Rapp's track record wanting

Discussion in 'Europe and Russia' started by airpower183, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. airpower183

    airpower183 Regular Member

    Feb 11, 2014
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    The United States' Global war crimes investigator Ambassador Stephen Rapp was in Sri Lanka recently on a fact finding mission in preparation of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) sessions in March.

    A man explores the crater caused by the LTTE bomb at Pettah in 1987. (File photo)

    The UNHRC will scrutinise the final phase of Sri Lanka's battle against LTTE terrorists. The head of the US State Department's Office of Global Criminal Justice proved that he had come to Sri Lanka with pre-assumptions.

    Rapp's intentions were very clear from the day he arrived here and the people whom he selected to find evidence. He dropped a bombshell using the Twitter account of the US Embassy in Sri Lanka with a controversial post in its web portal identifying an area as the location that Sri Lanka's Security Forces had used its firepower to kill thousands of Tamil civilians during the final battle with the LTTE.

    There is no doubt that the controversial statement in the official American Embassy web portal was in fact a declaration that Sri Lanka committed war crimes and genocide. Rapp had used conflicting information to frame Sri Lanka of violating International Humanitarian Laws (IHL) in a report released to the US Congress in October 2009.

    Track record

    What perturbs us is why the West, especially the US, is only worried about the final phase of the battle against terrorism. Rather than talking about only four to five months of the battle, they must actually evaluate the entire three decades of terror unleashed by the LTTE.

    Rapp undertook his official tour in Sri Lanka in search of answers to what happened during those five months. Before talking about the Government's accountability and reconciliation process, it is interesting to have a close look at Rapp's track record.

    Rapp is better known for his own culpability of covering-up Rwanda's 1994 genocide as an attempt to white-wash the United States involvement in that episode as the Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations-appointed International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR).

    The Ugandan army and the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army (RPF) led by Major General Paul Kagame (who is now the President of Rwanda) invaded Rwanda from Uganda in October 1990. These terrorists, who violated all accepted international laws and conventions, committed countless number of war crimes. They were backed by Britain, Belgium, the United States and Israel.

    The RPF completed its coup d'etat and consolidated its power in Rwanda by July 1994. The governments of Rwanda and Burundi were decapitated when the plane carrying the two presidents and top military staff was shot down over Kigali, Rwanda's capital on April 6, 1994.

    Previous assignment

    Soldiers in operations against the LTTE in Mannar. (File photo)

    The well-orchestrated assassinations were major war crimes, and the RPF was largely responsible, but almost every attempt to honestly investigate the double presidential assassinations has been blocked by the US and its allies.

    As the head of the US State Department's Office of Global Criminal Justice in 2012, Rapp's previous assignment as the chief prosecutor of the Rwandan genocide, and many other investigators. He was one of the main persons who was involved in the cover up of US involvement in the Rwandan Genocide.

    The US endeavor in the cover up of its own culpability in the Rwandan genocide, and the role played by Rapp as the Chief Rwanda Prosecutor of the United Nations. As reported in the New York Times, the Obama administration had selected Rapp to replace the Bush administration Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, Pierre Prosper.

    Rapp was acutely aware of the entire Rwandan episode, the US interests in Paul Kagame, the UN concealment of the 1994 report at the behest of the Clinton administration, the US military assistance to Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front and the entire exercise of the 'Rwandan cover up' to conceal the US culpability in the Rwandan genocide.

    Instead of throwing from glass houses, the US and the UK must prove their sincerity and transparency in their allegations against Sri Lanka. Not only the US forces but also their British counterparts too have been accused of war crimes.

    Legal experts the world over have joined calls for an investigation into whether British politicians and senior military figures should be prosecuted for alleged war crimes in Iraq.


    The Independent (UK) reported that an open letter from about a dozen heavyweight figures will increase the pressure on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a formal inquiry into allegations that more than 400 Iraqis were victims of thousands of incidents of mistreatment amounting to "torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

    The Independent disclosed that a 250-page dossier has been submitted to the ICC in The Hague by Public Interest Lawyers and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights. It was published in London on Tuesday.

    Ministers dismissed the need for an investigation, pointing out that the ICC had rejected such a call in 2006. However, the letter from international experts will argue that fewer than 20 cases were known about then and that hundreds of new cases have emerged since.

    Professor of law at Middlesex University William Schabas, who is co-ordinating the letter, said that there is fresh evidence that was not there in 2006. "A lot more has come to light since then. We think the 2006 decision was wrong and we want the (ICC) Prosecutor to look at it through a different lens" he was quoted as saying. He believed there was enough evidence to pass the tests for an ICC inquiry to be launched - that there was systematic rather isolated abuse; the scale of the complaints cleared the "gravity" threshold and that the claims had not been properly investigated by the UK. However, the Government will argue that these criteria have not been met.


    The dossier had identified the head of the British Army General Sir Peter Wall, the former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon and the former Armed Forces Minister, Adam Ingram, who did not respond for requests to comment. The complainants decided to name those responsible for the Britain's strategy in Iraq following the US-led invasion in 2003. But political and defence figures said the ICC was unlikely to hold them responsible for actions "on the ground."

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague had said there was no "systematic" torture by troops and individual cases had either already been dealt with by the British authorities or were the subject of inquiries.

    "There have been some cases of abuse that have been acknowledged and apologies and compensation have been paid appropriately. But the Government has always been clear and the armed forces have been clear that they absolutely reject allegations of systematic abuses by the British armed forces. The British armed forces uphold high standards and they are the

    finest armed forces in the world", he was quoted as saying to Sky News.

    Numerous war crimes

    Lord Goldsmith, who was Attorney General at the time of the invasion, had expressed concerns. But he had said that he never saw evidence of systematic abuse, that he never saw evidence for example - and that is what has surprised him - that any senior politicians or even, for that matter, or even senior military figures were aware, let alone authorised this. "I think it is unfortunate that people who are out of office have these sorts of headlines against them so we'll have to see," had said.

    These are only a few of the numerous war crimes allegations leveled against the US and the British forces. They had no legitimate right to invade other countries. Even if they had got a mandate from the US, they had done that subsequently. What right does the US has to invade Pakistan air space to launch drone attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians including children?

    Yet, these Western countries act as they are the godfathers of human rights and attempt to pontificate us on transparency and accountability. Moreover, they attempt to use the UNHRC as a platform to tame countries which do not dance to their melody.

    US Embassy Spokesperson Juliana A. Spaven had said that the US wouldn't share information gathered by Rapp during his week-long visit to Sri Lanka.


    She was responding to a query by local media whether Colombo based US embassy officials had met those who allegedly witnessed the Security Forces committing battlefield atrocities before Rapp's arrival in Colombo.

    Asked if the US had inquired from eyewitnesses about whether they had furnished information to UNSG Ban Ki moon's Panel of Experts which investigated alleged accountability issues in Sri Lanka, the embassy spokesperson reiterated the mission couldn't characterise those discussions.

    If the US was genuinely interested in an independent and credible investigation it should assist the Government efforts by furnishing whatever information Rapp collected. As Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had pointed out recently, the US shouldn't deprive the Government of an opportunity to verify all available evidence.

    The US had claimed having eyewitness accounts of war crimes close on the heels of accusing the Sri Lankan Army of killing hundreds of families in artillery assault on Iranapalai in January 2009. The US should have confronted with whatever the so-called eyewitness accounts which it claimed to have gathered during Rapp's visit.


    The Defence Secretary had quite rightly pointed out that UN Chief's Panel of Experts too had adopted a similar stance as regards 'war crimes evidence'. It had decided against giving Sri Lanka an opportunity to examine evidence in its hands until 2031.

    Even then, the release of the identities of those who had made allegations would be subject to a further appraisal. 2,300 persons whom the Moon's controversial panel claimed to have made over 4,000 representations couldn't be accepted as victims unless they were ready to identify themselves.

    No government would accept or tolerate such baseless allegations. It is evident that all those Western conspiracies are to have a regime which would dance to their melody. Attempts are being made to overwhelm the government by propagating lies ahead of the forthcoming UNHRC session. The international community and the member countries of the UNHRC must be enlightened on all those conspiracies hatched in the West.

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