Sunday, 04 October 2015
Home Tamil Affairs International Affairs Editorial Opinion Feature Culture & Community Interviews
Latest Entries:
US war crimes experts visit Sri Lanka
Tamil Guardian 30 June 2010 Print ArticleE-mail ArticleFeedback On Article

Samantha Power, Director of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the National Security Council in the Obama administration, David Pressman, Director for war crimes atrocities and civilian protection of the US National Security Council, and Ms. Patricia A Butenis, Ambassador of the US in Sri Lanka, met with Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse on June 15.


Dr. Power won a Pulitzer for "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," her book about America's response to genocide. In the book she argues that American foreign policy in this area has failed; we promised "never again" after the Holocaust but wilfully ignored genocides in Cambodia, Iraq, Bosnia, and Rwanda. She was a key player in starting the Save Darfur movement.


Dr. Power, an academic with expertise in genocide, has been conspicuously silent until now on foreign policy matters. Observers attribute the silence to her marriage and the onset of pregnancy during the critical period when mass slaughter is alleged to have taken place in Sri Lanka in early 2009.


However, a spokesperson for the US-based activist group Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) told TamilNet last month, “the visit of Samantha Power and Mr Pressman to Sri Lanka amidst increasing calls by international community for war crimes investigations in Sri Lanka is very significant.”


Dr. Power has been an outspoken critic of the western institutions and the past US Governments for inaction and empty rhetoric against rights violations and crimes amounting to genocide, crimes very similar to what Sri Lanka has allegedly committed against Tamil civilians, TAG said.


“Unlike politically motivated visits taken by UN Officials, this visit [by Dr. Power] should be seen as a serious development inside the US administration on its internal war-crimes investigations. Also, Tamil expatriates are waiting to see if Power lives by her words in Problem from Hell, or has herself succumbed to the force of political expediency.”


Dr. Power’s book, titled "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide” was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction, and the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Ross Prize for the best book in U.S. foreign policy.


The US Embassy in Colombo issued a short statement, titled “Senior White House Officials Visiting Sri Lanka.” It stated:


“Two senior foreign policy advisors to President Obama are visiting Sri Lanka from June 14-18. Samantha Power, Special Assistant to the President on Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights and David Pressman, National Security Council Director for War Crimes and Atrocities, will meet with senior government officials and members of civil society in Colombo, Jaffna, and Batticaloa. The visit aims to continue last month’s productive dialogue between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, in which both leaders discussed Sri Lanka’s path through economic renewal, accountability, and reconciliation to greater peace, prosperity, and a stronger partnership with the United States.”


President Rajapakse’s office meanwhile claimed of the US officials meeting: “The meeting was cordial and friendly and both sides discussed matters of mutual interest.”

Share on Facebook Print ArticlePrint Article E-mail ArticleE-mail Article Feedback On ArticleFeedback On Article
  Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 03 October 2015
‘I saved Rajapaksa from the electric chair’ claims Ranil

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed to have saved former president Mahinda Rajapaksa from going to the electric chair and averted an international probe into violations of international humanitarian law. [more]

Tamil Guardian 03 October 2015
Continued threats of landgrab in Kilinochchi

The Sri Lankan army's landgrab efforts in a Kilinochchi village have been frustrated by fierce protest by landowners and locals.

Over 20 acres of privately owned land in Paramankirai have reportedly been spared from appropriation, [more]

Tamil Guardian 03 October 2015
It is 'incumbent on Sri Lankan government to implement resolution’ says TNA

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) called on the Sri Lankan government to implement a UN resolution “in a spirit of honesty and cooperation,” in a statement to welcome its passage at the Human Rights Council last week. [more]

Tamil Guardian 03 October 2015
‘No questions asked’ on Swiss cash transfers promises Sri Lankan finance minister

Sri Lanka’s finance minister pledged that “there will be no questions asked” on undeclared funds kept in Swiss bank accounts, as he appealed to Sri Lankan citizens to transfer cash back into the country. [more]

Tamil Guardian 03 October 2015
USTPAC joins ‘continuous and unequivocal calls for a strong international role’ in Sri Lanka

The United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) said it “joins in victims’ continuous and unequivocal calls for a strong international role in all transitional justice mechanisms” in Sri Lanka, [more]

Tamil Guardian 03 October 2015
PEARL urges 'maximum international involvement' in accountability mechanism

The resolution on Sri Lanka, passed at the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, "falls short" of ensuring the international justice mechanism long demanded by Tamils, the advocacy group PEARL said in a press release on Friday. [more]

Tamil Guardian 02 October 2015
International component crucial for credible accountability in Sri Lanka - Amnesty
Highlighting that international judges, defence lawyers, prosecutors and investigators were crucial for a credible accountability process, Amnesty International welcomed the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka as an “opportunity” for justice if “the resolution and underlying commitments of Sri Lanka’s government are implemented in good faith, [more]

Tamil Guardian 02 October 2015
International scrutiny will be central in what happens next - Callum Macrae
Writing for Channel 4 news, the No Fire Zone documentary director, Callum Macrae, said that victims and human rights organisations will expect to see real measurable progress in Sri Lanka on the implementation of the UNHRC resolution. [more]

Print Editions


Contact Tamil Guardian