Permanent Peoples Tribunal Verdict: Sri Lanka Commits Genocide against Tamils

People of Conscience Must Respond

The fact that a month ago the Permanent People’s Tribunal found Sri Lanka guilty of committing genocide against the Tamil people and so few non-Tamil media has informed us of such is unjust oversight at best. I didn’t find out about this important decision until today (January 4). The western media, including left-wing web sights, has been silent or ignorant of this.

The Rome-based Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) is an outgrowth of the original war crimes tribunal created during the war against Southeast Asia by Bertrand Russell and Jean Paul Sartre.

Its panel of 11 judges, experts in international law, former UN officials, and peace and human rights activists, found Sri Lanka guilty of genocide at its December 7-10, 2013 hearings in Berman, Germany. The unanimous decision was taken after hearing over 30 witnesses, including Tamil victims, and experts.

It also found that the US and UK were guilty of complicity. A decision on whether India, and other states, had also acted in complicity was withheld for lack of time, and pending further examination.

In January 2010, a PPT panel of other international law experts, meeting in Dublin, found Sri Lanka guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. These are the same charges that a United Nations panel of experts later recommended be explored by an independent international investigation.

These are excerpts from PPT news release:

The genocidal coordinated plan of actions reached its climax on May 2009 (upon the defeat of the Tamil armed resistance, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)… The genocidal strategy changed once the perpetrators gained control of the territory. The killings are being transformed into other forms of conduct, but the intention to destroy the group and its identity remains and continues, through causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the Eelam Tamil group.

The Tribunal considers that the proofs established, beyond any reasonable doubt that the following acts were committed by the Government of Sri Lanka.

(a) Killing members of the group, which includes massacres, indiscriminate shelling, the strategy of herding civilians into so?called “No Fire Zones” for the purpose of massive killings, targeted assassinations of outspoken Eelam Tamil civil leaders who were capable of articulating the Sri Lankan genocide project to the outside world.

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, including acts of torture, inhumane or degrading treatment, sexual violence including rape, interrogations combined with beatings, threats of death, and harm that damages health or causes disfigurement or injury.

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, including: expulsions of the victims from their homes; seizures of private lands; declaring vast areas as military High Security Zone (HSZ) to facilitate the military acquisition of Tamil land.

Further, the Tribunal considered evidence related to:

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group including forced sterilization and coerced contraception of Eelam Tamil women. Further investigation is required on the extent of this practice in other regions before a determination is made on whether these could be considered genocidal acts.

The UK and USA guilt of complicity in the crime of genocide, includes:

– complicity by procuring means, such as weapons, instruments or any other means, used to commit genocide, with the accomplice knowing that such means would be used for such a purpose;

– complicity by knowingly aiding or abetting a perpetrator of a genocide in the planning or enabling acts thereof;

The PPT decision is most important not only for Tamils but also for left-oriented individuals, groups, political parties and governments. There can be no denial by leftists and progressive governments of the credentials of the Permanent People’s Tribunal. And as the PPT decision includes the governments of the US and UK as accomplices makes it ridiculous for those progressive governments to claim that those powers are critics or opponents of genocidal Sri Lanka. All that is lacking is for the next PPT session to amend the tally of other state accomplices to genocide, which should contain the names of India, as proposed, as well as Israel, China, Pakistan, Iran, at the very least, and perhaps Australia and other states. 

I highly recommend that leftist-progressive organizations and websites, and especially solidarity groups with Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua (ALBA countries make these governments aware that they need to return to their original principle as internationalists who support the oppressed everywhere on earth, and cease supporting unquestionably the genocidal government of Sri Lanka.

Ron Ridenour is an anti-war activist and author of 12 books. His latest is The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert, Punto Press. Read other articles by Ron, or visit Ron's website.