Tell the truth at the UNHRC sessions; it is that simple

| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(February 27, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) “You hear all this talk about the meaning of the media, the need for integrity etc etc,”. “But isn’t it quite simple? You just try to find out the truth of what’s going on and report it the best way you can. And because we are kind of romantic, our sympathy goes towards the underdog.”
Today it will face the UNHRC scrutiny and a possible resolution to hold Sri Lanka accountable for war crimes and justify the 40,000 civilians killed in the two years before it emerged as victor over the vanquished LTTE.
These are the words of Marie Colvin, the intrepid and courageous journalist whose life was sacrificed in the name of honest journalism in Syria as told to Franklin Lamb published in Sri Lanka Guardian yesterday. Her body is yet to be released to her family since Syria is now erupting in escalating violence with an average of 50 people being killed since Saturday and the ICRC is unable to cope with providing urgent humanitarian assistance to those trapped in Homs.
For far too long the government had tried to bury the truth and it went to great lengths and spent exorbitant amounts of money to hire an expensive advertising firms to bolster its image as liberating the country from LTTE terrorism.
Today it will face the UNHRC scrutiny and a possible resolution to hold Sri Lanka accountable for war crimes and justify the 40,000 civilians killed in the two years before it emerged as victor over the vanquished LTTE.
The one face that haunts me it is that of the young girl who was raped practically every night for 18 months by several government soldiers as she was detained in a camp following the government victory over the LTTE. She has a three year old baby as a result this repeated rape. Her account of her agony before a psychologist in Oxford early last year and my witnessing her beedi burns on her private parts is ample evidence that soldiers saw these hapless females as feed for their lust.
If only the LLRC bothered to bring forward these women as witnesses instead of geriatric government servants and senile editors who had never seen the ugly war in the North and East then it would have done justice to their function and duty as an impartial body. But alas, their hands were tied by the government which used it as a weak excuse for probing the conduct of the war. Tamil culture would make these victims shy away from revealing their private agony and embarrassment before the commission without privacy and witness protection.
The LLRC failed miserably and now the government is calling for a last minute postponement of the UNHRC special sessions which could send the government and its military hierarchy to the ICT (International Criminal Tribunal) in Hague without hesitation what with incontrovertible evidence that some 40,000 innocent Tamil civilians perished under the government’s maniacal offensive to crush the LTTE.
The evidence is out there and truth stares everyone in the face. Yet the government is trying its best to
obfuscate its conduct in the last throes of war. UNHRC is known to those found gulilty of war crimes to jail through ICT (International Criminal Tribunal) comprising Heads of States along with their accomplices in Hague.
If found guilty of war crimes Sri Lanka could suffer the same fate as Ivory Coast which is now facing ICC (International Criminal Court) trial and the perpetrators of war crimes will be detained at the UN facility at Scheveningen in Hague whose first detainee for war crimes is former Yugoslavian Head of State Slobodan Milosevic.
The writer is Asia Pacific Journalism Fellow at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, California and a print journalist for 21 years. She can be reached at pearltheva@hotmail.com)

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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