It’s accountability, stupid

Vishnuguptha | Published on April 28, 2012 at 1:20 am

“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable” – Moliere

Many legal luminaries and political pundits have had their voice. Many politicians have added their two cents’ worth also into the mix. Yet the US-backed resolution at the UNHRC in Geneva is now already a fait accompli after its successful passage, exposing the utter amateurishness of attempts made by the Sri Lankan delegation led by politicians within the complex and sophisticated world of international diplomacy.

Imperialist ploy

Chandrika Kumaratunge

Attempts are being made to gloss over the Geneva Resolution as an “imperialist” ploy to curb the “massive” economic development program undertaken by the Rajapaksa regime. While the prices of all food items except perhaps vegetables and that too at the expense of the grower community, are skyrocketing, the regime looks hell-bent on throwing the “patriotism” bait to the masses. It is being marketed through government Ministers and other politicians, University dons, ultra-nationalist NGOs, regime-controlled media outlets and of course, the likes of Champaka Ranawaka, Wimal Weerawansa and Mervyn Silva.

“Arguments for human rights can never be foreclosed”, the late Lalith Athulathmudali once said in the midst of the failed impeachment motion process against the then

Teenage girl Krishanthi Kumaraswamy was gang raped and killed by soldiers in Kaithady on August 7, 1996mber 1996

President R Premadasa. Violation of human rights happens almost every day in every corner of the globe. Whether the violations are committed under dictatorships or democratic rule, what sets a decent government apart from those that are repressive and autocratic, is whether the rule of law is applied and those who are alleged to have committed the crimes have been made accountable. Arguments that are presented in and out of the realm of legal sphere are many and diverse, yet one does not run short of them as for all that is existent in the universe, there is nothing more valuable and precious than human values and human rights. All religious leaders and philosophers agree upon this; all saints and gurus preached it and all leaders of men from time immemorial have made breathtaking orations about it.

The Geneva saga can be described in many ways and it will be a sociologist’s nightmare to analyze and dissect the pre-convention drama, the actual voting pattern and the post-event developments both inside and outside Sri Lanka without arriving at the wrong conclusions.


Accountability is the barometer of a decent government. It is not just a cliché born of the Western democracies and nor is it a creation of the phrase-savvy media personnel. It sets apart the bad ones from the decent ones; it tells one about how civilized the government apparatus is when confronted with allegations of corruption and state-sponsored cruelty against man.

Pledge to be accountable

From the days of Hammurabi’s code of laws up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, man has pledged allegiance to upholding the rule of law followed by accountability. The States that have signed this Universal

President Rajapakse addresses the UN 2011

Declaration of Human Rights have, if not a legal obligation, at least a moral commitment to meeting the requirements and other conditions spelt out in the Declaration. It does not cost our sovereignty to abide by these rules and by-laws of the organization that we have pledged allegiance to. If we think that it affects our sovereignty, then we should get out of the organization. The phony argument of subordination of our country’s sovereignty, if one is asked to explain certain matters that are alleged to have taken place under war conditions, must be rejected, not so much as an intellectually-conscious people, but merely as part of commonsense.

Excruciating theories of the so-called pundits and experts 

When one misses the obvious, it is invariably the excruciating theories of the so-called pundits and experts that confuse the issues, the result being a sad misread of the actual reality of the political dynamics of the involved nations and states. A classic example of this comical drama was what happened in Geneva last month. When the countries that sponsored and supported the Geneva Resolution against Sri Lanka, sent top-class technocrats who were well-versed in global diplomacy and geopolitical dynamics as their emissaries, Sri Lankan regime chose to send a bunch of cronies led by two politicos who, in the first place, did not have one common agenda and a clear objective. They were competing for the local votes by way of issuing mutually-exclusive press statements. They could not even agree as to who the head of the delegation was.

Furthermore, the only diplomat who had valuable experience, and could have brought about a very successful endgame in these matters, and stationed in the very arena where this drama was played, was deliberately kept out of the entire process. Furthermore, now there seems to be a plot under way to discredit this diplomat with insubstantial evidence and innuendo thrown in for some flimsy charges of misconduct. How more imprudent and short-sighted can a government be?

Well, that was the mechanics of how badly and incompetently the whole episode was (mis)tackled by the Rajapaksa regime.

Policy aspect

Let us look at the policy aspect. This is where the regime’s dishonesty and lack of political integrity comes to play. The regime consists of many diverse groups, some holding very chauvinistic ideological beliefs based on fundamentalist Mahawansa mindset. While these groups, the Champikas, Wimals and Ratanas keep beating their nationalist drums, the regime-head Mahinda Rajapaksa continues to rile up the people with his triumphalistic rhetoric.

There are ample examples, not only outside Sri Lanka, but even within our own borders, of past leaders displaying accountability in circumstances which were inherently adverse to the very existence of their being in power. Premawathi Manamperi case in the 1971 April Insurrection, is one solid case, handled by the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government, that the present regime should take note of. Another is the Krishanthi Kumaraswamy case under Chandrika Kumaratunga. However, they seem to be blissfully ignorant not only of the principles that are involved in such accountability, but also the subsequent political advantage that accrues from the global community solely due to them being so transparent in governance.

This idiotic response of the present regime regarding the Geneva Resolution contains within itself the glaring inaptitude of our delegation, obviously under the strictest of instructions from the regime. It not only failed to understand the words and phrases contained in the Resolution, but fell short of assimilating the very spirit of the resolution. The spirit of the resolution is simply accountability, which the Sri Lankan regime has time after time shown all but scant respect for.

So Geneva Resolution- pundits, politicians and paragons of patriotism……

It’s accountability, stupid.




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President Rajapakse addresses the UN 2011

It’s accountability, stupid

“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable” – Moliere Many legal luminaries and political pundits ...