Malaysiakini News

'We must hold Rajapaksa responsible for war crimes and genocide'

Kasthuri Patto  |  Published:  |  Modified:

MP SPEAKS Malaysia must make its membership in the UN Security Council worthwhile by lobbying to pass a resolution to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes of aggression, genocide and crimes against humanity on the bloody massacre of more than 200,000 Tamil Hindu, Christian and Muslim Sri Lankans by the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.

Recently, Malaysians displayed their utter anger, disgust and disapproval at the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), held in Kuala Lumpur, for inviting the undisputed war criminal Rajapaksa, the former Sri Lanka president, and against the government, particularly Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, to have welcomed Rajapaksa with open arms.

This is in spite of the mass massacres and blatant disregard for human rights of the people of Sri Lanka in the bloody 30-year civil war, orchestrated in the later stages by Rajapaksa’s regime.

His hands are still fresh with the blood of innocent, murdered Sri Lankans and yet he is still walking free among the international community, without a thread of conscience or guilt. As both Malaysia and Sri Lanka have not signed and ratified the Rome Statute to bring any country to the International Criminal Court, how else can Sri Lanka be made accountable for its numerous war crimes?

How can Malaysia, as a nation, as a people and as a government, hold a nation or a government accountable on war crimes, genocide and ethnic cleansing?

Malaysia's priorities in UNSC

After a 15-year absence, Malaysia has returned to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), as a non-permanent member, representing the Asia-Pacific region from 2014 to 2016. Malaysia's priorities include strengthening UN’s peacekeeping operations, peace-building, mediation, promoting the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) and reforming the UNSC.

However, Malaysia's membership in the UNSC is coming to an end in less than four months and this is a golden opportunity for Najib's administration to redeem itself, after being grossly insensitive to welcome a Sri Lankan war criminal in Malaysia.

Currently China, France, the Russian Federation, the UK and the US are permanent members of the UNSC, whereas Malaysia is among the 10 non-permanent member nations, together with Angola, Egypt, Japan, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.

As such, Malaysia, as a non-permanent member, must effectively use this platform to lobby to refer the Sri Lanka regime to the International Criminal Court to be investigated for atrocities during the civil war.

The four international crimes are genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression under the Rome Statute, all of which have been executed successfully by Rajapaksa when he was president of Sri Lanka and by the former presidents as well.

The Security Council’s powers under the UN Charter are the legal basis upon which the International Criminal Court can investigate such crimes, without requiring any consent from the states involved.

As a responsible member of the international community, the only way for Malaysia to fix past mistakes, regain respect and restore confidence in the eyes of the global community, after constantly being humiliated and ridiculed over the mammoth 1MDB scandal, is to stand firm against any form of extremism and genocide by war criminals, starting with Rajapaksa, putting aside any monetary gains from bilateral ties between the two countries.

Najib, as the prime minister, must uphold his word and not lose his moral compass on being a champion of moderation. He must reject all forms of extremism by using Malaysia's position as a non-permanent member in the UNSC to lobby for Sri Lanka to be referred to the International Criminal Court to be investigated for war crimes.

KASTHURI PATTO is the Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan and DAP Wanita publicity secretary.

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