This year on May 18th, proclaimed as the Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, we mark 11 years since the worst massacre of innocent Tamils that took place in Mullivaaikaal, in the North of the island of Sri Lanka. Estimates from the UN and independent sources suggests more than 75,000 innocent civilians were killed during the last phase of the war. Since May, 2009, the Tamil cause appears hopeless as there are more than 146,000 Tamils unaccounted for. Over 90,000 widows can only imagine the fate of their husbands who were abducted by paramilitary or taken away by the GoSL army.
While placating the Western nations with the “reconciliation” buzzword, Sri Lanka President Gothabaya Rajapakse, himself a credibly accused war criminal, appointed two other war criminals Shavendra Silva as military commander and Kamal Gunaratne as Defence Minister recently. President Rajapakse also used the COVID-19 crisis to score a political point by releasing a convicted criminal, the former Sri Lanka Army Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake, who is the only person convicted in 2015 for the murder of eight innocent Tamil civilians who returned home to retrieve their belongings in Mirusuvil, northern Sri Lanka. In contrast, tens of thousands of Tamil political prisoners have been incarcerated for decades without charges, merely on suspicion.
Time and time again, the actions of the Sri Lankan Governments have clearly shown that Tamils cannot expect justice or protection within Sri Lanka. The impunity enjoyed by the Sinhala criminals is entrenched within the Sri Lanka “Judicial System” providing no hope for the safety of Tamils within Sri Lanka. The June 2017 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on her April 2016 mission to Sri Lanka (A/HRC/35/31/Add.1) clearly stated grave shortcomings i.e. lack of witness protection, independence of judiciary, etc, in the Sri Lankan judicial system. This absence of adequate judicial mechanisms in Sri Lanka to deal with International War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity, and the Crime of Genocide, are credible reasons for demanding an International Judicial mechanism like the International Criminal Court.
The genocidal pogroms of the Sri Lankan state over the past seven decades caused the persecution of innocent Tamil people, displaced many and caused many to flee the island and seek refuge elsewhere, clearly prosecuting Tamil Genocide in the island. Despite the end of the armed conflict, there has been no accountability or justice for the deaths of innocent Tamils. Stability in this region will remain elusive until Tamils can live peacefully in a land free of oppression in all aspects of their life.
We request the signatories of the United Nations Charter, to take responsibility to bring the Sri Lankan government to the International Judicial Mechanism.
Joining together as a community on this solemn day, we will remember, commit, and ensure such a tragedy is never repeated again and affirm to work towards long-term peace, security, and justice for the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka.
-International Council of Eelam Tamils-