the arrest.
Let us also point out that the UNHRC is on record for saying that they have means to detect forgery, if so why has the OISL/OHCHR or the UNHRC not brought up the fact that they have been receiving forged submissions because the arrest of the LTTE with blank forms on 25th Oct 2014 within days of the deadline and the fact that on 22nd Oct 2014 he had handed more blank forms to the TNA member means that this effort must have been taking place for some time and filled forms would have already been sent via soft copy or post to the OISL in Geneva.
That the OHCHR/OISL and the UNHRC have kept mum about receiving ‘doctored’ forms (given that they have systems to discover such) gives Sri Lanka every right to question complicity on the part of the investigators or raise doubt as to the credibility of their in-house systems to discover forgeries.
Of course the quick defence of the OHCHR/UNHRC and OISL would be is to declare that they do not need to disclose how many they have rejected but such secrecy and lack of transparency gives us every right to think that the OHCHR/UNHRC and OISL may not have rejected these forged forms!
The important factor that needs to be continuously stressed by Sri Lanka is that there has been a concerted and systematic effort to collect from Tamils their signatures on blank forms with no date alongside NIC and death certificate copies and photos. The promise of monetary compensation would need to be further investigated because a promise is one thing and an actual payment is another. It would be good to investigate how many have actually been paid and who paid them too.
- The Sri Lankan envoys need to show the manner in which the OHCHR/UNHRC has treated Sri Lanka following the arrest of the LTTE cadre. That arrest and the revelation and exposure of a well-planned out effort to fix the Sri Lankan soldiers with fraudulent accusations cannot result in the OHCHR head accusing Sri Lanka of ‘continuing a campaign distortion and disinformation’ going on to say that Sri Lanka has been making ‘insidious attempts to prevent possible bonafide witnesses from submitting information to the investigation team’.
- OHCHR head must realize that blank forms and signatures with no date means that there are no bonafide witnesses and the only ‘witnesses’ submitting information to the OISL investigators are some ghost writers putting together falsehoods to corner Sri Lankan troops to war crimes charges. It is appalling to see the lengths people are going to since they have nothing concrete to hold against Sri Lankan troops.
- The Sri Lankan envoys should also query about the OHCHR heads statement that says that they have mechanisms to detect forgeries – if so why has the OHCHR not released that they were in regular receipt of such forms without waiting for the arrest of the LTTE cadre which brought this plot out into the open?
- Had it not been for the arrest Sri Lankan troops would have been charged with war crimes and the OHCHR would have kept mum about receipt of forged submission forms – This is what needs to be continuously brought out among member countries of the UN
OHCHR Head says “We don’t accept anything at face value. UN human rights investigators are trained to spot fraudulent submissions. The process of analysis and corroboration of information and evidence is well defined, refined and codified on the basis of many years’ experience,” – See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/en/newsevents/pages/media.aspx#sthash.OSo3HYKX.dpuf
The question is CAN THESE EXPERTS SPOT SUBMISSIONS THAT HAVE GENUINE SIGNATURES BUT FORGED ACCOUNTS?
OHCHR Head also says “It is a false equation to suggest that because someone may have been trying to submit false submissions, the inquiry is discredited. In addition, the submissions form only a part of the investigation.” – See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/en/
The question is if we do not know (only the OISL know but do not say so) how many submissions of the type the LTTE cadre was collecting have actually been submitted to the OISL who have accepted them as ‘genuine’ bondafide witness accounts, the Sri Lankan state has every right to question the OISL investigation on Sri Lanka and declare it has NO CREDIBILITY whatsoever.
What we are continuously reiterating is that not only is there a plan by various pro-LTTE entities to collect signatures on blank forms and fill details that would fit into a plan to fix Sri Lankan troops and send as submissions to the OISL investigation, that these have been accepted by the OISL, though we do not know how many. Additionally, the OHCHR inspite of having mechanisms to detect forgeries have kept mum because they have not disclosed that they were in receipt of forms that had genuine signatures but forged accounts.
The arrest has exposed that silence so now the OHCHR have now got upset that they have been put into a very embarrassing situation.
However this does not warrant the OHCHR, its head and the UNSG to rashly accuse Sri Lanka with unwarranted accusations because they have been exposed.
Thus, the OHCHR and the UNSG must offer an apology to Sri Lanka for accusing Sri Lanka of ‘continuing a campaign distortion and disinformation’ going on to say that Sri Lanka has been making ‘insidious attempts to prevent possible bonafide witnesses from submitting information to the investigation team’.
Now that Israel has rejected the UNHRC investigation and called it a ‘kangaroo court’ we are waiting to see OHCHR Head or UNSG’s statement accusing Israel in the same manner they have insulted Sri Lanka.
UN Member nations need to be appraised of these developments and these arguments via diplomatic channels since the OHCHR has not come clean on forged submissions being sent to them PRIOR to the arrest when it has emerged that forged submissions are being sent as supposed bonafide witness accounts.
– by Shenali D Waduge
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