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TGTE Commends Canada’s Principled Act of Imposing Sanctions on Rajapaksas for Human Rights Abuses

Urged to bring legal action against the state of Sri Lanka before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, January 13, 2023 / -- The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) commends Canada for taking a principled stance in support of justice and human rights by imposing sanctions this week on former Sri Lankan Presidents Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa for their perpetration of gross and systematic violations of human rights during Sri Lanka’s 26-year armed conflict, which ended in 2009.

This action taken by the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, is an important milestone in the process of accountability and a boon to international law and human rights, demonstrating that the long arm of the rule of law reaches all criminals and human rights abusers irrespective of how high the perpetrators stand or once stood. No one is above the law.

The fact that the former presidents, one a former defense secretary, Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake, and Lieutenant Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi have all been held responsible for systematic and human rights violations by the Canadian Foreign Minister demonstrates that the crimes against the Tamils were not committed by one individual or by one battalion. Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Al Hussein states this fact in his 2015 report on Sri Lanka that the crimes committed were “systematic crimes”. 1 Similarly, according to the 2012 report of the Expert Panel on Accountability in Sri Lanka, commissioned by former UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, there is credible evidence that crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed during the final stages of the war. In addition, the Berlin People’s Tribune held that the crime of genocide was committed during the final stages of the conflict. All the above clearly demonstrates that it is the Sri Lankan state itself that committed the heinous crimes against the Tamils.

Given the above, it is the moral obligation of the 163 member states who are parties of The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to bring legal action against the state of Sri Lanka before the International Court of Justice. 1

It is notable that the former Sri Lankan presidents are subjected to sanctions on January 10, the same day that 49 years ago in 1974 a Sri Lankan police officer opened fire on Tamils at the 4 th World Tamil Research Conference in Jaffna and killed 11 civilians. Thus far no one has been brought to justice.

The TGTE also congratulates Mr. Gary Anandasangaree, Member of Parliament Scarborough - Rouge Park, 2 and the Tamil activists and human rights defenders in Canada for their invaluable efforts to meet out justice for the victims.

Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran
Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)
+ 16142023377
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