No country should be immune from war crimes prosecutions, including Sri Lanka

Just what the world needs; another corporate journalist defending Sri Lankan war crimes and condemning Westerners (and many Tamils, but who cares about them?) for daring to demand accountability for the Rajapaksa junta.

Welcome to the hall of infamy, UK Daily Telegraph Diplomatic Editor Praveen Swami. Sadly, you’ve swallowed the “war on terror” mantra completely, believing that developing nations shouldn’t be held to standards of decency or human rights. And if war crimes were committed in Sri Lanka, best to ignore them and move forward. Dream on:

There’s plenty of compelling evidence, of course, that Sri Lankan soldiers also engaged in horrific acts of violence. Nor do I dispute that Mr Rajapaksa has on occasion acted in an authoritarian, even despotic, manner – though I cannot think of many nations at war which have behaved differently. I’m not questioning, either, that the chauvinism of the Sri Lankan state played a considerable role in engendering the crisis: more than 3,000 people were estimated to have been killed in an anti-Tamil pogrom in 1983.

But it is my belief that, as the crisis unfolded, Sri Lanka was left with few choices.… Velupillai Prabhakaran, the LTTE’s supremo, was a military genius who succeeded in transmuting Tamil resentments into guns and bombs. He was also, as the eminent Indian journalist N Ram has pointed out, a Tamil Pol Pot. Mr Prabhakaran systematically eliminated leaders who believed a negotiated, democratic settlement was possible – among them, Laxman Kadirgamar, in whose memory Dr Fox was to deliver his lecture in Colombo, and Neelan Thiruchelvam.

Like so many, Mr Ram wrote, he initially believed Prabhakaran wanted to “shape a future for his people based on equality, democratic and human rights.”… But, Mr Ram went on, the LTTE … instead “did everything conceivable to make the peace process falter and fail.”

Put simply, Sri Lanka used all force at its disposal, legitimate and illegitimate, to crush a nightmarish movement – which brings us back to the Dresden question.

That war-scarred nation [Sri Lanka] needs help rebuilding democracy, not insults.

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