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SLMM tilted balance in favour of Sri Lanka, against LTTE: Gajendrakumar

SLMM tilted balance in favour of Sri Lanka, against LTTE: Gajendrakumar

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Published by: signin243138 on Nov 15, 2011
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1
IMPLEMENTATIONOFTHECEASEFIREAGREEMENTINTRODUCTION
TheConflictintheislandofSriLankaisoneoftheworld’smostprotractedandintractable.TheCeasefireAgreement(CFA)thatwassignedbetweentheLiberationTigersofTamilEelam(LTTE)andtheSriLankangovernmentinFeb2002wasafternearly30yearsofcontinuousarmedconflictexceptforbriefintervalsduringpreviousroundsofnegotiations.ItwashopedtheenteringintotheCFAwouldformthefoundationforaprocessthatwouldleadtofindingalastingnegotiatedsolution.ThefactthatthisAgreementwasfacilitatedbykeywesterncountries,whoweretoalsoplayakeyroleinnotonlymatterspertainingtotheceasefirebutalsothelargernegotiationsprocessbetweentheparties,wasacrucialfactor.ThispaperintendstoanalyzetheCFAanddiscusstheimplementationofthesame.IndoingsothepaperwillfirstbrieflylookatthepoliticalbackgroundinwhichtheCeasefireAgreementwasmootedandsubsequentlysigned.ItwillthenanalyzethekeyArticlesoftheAgreementbeforemakingacritiqueoftheimplementationoftheAgreement.Thefinalsectionofthepaperwillbeabriefconclusionthatdrawsonthekeyfindingsoftheearliersections.ThispaperwilldrawonthepracticalexperienceoftheAuthorasasittingMemberofParliamentfromtheNortheastandasonewhohasbeenengagingwiththevariousinternationalactors.ThepaperwillalsodrawontheAuthor’slegaltraining.
BACKGROUNDTOTHESIGNINGOFTHECEASEFIREAGREEMENT
ThecircumstancesthatledtothesigningoftheCFAareimportant.Sincethepreviousroundofnegotiationsin1994/95,thetwoprotagoniststotheconflicthadbeeninvolvedinahigh-intensitywarthatsurpassedallothers.ThemilitarycampaignoftheStatewasbeingwagedasa“warforpeace”withtheintentionofcausingatotaldefeatoftheLTTE.Bytheyear2000however,thiseffortonthepartoftheStatehadbeguntofalterinanalarmingway.TheterritorythathadbeengainedbytheSriLankanarmedforces,thathadtakenseveralyearstocapture,waslosttotheLTTEwithinaperiodofafewdays.ThemostfortifiedgarrisonoftheSriLankaState,andoneofthemoststrategicallyimportant,theElephantPassCamp,hadbeenover-runbytheLTTE.Further,theState’smainairforcebase,alongwithitsonlyinternationalairportinKatunayake,wasalsosensationallyattackedcausingheavylossesbywayofassets.Asaresult,theinternationalcommunitythathadbackedtheState’s“warforpeace”campaign(militarily,financiallyandpolitically)begantodevelopreservationsofitsmilitarycapacity.ThespectacularmannerinwhichtheLTTEhadregainedterritoryandresistedattemptsbythestate
 
2
armedforcestoadvance,causingseverecasualties,meantthatitsinternationalbackersofrealizedthatthearmedforces’moralehadbeenbroken.Thefightinghadtobestoppediffurthersetbacksforthestateweretobestemmed.Consequently,theinternationalcommunitybegantopushfornegotiations,theresultofwhichwastheappointmentofaSpecialEnvoyoftheNorwegianGovernmenttoexplorethepossibilitiesofcommencingapeaceprocess.TheSpecialEnvoy,Mr.ErikSolheim,subsequentlymetwiththeLTTEleaderandthePresidentofSriLanka,signalingtheformalcommencementofaNorwegianfacilitatedprocess.DespitethesedevelopmentstakingplaceinthebackgroundofthemajormilitaryreversalssufferedbytheSriLankanState,andaunilateralcessationofhostilitiesdeclaredbytheLTTEinDecember2000(thatithadextendedforaperiodoffourmonths)theStatewasstillintentonpursuingitsmilitarysolution.Amajornewmilitaryoffensivecalled“Agnikila”torecapturetheElephantPassCampinordertoregainastrategicadvantageonthemilitaryfront,waslaunched.ThisoperationtooendedupinfailureresultinginheavylossesfortheState.ThislatestmilitarysetbackalongwiththeveryheavytolltheState’smilitaryprojectwashavingontheeconomy(SriLanka’sGDPfigureswereindicatingnegativegrowth)andtheincreasingreluctanceoftheinternationalcommunitytofund,whatwasincreasinglybeginningtobeseenasaunsatisfactoryapproachbythethenGovernment(theSriLanka’sDonor’sGroupdecidedtodeferthereleasingoffundsby6monthsatitsParismeetingin2001),resultedinaregimechangeinColombowiththenewGovernmentofPrimeMinisterRanilWickremasingheobtainingamajorityintheSriLankaParliament.Wickremasinghehadcontestedtheelections,withtheexpresscommitmentinhisparty’selectionmanifesto,tohaveacessationofhostilitieswiththeLTTE,startnegotiations,andtheestablishmentofan“InterimAdministration”fortheNortheast.ItwasforthesereasonsthatWickremasinghewasheavilybackedbytheinternationalcommunityandtheUSAledwestinparticular.Thecumulativeresultofalloftheseeventsmeantthatbytheendof2001ithadbecomeamplyevidentthat,theSriLankanStatewasnotonlyunabletoprosecuteasuccessfulwaragainsttheLTTE,butthatifhostilitieswereallowedtocontinuethedangersoftheStatesufferingevenfurthermilitaryreversalswerefartooreal.Despitetheinternationalcommunity’senthusiasticandunstintedsupportfortheState’smilitarycampaignearlier,seriousdoubtsabouttheabilityoftheStatetoevencontainit,letalonedefeatordecisivelyweakeningtheLTTE,hadbecomeapparent.ItwasinthisbackgroundthatkeymembersoftheinternationalcommunityactivelypushedforthesigningoftheCFA.ForadetailedanalysisofthereasonsforwhytheLTTE,theSriLankanStateandtheinternationalcommunityagreedontheCFA,seechapter2ofthispublication.
 
3
ANALYSISOFTHEARTICLESOFTHECEASEFIREAGREEMENT(CFA)
ThissectionofthepaperwilllookattheArticlesoftheCFAandwillgiveaninterpretationtothem.Itshouldbenotedthattheauthoratalltimeskeepsinmindthepolitico-militaryrealitiesprevalentatthetimeofthesigningoftheCFAandbelievesthatthestrategicbalanceofpowerthathadbeenachievedbetweenthepartieswasimportanttomaintainiftheCFAwastobesustainable.
Preamble
ThePreambleoftheCFAstatesinteraliathat“theoverallobjective[oftheParties]……..istofindanegotiatedsolutiontotheongoingethnicconflictinSriLanka”.ItgoesontostatethattheParties“……recognizetheimportanceofbringinganendtothehostilitiesandimprovingthelivingconditionsforallinhabitantsaffectedbytheconflict.BringinganendtothehostilitiesisalsoseenbythePartiesasameansofestablishingapositiveatmosphereinwhichfurtherstepstowardsnegotiationsonalastingsolutioncanbetaken”.ThePreambleconcludesbystatingthatthePartieswill“…..refrainfromconductthatcouldunderminethegoodintentionsorviolatethespiritofthisAgreementandimplementconfidence-buildingmeasuresasindicatedinthearticlesbelow.”TheaforesaidmakeitclearthattheCFAwastoformthefoundationforapeaceprocessthatthePartieswouldembarkon,inordertofindanegotiatedsolutiontotheconflict.TheCFAproposedtomakethisfoundationthroughtheimplementationoftwomainfeatures,namely,itrecognizedtheneedforbringingabouta(i)cessationofhostilitiesandtheneedto(ii)addressthehumanitariansituationthathadarisenasaresultoftheprotractedconflict.ThewordingandthemannerinwhichthesetwinobjectiveshavebeensetoutintheCFAsuggestthatthepartiesagreedthatboththeseobjectiveswereequallyimportant.Inotherwords,bothhadtobeaddressedinparallel,withneitheroftheobjectivesbeingseenasmoreimportantthantheother.Accordingly,itisthistwinobjectivethatcanbereadasformingthebackboneoftheAgreementthatthePreambleinitsconcludingparagraphrecognizesasthe“spiritofthisAgreement”thatshouldnotbeviolated.
Article1:Modalitiesofaceasefire
Article1isdividedintothreesub-headings,namely,“Militaryoperations”,“Separationofforces”and“Freedomofmovement”.Undereachofthesub-headingsthereareseveralsub-sectionsthatspelloutinconsiderabledetailthemodalitiesthat,whentakenintotal,givepracticaleffecttoacessationofhostilities,whichisoneofthetwinobjectivesoftheCFAasmentionedearlier.

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