This question needs to be asked and answered some time or the other and sooner the better. We are well aware that the LTTE ground leadership is no more including the LTTE leader – V. Prabakaran. However, over the years there have been a host of people living in Sri Lanka, living overseas who have been directly and indirectly part of the LTTE. Unless these names are out in the open identified as ‘members’ of the LTTE Eelam ideology and declared LTTE partners in crime, the entire UNHRC investigation is nothing but a sham and one that is being set up to take ONLY the GOSL to the dock.
Therefore, if ‘both sides’ has any meaning at all we need to put a list of all those that have been by their actions linked to the LTTE, by their association part of the LTTE, by accepting LTTE funds been associated with the LTTE over the years and it need not necessarily be confined to 2002 – 2009 though we may have to offer some leniency to those who openly gave up association with the LTTE.
Who will be contenders to take the fall and be held accountable for LTTE crimes?
TNA is an unregistered alliance formed in 2001 just before the Ceasefire Agreement was signed comprising the ACTC – All Ceylon Tamil Congress, the EPRLF – Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front, TELO – Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization, TULF – Tamil United Liberation Front. It was with the LTTE’s influence that TNA was voted into Parliament.
What are the examples that showcases TNA-LTTE links.
In its 2001 manifesto TNA claimed “‘We have also consistently asserted that any attempt to draw a distinction between the LTTE and the Tamil people was meaningless”‘”‚¦“‘unless meaningful negotiations are held with the LTTE no just solution can be found to the Tamil national question and that such negotiations should be held immediately ONLY with the LTTE”‘ “- while TNA also held the view that “‘no parallel negotiations should take place with any other Tamil political formation”‘.
The TULF, ACTC, TELO, EPRLF in 2001 demanded that the GOSL “‘lift the proscription imposed on the LTTE”‘ and moreover that such “‘proscription does not constitute an impediment to the free and full participation of the LTTE at such negotiations on behalf of the Tamil nationality”‘.
TNA in 2001 concluded that for any meaningful solution to the “‘TAMIL NATIONAL QUESTION”‘ had to be based on 4 principles highlighted at the 13th July 1985 Thimpu Talks in Bhutan (Between GOSL and LTTE):
- To recognize Tamils of Sri Lanka as a distinct nationality
- To recognize the identified Tamil Homeland and guarantee its territorial integrity
- To recognize the inalienable right of self-determination of the Tamil nation.
- To recognize the right to full citizenship and other fundamental democratic rights of all Tamils who look upon the island as their country.
In 2001 the TNA comprised of the TULF, ACTC, TELO, EPRLF. Their 2001 manifesto put their aims and objectives as
- Immediate lifting of economic embargo in parts of northeast province
- Withdrawal of residential and travel restrictions of Tamil nationals
- Immediate cessation of war currently waged in northeast
- Immediate commencement of negotiations with LTTE and third party.
The TNA manifesto of 2004 comprised the political parties of TULF, ACTC, TELO and EPRLF.
The 2004 manifesto also spoke of establishing independent Tamil Eelam based on inalienable right to self-determination. The manifesto also spoke about “‘genocidal attacks on the Tamil people”‘ though why the Tamil people continue to live with the Sinhalese despite “‘genocidal”‘ attacks remains unanswered. TNA also says “‘in order to safeguard the life and liberty of the Tamil race and to establish its birthright for self-determination, the Tamil Nation having being pushed to the unavoidable state of armed conflict, as the only way, the war not only broadened but advanced under the generalship of the Tiger”‘s leader Hon.Pirapaharan”‘ (while Tamil alliance politicians for fear of LTTE lived with the Sinhalese in Colombo and cared not a penny for the life or liberty of Tamils in LTTE areas!)
TNA’s 2004 election manifesto reads thus “Accepting the LTTE’s leadership as the national leadership of ‘Tamil Eelam’ Tamils and the Liberation Tigers as the sole and authentic representative of the Tamil people, let us devote our full cooperation for the ideals of the Liberation Tigers’ struggle with honesty and steadfastness. Let us endeavour determinedly, collectively as one group, one nation, one country, transcending race and religious differences, under the leadership of the LTTE, for a life of liberty, honour and justice for the Tamil people.”
TNA put forward 10 resolutions in its 2004 manifesto
- Political solution to the Tamil national problem based on Tamil Homeland and Tamils right to self-determination
- TNA position on Muslims because they speak Tamil mother tongue TNA wishes that any solution to Tamil national problem should address the cultural, economic and security concerns of the Muslims “- thus ISGA proposals related to Muslims. (what about the Muslims the Tamils chased or the Muslims massacred in Kattankudy)
- Sinhala Nation should accept the ISGA “‘excellent”‘ proposals by LTTE to rebuild the Tamil country
- The high security zones and army camps should be removed
- The armed forces “‘interdiction and oppression”‘ must be lifted and allow Tamils to move freely in their “‘homeland”‘
- International community should directly assist humanitarian needs and improve economic life of the Tamil nation.
- Political prisoners to be released
- International judicial inquiry on the fate of the disappeared by the armed forces and police in “‘our homeland”‘.
- Provisions of ceasefire agreement to be completed fulfilled
- THIS IS THE BEST LINE OF THE MANIFESTO! – “‘The LTTE has for the past two years put up with the violent, surly behaviour of the armed forces without impairing the conditions for peace and observing the ceasefire and acting steadfastly and firmly towards the path of peace”‘. Hence the international community should remove restrictions on LTTE because it is the “‘authentic sole representative of the Tamil people”‘ “- was there not close to 10,000 LTTE ceasefire violations? Can Tamils understand why it is the TNA that has put all Tamils into the LTTE killing basket?
That”‘s not all that the TNA said about the LTTE. TNA goes on to say that it is “‘accepting LTTE”‘s leadership as the national leadership of the Tamil Eelam Tamils and the Liberation Tigers as the sole and authentic representatives of the Tamil people”‘ “- do we really need to ask Tamils why they would not come forward to deny this claim made by the TNA?
How many Tamils agree or do not agree when TNA says “‘let us devote our full cooperation for the ideals of the Liberation Tigers struggle with honesty and steadfastness”‘“‚¦”‘let us work side by side with the LTTE”‘.
The manifestos were not written by TNA under duress. It is clear that LTTE-TNA are one and the same.
In its 2010 Manifesto, the TNA refers to the LTTE it as the “‘sole military outfit that fought for a separate homeland for the Tamils”‘ as well as the 2002 Cease Fire Agreement based on a set of principles known as the “‘Oslo Communique”‘ which again referred to “‘internal self-determination in areas of historical habitation of the Tamil-speaking Peoples, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka”‘.
There is need to Investigate:
- TNA Parliamentarians attending pro-LTTE events abroad and locally throughout 30 years
- TNA Parliamentarians speaking from LTTE stages, delivering speeches that echo separatist sentiment.
- TNA Parliamentarians paying homage to dead LTTE suicide cadres
- TNA Parliamentarians communicating and liaising with LTTE fronts overseas
- Foreign mission briefings/country data on Sri Lanka that describes ‘TNA as a pro-LTTE party’ while international media too carries the same description
- 2004 EU Election Observation Mission Chief John Cushnahan released the EU report on June 17, 2004 clearly establishing the LTTE-TNA alliance: Quote: Firstly, the LTTE intended that no other rival Tamil party (or Tamil candidate from the mainstream political alliances) to the TNA would be able to claim to represent Tamil interests. A chilling message to this effect was sent early in the campaign when a UNP candidate and an EPDP activist were murdered. Incidents such as this seriously restricted the right of the parties other than the TNA to campaign freely in the Northern and Eastern Districts. During the 2004 elections, the major incidents of violence was perpetrated by the LTTE, whereas at the earlier elections; the primary source of the violence (although not all), were the two largest political parties. Unquote
- 2009 statement by Anandasangaree (President/Secretary of TULF) to the President of Sri Lanka: “Democratic Tamil National Alliance considers the TNA, as the first and the worst enemy of the Tamil People. They should take full responsibility, among many other matters, for the loss of several thousands of lives and for causing injuries for many more….. All have become paupers now. They will find hardly anything left when they return to their homes one day. All these or at least 90 per cent of these could have been saved and total displacement could have been avoided if only the TNA had the forethought to advise the LTTE to release the people from their grip, to go anywhere they liked. The TNA is blamed for this because, when everyone, every organization, every country, the EU, the UN etc. had made this request specifically, only the TNA kept on asking for the war to stop”
Guilty by association
In investigating and establishing the links with LTTE-TNA every killing and act crime committed by the LTTE automatically incriminates the TNA as being guilty by association.
LTTE’s crimes include suicide missions, destruction of civilian property, premeditated targeting of civilians, denying fundamental rights under the UN Charter to Tamil men, women and even children by forcibly recruiting them as terrorists, denying children their right to life, right to live with parents, right to education and right to freedom of movement, banks heists, political assassinations, narcotic trade, human smuggling and a host of other crimes which TNA by association with LTTE becomes culpable for.
COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY – COLLECTIVE GUILT
Even thepresent Chief Minister is quoted as having said ‘Prabakaran is not a terrorist. He is a hero and a warrior who fount for the liberation of the Tamil Nation’.
Then there are a list of many others living overseas and top on that list is Adele Balasingham, the head trainer of the LTTE suicide cadres. Her crime includes criminal accountability for instructing people to commit suicide by biting the cyanide capsule given to each trainee. Scores of Tamils men, women and children committed suicide by biting the cyanide capsule and criminal proceedings must be launched as even between 2002-2009 LTTE cadres took their lives.
There are also many other LTTE fronts and the current ban by the Sri Lankan Government naming these organizations as LTTE fronts under the UNSC Resolution is sufficient to connect them to OHCHR investigation and be held accountable for LTTE crimes.
So too are non-Tamil LTTE who had been enjoying regular disbursements from the LTTE kitty to be part of the LTTE propaganda channel. Their names are well known but need to be officially put out into the public domain and they too must take the fall and accept accountability for LTTE crimes that the UNHRC is investigation.
The long and short of it is that we cannot accept the death of LTTE’s leaders and the ground leadership as an excuse for LTTE crimes to go unaccounted. There have to be a host of people lined up to accept accountability at the end of the OHCHR report when they cannot omit from declaring LTTE as accountable for crimes even it is those that they will hold within the time frame of 2002-2009.
The people of Sri Lanka must compile those that should take that fall and be held accountable first.
– by Shenali D Waduge