SRI LANKA GOVERNMENT ‘GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES’ – says Dublin tribunal

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TAMILNET reports that the School of Law and Government of Dublin City University together with the Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka are holding two events this week as follow-up to the Dublin war crimes tribunal on Sri Lanka held in January this year.

Dublin findings issued at the end of the hearings said that the Sri Lanka government is ‘guilty of War-Crimes’ and ‘guilty of Crimes Against Humanity.’

The tribunal also concluded that the charge of Genocide requires further investigations.

Eye witnesses included several escapees from the final week of the Sri Lanka offensive in the Mullaitivu ‘No Fire Zone’ where more than 20,000 Tamil civilians were allegedly slaughtered by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) training heavy weapons on them.

In the first event to be held on Wednesday 6th October, Denis Halliday, former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations is scheduled to speak on ‘Dublin Verdict on Sri Lanka: What is to be done?’ at the Business School in Dublin City University.

This will be followed by another event on Thursday, 7th October, at the Synge Theatre in Trinity College Dublin, where Mary Lawlor, Director at the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, will join Halliday to speak on ‘War Crimes in Sri Lanka: International Implications.’

Both speakers were members of the panel of judges of the People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka.

Organisers said some video evidence will be presented at both events.

Meanwhile there is an acute shortage of wheat flour in Colombo due to price hikes.

This is because traders have hoarded their stocks expecting the price of wheat flour to be increased by the Sri Lanka (SL) government, sources in Colombo have said.

The SL government has raised the price of wheat flour twice in the recent past and the price of 450gm of bread has shot up from 40 rupees to 44 rupees with the price hike of 8 rupees per kilo of wheat flour to be enforced from Saturday midnight.

The people hit most by the rise of the price of bread are the plantation workers in the central hills who eat bread for all three meals of the day.

Most of the people in Colombo who eat bread for breakfast and dinner too are badly affected, the sources added.

The SL government had increased the price of wheat flour from 63 rupees to 73.50 rupees in June 2010.

It has again been raised by 8 rupees from Saturday midnight when the new price of wheat flour will be 81.50 rupees.

Consequently bakeries in Sri Lanka have raised the prices of all food items made out of flour.

With the price hike underway, bread is being sold at various increased prices in the districts other than Colombo and the weight of the bread sold is mostly less than the fixed weight.

Though the price of wheat flour had been increased twice in the recent past the price of bread had remained unchanged.

l Thinamurasu, the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) weekly that was published in Colombo and issued in Jaffna peninsula by EPDP leader and Sri Lanka minister Douglas Devananda was released in Jaffna on Friday as a daily when he opened his press located in Chu’ndikkuzhi on Jaffna main road.

Devananda is the Tamil paramilitary leader who placed himself at the disposal of the Sri Lankan government and is now a member of Rajapakse’s cabinet.

It is being alleged that Douglas Devananda coerced the editors and workers of the former ‘Namathu Eezhanaadu’ daily which had stopped publishing, into working in his newly opened press, local media sources said.

The Thinamurasu Tamil daily is now published in Jaffna peninsula in addition to three dailies of Uthayan, Valampuri and Yarl Thinakural.

Douglas Devananda has allegedly enticed and coerced persons from the resettled families in Jaffna peninsula and from the camps for uprooted persons in Vavuniyaa offering them freedom from detention and attractive salaries.

Meanwhile, a special team of the Colombo Crime Division has arrested the owner of Churapi Achchakam (printing press), C. Kuruthev, in Jaffna 21 September. He was taken to Colombo for an inquiry.

Kuruthev’s brother, the General Manager of the Tamil daily Namathu Eezhanaadu, C. Sivamaharajah, was assassinated at his house in Thellippazhai in August 2006.

Douglas Devananda, had sought to acquire Churapi Achchakam to print Thinamurasu to which Kuruthev had not consented, media circles in Jaffna said.

l Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officials in Palaali High Security Zone (HSZ) have not permitted the school administrators to reopen Vassavi’laan Maththiya Makaa Viththiyaalayam High School, located in Palaali HSZ which was officially handed over Tuesday in an event held in the school.

This was in the presence of Northern Province Governor Major Gen. G. A. Chandrasiri, SLA Jaffna Commander Major Gen. Mahinda Kathurusinghe, Sri Lanka Minister Douglas Devandanda and Education Department officers.

The school administrators who took the furniture and other necessary things from the temporary location of the school on Thursday were sent back and directed to take all the things brought out of the HSZ. The SLA officials told them that the school could only be reopened in 2011, Jaffna Education Department sources said.

The official handing over of the school with much publicity and propaganda by the Sri Lanka government is just another of its duplicity stunts to try and fool the world into thinking that people uprooted from their homes twenty years ago from Valikaamam North by the occupying SLA are now being allowed to resettle in their own places.

The school situated in the Palaali High Security Zone (HSZ) of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) for the last twenty years now functions on a private property in Urumpiraay area since it was forced to displace in 1990 due to the SLA offensives. The roof and the furniture of the school has been plundered during SLA occupation.

Meanwhile the Officer-in-Charge of the Kalmunai Police warned this week that legal action will be taken against Muslim youths who fail to surrender their weapons and continue to engage in unlawful activities.

Kalmunai Police have asked the Muslim youths who underwent military training under the leadership of late Muslim leader M. H. M. Ashraff to surrender their arms to the mosques in Kalmunai immediately to avoid arrest, legal action and imprisonment.

During the second Eelam War that began on 11.06.1990 the government of Sri Lanka gave military training to Muslim youths under the leadership of late M. H. M. Ashraff, founder President of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and provided them with machine guns.

The then government used armed Muslim youths under the name of Home Guards to operate with government armed forces against Tamils. The military trained home guards assisted the Sinhala army in oppressing the Tamils in the districts of Batticaloa and Ampaa’rai.

The home guards in connivance with the Sri Lanka Army carried out attacks on Tamils in the boundary villages of Maiyilanthanai, Punaanai, Thiyavedduvaan, Meeravoadai, Vallaichchenai, Earaavoor, Chaththurukko’ndaan, Araiyampathi, and Chinnavaththai in Batticaloa district and in Veeramunai, Thangkavealaauthapuram, Karavaku, Thiraikkear’ni, Udumpanku’lam in Amparaa’rai district.

Some of the home guards formed the Jihad Movement later. This movement had worked not only against Tamils but also against the Sinhala people.

It is reported that former LTTE cadres who left with Karuna Ammaan in 2004 had sold their weapons at cheap prices to Muslim youths in Oaddumaavadi, Earaavoor and Kaaththaankudi areas.