Tamil teams ask Ottawa to carry Sri Lanka officers to international courts


Tamil diaspora teams are praising Ottawa’s sanctions on Sri Lanka officers, whereas asking Canada to carry that nation to worldwide tribunals.

“The Tamil diaspora has been calling for a brand new Nuremberg-like tribunal to prosecute the management of presidency of Sri Lanka,” Vel Velautahpillai, a board member with the Federation of International Tamil Organizations, stated Monday on Parliament Hill.

Ottawa sanctioned 4 high-ranking officers earlier this month for alleged human-rights breaches throughout Sri Lanka’s bloody, 26-year civil struggle with Tamil separatists.

The asset and journey ban included Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his older brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, who’re each former presidents.

The pair oversaw the victory of Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese inhabitants over Tamil teams, which got here after widespread bloodshed and massacres.

Gotabaya briefly fled his nation final summer season after mass protests over residing prices, whereas Mahinda resigned from his publish as prime minister final spring.

In response to the sanctions, the Sri Lanka authorities summoned Canada’s envoy over the transfer, accusing Ottawa of caving to Tamil diaspora politics.

Sri Lanka’s International Minister Ali Sabry referred to as the transfer arbitrary and dangerous to each relations with Canada and to his nation’s reconciliation course of.

However Tamil teams say Ottawa has set an instance for different international locations, and they’re asking the Liberals to begin a course of to carry senior officers to the Worldwide Legal Courtover alleged crimes towards humanity.

In addition they need Canada to carry Sri Lanka earlier than the Worldwide Court docket of Justice, which handles disputes between international locations. Velautahpillai stated his group made that request to International Affairs Minister Melanie Joly practically three weeks in the past.

The U.S. has beforehand sanctioned senior Sri Lanka officers, however Human Rights Watch says Canada is the one nation to record the Rajapaksa brothers.

Velautahpillai’s federation, which largely consists of grassroots teams in Canada and the US, is asking on G7 international locations to observe swimsuit.

He stated the group isn’t conscious of any Canadian property held by the Rajapaksa brothers or the 2 navy officers Canada additionally sanctioned final month.

They’re Sunil Ratnayake, whom a courtroom sentenced to dying for his position in a 2020 bloodbath of Tamils however who was later pardoned, and navy commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi, who has been accused of abducting civilians who had been later killed.

Washington sanctioned each officers in 2021, however has not introduced related motion towards the Rajapaksa brothers. The Trump administration additionally sanctioned Sri Lankan military chief Shavendra Silva in 2020, however Canada didn’t observe swimsuit.

The Federation of International Tamil Organizations argues that Sri Lanka has dedicated a genocide and must be held to account.

Final Might, MPs handed a movement to create a day to acknowledge the genocide of Tamil individuals in Sri Lanka yearly. Cupboard ministers supported the movement, however the Liberal authorities has steered away from formally accusing the nation of genocide.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Jan. 30, 2023.