I am writing to call on you to recognize the Sri Lankan government’s genocide against the Tamil people and to demand the creation of alternative, parallel criminal justice mechanisms to ensure legal accountability for mass atrocities. There are substantial evidence of the Sri Lankan government’s special intent to commit genocide, as seen through its targeting of Tamils in the Vanni region in 2009 and in Colombo in 1983. During the more recent genocide, with genocidal intent, the Sri Lankan government (1) killed approximately 70,000–140,000 Tamils by shelling; (2) caused serious bodily and/or mental harm to Tamils by shelling, which maimed 25,000–30,000 of them, and through sexual violence; and (3) inflicted conditions to bring about the Tamil people’s physical destruction by limiting necessary supplies and by systematically displacing Tamils. The acts of genocide committed by the Sri Lankan government against the Tamil people in 2009 are detailed here and those in 1983 are outlined here.
A court finding is not necessary for the political recognition of genocide or for your office to refer to genocide allegations in state communications. We urge you to take a strong stance against Sri Lanka’s state-sponsored genocide against the Tamil people by recognizing it as genocide. Eleven years after the Mullivaikkal Massacre of 2009, the Sri Lankan government has taken no steps to deliver criminal justice for atrocity crimes. The present Rajapaksa regime has predictably withdrawn from the transitional justice process outlined in UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1. Importantly, both the previous and present governments have completely refused to pursue investigations and prosecutions of atrocity crimes, especially the involvement of foreign judges, lawyers, and investigators. Such is the consequence of decades of impunity following Black July and the Mullivaikkal Massacre.
I am calling for you to hold Sri Lankan perpetrators and the state accountable through international justice mechanisms. I urge your government to investigate and prosecute Sri Lankan perpetrators under universal jurisdiction laws and to call for a UN Security Council referral of the situation in Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court (ICC). I also hope that your country heeds your Tamil constituency and files a case against Sri Lanka at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for violating international human rights law. Finally, I ask you to release statements concerning Sri Lanka’s human rights record that call for a prompt international investigation into the mass atrocities against the Tamil people, including genocide.