Friday, March 14, 2008

Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan ambassador dismisses IJC allegation as "blatant falsehood"

At the on-going 7th session of the Human Rights Council held in Geneva, Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka, exercising his right of reply during the interactive debate on the report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture Mr. Manfred Nowak on Tuesday 11th March 2008, said that the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has engaged in a blatant falsehood in claiming that Sri Lanka has refused to let the Working Group visit Sri Lanka. He said that "Sri Lanka has no intention of shutting itself off" and has engaged and cooperated extensively with various UN mechanisms.

He also said that it was curious that Switzerland permits the commemoration of the "Black Tiger Day", which is the day dedicated to the commemoration of Tiger suicide bombers, while calling for universal jurisdiction to be applied to one ex-Tiger terrorist already facing British justice.

Responding to the League for Rights and Liberation of Peoples, he said there was no mention in this entire disquisition on torture of the underground prisons run by the Tamil Tigers who admitted to draining the blood of army captives until they died.

The full transcript of Ambassador Jayatilleka's statement follows:

Thank you, Mr. President.

3 points. Firstly about the working group on disappearances . The representative of Australia suggested, indeed recommended, that Sri Lanka permits this working group to visit, while the representative of the International Commission of Jurists said that Sri Lanka has refused to do so. The truth Mr. President, as will be borne out by Dr. Santiago Corcuera , is that we have an on-going dialogue on the visit of the group. We have certainly not declined or refused. It has been a question of finding the right time. And Sri Lanka, as you know, has co-operated quite extensively with U.N. mechanisms, we have opened ourselves up to scrutiny, we have allowed a number of Special Rapporteur s, representatives, working groups go down to Sri Lanka in the middle of a mid-intensity conflict, and we have absolutely no intention of shutting ourselves off. So, the ICJ has once again engaged in what I might call a blatant falsehood on this issue, Mr President.

The second point is the one raised by Switzerland, to Special Rapporteur Manfred Nowak on the issue of Mr. Karuna, who at the moment is facing British Justice. I believe the question has been raised about universal jurisdiction. Mr. President, I find it rather curious that Switzerland is so concerned about brining this one former Tamil Tiger to justice, when Switzerland permits on its soil, in its cities, in Zurich, in Lausanne, an annual commemoration of Black Tiger day, which is the day dedicated to the commemoration of the Tiger's suicide bombers; the suicide bombers, one of whom assassinated Nehru 's grandson Rajive Ghandi on Indian soil. This same Switzerland displays touching solicitude about brining one, ex-terrorist, to justice.

The final point is the statement of the International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples. I am very sorry to note Mr. President, that in this entire disquisition on torture, there is not one reference to the underground prisons run by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who admitted to the French journal Le Pointe in May 2000, that they drained the blood of Sri Lankan army captives until they died.

Thank you very much.

Source: Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order - Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka