From R2P to RANP: Sri Lanka and ‘Responsibility After Not Protecting’
HENRIETTA BRISCOE, FEB 7 2014
The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine sets out a three !old responsibility" First, states ha#e a pri$ary responsibility to protect their populations !ro$ %enocide, &ar cri$es, cri$es a%ainst hu$anity and ethnic cleansin%" 'econd, the international co$$unity has a responsibility to assist states so that they can !ul!il their R2P" Third, i! the state in (uestion )$ani!estly !ails* to !ul!il its R2P then the international co$$unity has a responsibility to act in a +ti$ely and decisi#e $anner, on a +case by case basis,"-1. But &hat happens &hen both the host state and the international co$$unity !ail to !ul!il their obli%ations under the doctrine o! R2P/ 0 ar%ue that the international responsibilities under R2P sur#i#e a!ter $ass atrocities ha#e been co$$itted and a!ter a !ailure o! pre#ention and protection" 0 ar%ue that inherent to R2P is )R12P* 3 Responsibility 1!ter 2ot Protectin% 3 and 0 e$ploy the e4a$ple o! 'ri 5an6a to de$onstrate the #alue o! this concept" Sri Lanka: Placing the Conflict in Context For so$e 27 years, 'ri 5an6a &as ra#a%ed by ci#il &ar"-2. Follo&in% independence in 1849, tensions $ounted bet&een the Buddhist 'inhala $a:ority and the island*s $inority Ta$il co$$unity" Fro$ 18;7 successi#e %o#ern$ents had ca$pai%ned on a 'inhala nationalist plat!or$" <hat &as an electoral de$ocracy at ti$e o! 0ndependence beca$e the )tyranny o! the $a:ority*"-=. <ith the !ailure o! social $echanis$s to hear and address %rie#ances, #iolence erupted" The 5iberation Ti%ers o! Ta$il Eela$ (5TTE) e$er%ed as the sel! declared representati#es o! the Ta$il people" The con!lict intensi!ied" 1ll atte$pts at resolution !ailed, $ost notably the 2or&e%ian bro6ered peace process (2002 3 2007)"-4. >n 2o#e$ber 18, 200;, ?ahinda Ra:apa6sa &as s&orn in as President to the 'ri 5an6an Freedo$ Party @o#ern$ent, it &as a narro& #ictory !ou%ht on the pro$ise o! reassertin% state so#erei%nty on the international sta%e and, on the do$estic !ront, endin% the ci#il &ar" Ander Ra:apa6sa*s presidency the !orces o! the 5TTE &ere dealt &ith illiberally"
President Ra:apa6sa celebrated the destruction o! the 5TTE, triu$phal, in ?ay o! 2008" The Failure of R2P in Sri Lanka <ith the e4ception o! 'ri 5an6an state denials, there is no& near !ull acceptance that 'ri 5an6a &as responsible !or the co$$ission o! atrocities particularly in the !inal $onths o! the &ar" The A2 Panel o! E4perts report !ro$ ?arch 2012 puts the ci#ilian death toll at a $ini$u$ o! 40,000"-;. The 2o#e$ber 2012 0nternal Re#ie& Panel Report, the )Petrie* report, re!erences )credible reports* that ci#ilian casualties &ere as $any as 70,000"-7. The 0nternational Bo$$unity has reco%niCed its o&n !ailures in 2008D the Petrie report detailed both the e4tent o! 6no&led%e o! the cri$es perpetrated by the 'ri 5an6an state a%ainst its citiCens and the lac6 o! international action in the !ace o! such 6no&led%e" 0t &as not a &ar &ithout &itness, but a &ar &here a decision &as $ade not to bear &itness" ?ore recently, ?adeleine E" 1lbri%ht and Richard '" <illia$son, in their capacity as co chairs o! the <or6in% %roup on the R2P, obser#ed, +Tens o! thousands o! Ta$il ci#ilians died at the end o! the 'ri 5an6an ci#il &ar &ith little inter national outcry or e!!ecti#e A2 response,"-7. 'ri 5an6a is thus an e4a$ple o! R2P +double $ani!est !ailure,D a !ailure to protect on the part o! both the state and the international co$$unity"-9. Bountless reports attest to the #ast hu$an ri%hts abuses that ha#e been co$$itted in the island since 2008" The A2 Fu$an Ri%hts Bouncil (FRB) has t&ice passed resolutions on 'ri 5an6a in 201= and 2012 e4pressin% concern at the hu$an ri%hts #iolations, at “en!orced disappearances, e4tra:udicial 6illin%s, torture and #iolations o! the ri%hts to !reedo$ o! e4pression, association and peace!ul asse$bly, as &ell as inti$idation o! and reprisals a%ainst hu$an ri%hts de!enders, $e$bers o! ci#il society and :ournalists, threats to :udicial independence and the rule o! la&, and discri$ination on the basis o! reli%ion or belie!,"-8. The Bouncil ur%ed 'ri 5an6a to brin% itsel! to account" Gespite the o#er&hel$in% e#idence o! 'ri 5an6an state responsibility !or cri$es a%ainst 0nternational Fu$anitarian and Fu$an Ri%hts 5a&, atte$pts to brin% the 'ri 5an6an state and its o!!icials to account are !rustrated on $ultiple le#els" Go$estically
the state is neither &illin% nor able to pro#ide :ustice" The A2 >!!ice o! the Fi%h Bo$$issioner !or Fu$an Ri%hts released a da$nin% report on the do$estic )5essons 5earnt and Reconciliation Bo$$ission* and the )2ational 1ction Plan*"-10. 'ince the 'ri 5an6an state re!uses to concede that there &ere any ci#ilian deaths in the !inal phase o! the con!lict, sa#e $ini$al collateral da$a%e, the !indin%s o! the report co$e as no surprise" Further$ore there is no independent :udiciary in 'ri 5an6a"-11. >n the international sta%e, 'ri 5an6a is not a state party to the Ro$e 'tatute and thus the 0nternational Bri$inal Bourt cannot e4ercise :urisdiction, at least not &ithout a 'ecurity Bouncil re!erral"-12. Today*s abuses in 'ri 5an6a are a continuation o! past cri$es and policies" 1 potent blend o! i$punity and triu$phalis$ be%ets yet $ore Ta$il su!!erin%" 1lthou%h the international co$$unity has re!lected upon its o&n !ailures, it is in dan%er o! !ilin% a&ay that !ailure, o! consi%nin% it to the past as thou%h the ti$e !or R2P action is o#er" But the #iolence has not stopped" The citiCens o! 'ri 5an6a continue to be !ailed, nationally and internationally, in part because R2P is understood and e$ployed too narro&ly" Responsibility After Not Protecting !RANP"# The a#ailable $easures to )protect* and )pre#ent* under the R2P are $any and #aried" -1=. The pro#ision o! :ustice is part and parcel o! the international co$$unity*s responsibilities under R2P" ?adeleine E" 1lbri%ht and Richard '" <illia$son, in their co authored report, pre#iously $entioned, reco%nise the pre e$inent i$portance o! pre#ention &ithin the R2P and the si%ni!icance o! :ustice and accountability !or pre#ention"-14.The i$perati#e to pro#ide :ustice is ar%uably $ade all the $ore pressin% a!ter a de$onstrable !ailure o! R2P, as is the case in 'ri 5an6a, &here the state (ha#in% perpetrated cri$es a%ainst the Ta$il people durin% the con!lict, in contra#ention o! international hu$anitarian la&), is no&, in the space enabled by i$punity, co$$ittin% %ra#e hu$an ri%hts #iolations predo$inantly a%ainst the sa$e body o! people" Fo&e#er, despite the scope and breadth o! the concept in theory, R2P has beco$e increasin%ly associated &ith $ilitary inter#ention at the cli$a4 o! a crisis" Thus 5ibya is held up as an R2P successH 'yria, a current !ailureH 'ri 5an6a, a past !ailure" To re en%a%e the less 6inetic aspects o! the R2P, and $a4i$ise the concept*s potential utility, 0 ar%ue that there is roo$ !or and need o! another ne& acrony$, na$ely )R12P*D Responsibility 1!ter 2ot Protectin%"-1;. R12P is a concept !or%ed entirely !ro$ &ithin R2P" 1s such, it is not a ne& creation" But it is in need o! its o&n title in order to i$press that R2P is as ali#e and pertinent
a!ter a !ailure, a!ter a $ass atrocity, as it is at the point o! co$$ission o! that atrocity" R12P de$ands that the international co$$unity re$ains !ully en%a%ed 3 and in di#erse &ays and places 3 in the a!ter$ath o! a crisis, in the understandin% that the obli%ations o! the R2P*s third pillar still hold" 0n the case o! 'ri 5an6a, the lac6 o! any $eanin%!ul la&!ul accountability !or cri$es, the syste$atic cruelty o! the )rehabilitation* pro%ra$$e o! !or$er $e$bers o! the 5TTE,-17. the !lood o! asylu$ boats laden &ith their desperate car%o,-17. all are e4a$ples testi!yin% to the !ailure o! R2P today, post )con!lict* 3 that is, a !ailure o! R12P" R2P*s utility has been su!!ocated by a too narro& te$poral interpretation o! its reach, but also by a restricti#e spatial understandin%" 1lthou%h conceptually the there and here are bound in R2P 3 since the do$estic is $ade the concern o! the international 3 in ter$s o! action the distinction bet&een the here and the therere$ains hea#ily dra&n" That is, the site o! action under R2P is lar%ely concei#ed as bein% &ithin the borders o! the R2P )host* state, o#er there &here the crisis is un!oldin%. But 'ri 5an6an state #iolence post 2008 !ir$ly e4ceeds the boundaries o! stateH the %o#ern$ent o! 'ri 5an6a conducts sur#eillance on Ta$il diaspora %roups, and treats that diaspora as inherently dan%erous"-19. 1nd it is only outside o! 'ri 5an6a that sur#i#ors can spea6 out. 0n the absence o! political consensus a$on% the $e$bers o! the A2 'ecurity Bouncil on the situation in 'ri 5an6a, indi#idual $e$ber states can ne#ertheless, in the interi$, at least $eet so$e o! their responsibilities under R2P, here at ho$e" So$e Aspects of RANP R12P there!ore de$ands action alon% the !ull %a$ut o! the R2P toolbo4 both after a !ailure and in di#erse sites, here and there" 'o$e tentati#e su%%estions !or the shape that that action could ta6e and that are pertinent to the current situation in 'ri 5an6a include honourin% the ri%ht to political asylu$, pursuin% do$estic suits, and the concerted application o! diplo$atic pressures" 1" Fonourin% the ri%ht to political asylu$D 1sylu$ is one area decidedly &ithin the control o! indi#idual $e$ber states o! the A2" 'tates can protect the #icti$s o! 'ri 5an6an state cri$es, on their o&n territories, but on so $any occasions are !ailin% to do so, ce$entin% !ailure &ith !ailure"-18. 1s part o! their responsibilities under R12P, states ou%ht to not only $eet their international obli%ations 3 such as the ri%ht to political asylu$ 3 but ou%ht to e4ceed the$" This could be done by, !or e4a$ple, proacti#ely see6in% out and protectin% &itnesses o! international hu$anitarian and hu$an ri%hts cri$es, &ith an eye to preser#in% e#idence, not only in support o! hoped !or !uture international prosecutions, but also !or do$estic proceedin%s" To do so
re(uires a !ra$e&or6, one that co$pels a thorou%h understandin% o! international responsibilities and o! a country situation, &ith the political appetite to act 3 R12P" 2" 5iti%ationD The i$pedi$ents to brin%in% 'ri 5an6a to account ha#e already been listed" But it is not enou%h to turn to A2 bodies !or :ustice and then turn a&ay as the A2 stu$bles, &aitin% until the political situation is a$enable, and in the $eanti$e relin(uishin% all indi#idual state responsibility in the prosecution o! cri$es" 0ndeed so$e cri$es, includin% %enocide, &ar cri$es and cri$es a%ainst hu$anity, are considered so heinous that e#ery state has a le%iti$ate interest in their repression 3 such is the rationale o! the principle o! uni#ersal :urisdiction" Thus, si$ultaneously to pushin% !or an 0nternational 0ndependent 0n#esti%ation throu%h the A2 Fu$an Ri%hts Bouncil, &e ou%ht in the $eanti$e here in the AE and else&here, as part o! our responsibilities (R2P and R12P), seiCe upon our do$estic uni#ersal :urisdiction pro#isions as a #ehicle by &hich to brin% so$e, albeit li$ited, accountability"-20. =" Giplo$acyD Giplo$atically, $uch $ore can be done, and the $o$entu$ to&ards an international independent in(uiry into the conduct o! the 'ri 5an6an %o#ern$ent in the ci#il &ar, spurred !or&ards by Ga#id Ba$eron*s &ords a!ter the Bo$$on&ealth Feads o! @o#ern$ent ?eetin% held in Bolo$bo 2o#e$ber 201=, $ust be capitalised and built upon"-21. That Bolo$bo did host the $eetin% is ho&e#er a sad indict$ent o! the Bo$$on&ealth" 1bo#e all, concerted en%a%e$ent $ust start &ith ri%orous analysis" 0n the re#ie&s o! 'ri 5an6a*s record at the Fu$an Ri%hts Bouncil, there &as a &orryin% tendency a$on% states party, to be% !or )ti$e* on 'ri 5an6a*s behal!D ti$e to transition !ro$ &ar to peace"-22. 'uch pleas represent a !unda$ental $isreadin% o! the nature o! the 'ri 5an6an state, o! the state*s intentions and conduct in the ci#il &ar, and since ?ay 2008" The calls !or ti$e and patience, the in#ocation o! $iti%atin% circu$stances 3 lar%ely that o! terroris$ 3 are also re!lecti#e o! a propensity to attribute hu$an ri%hts !ailin%s to the inade(uacies o! %o#ern$ent institutions and to e4traordinary conditions" 0nternational support and %uidance besto&ed upon the o!!endin% state are o!!ered as the sal#e to such !ailin%s and e4cesses" But !ailure to )protect*, in &ar and peace, can also be intentional" @i#in% $ore ti$e to a state that has intentionally co$$itted atrocities a%ainst its o&n populace is deeply proble$atic" <ithout a ri%orous case by case analysis, set in historical conte4t, and &ithout the international co$$unity re$ainin% ali#e to its endurin% responsibilities, the true nature o! the state is all too easily obscured, and !ailin%s are understood, as they too o!ten are in the case o! 'ri 5an6a, reducti#ely, as the product and proo! o! the inade(uacies o! ill !or$ed institutions that ha#e been corrupted by a lon% ci#il &ar"-2=.
Conclusion 1s has been de$onstrated in the !our years since the end o! the ci#il &ar in 'ri 5an6a, it is sadly all too easy !or the Anited 2ations and all the states that co$prise it to say +&e !ailed to protect, 3 past tense 3 and then to continue to do nothin% 3 present tense 3 consi%nin% R2P to action, o#er there, in a crisis and not a!ter one" 0t has the potential to be so $uch $ore" Ander R2P, the 0nternational co$$unity has a collecti#e responsibility a!ter not protectin%, R12P, i! not a collecti#e obli%ation"-24. 0t is a responsibility to be e4ercised here and now" Bontinued !ailure &ith re%ards to 'ri 5an6a ser#es to %i#e con!idence to those &ho &ould trans%ress the pere$ptory nor$s o! international la&, that they can do so &ith i$punity"
-1. )200; <orld 'u$$it >utco$e Gocu$ent* A2@1 Res" 70I1, 17 'epte$ber 200;, para%raphs 1=9 and 1=8" 1lso, Report o! the 'ecretary @eneral B" Ei $oon, )0$ple$entin% the Responsibility to Protect* (1I7=I777, 12 Januar 2008)" -2. +1 protracted intrastate con!lict, p%" = Eristian 'to66e and Jayade#a Ayan%oda, 5iberal peace in (uestionD politics o! 'tate and ?ar6et re!or$ in 'ri 5an6a, (1nthe$ 'outh 1sian 'tudies, 2011)" -=. Ra$pton, G, )0n the <a6e o! 5e%ends" The 2eed !or an >ntolo%ical Anderstandin% o! 2ationalis$ and Po&er* 1ppendi4 1 in Bruce Eap!erer 5e%ends o! people $yths o! state, (ed 2012)" P%" 279 -4. 5e&is, G, )The !ailure o! a liberal peaceD 'ri 5an6a*s counter insur%ency in %lobal perspecti#e*, Bon!lict, 'ecurity K Ge#elop$ent, 10(;), 2010, pp" 7473771" -;. )Report o! the 'ecretary @eneral*s Panel o! E4perts on 1ccountability in 'ri 5an6a* =1 ?arch 2012" -7. Para%raph =4, the Petrie Report
-7. ?adeleine E" 1lbri%ht and Richard '" <illia$son )The Anites 'tates and R2PD Fro$ <ords to 1ction* 201= -9. ?elissa T" 5abonte coined the ter$ +double $ani!est !ailure, to describe a situation &hen both a host nation and international co$$unity ha#e been unable or un&illin% to protect ci#ilians throu%h R2P" +<hose Responsibility to Protect/ The i$plications o! double $ani!est !ailure !or ci#ilian populations, 0nternational Journal o! Fu$an Ri%hts 17D7 892 1002" -8. A2 FRB, 1IFRBI22I5"1IRe#"1, T&enty 'econd 'ession )1nnual report o! the Anited 2ations Fi%h Bo$$issioner !or Fu$an Ri%hts and reports o! the >!!ice o! the Fi%h Bo$$issioner and the 'ecretary @eneral* 18 ?arch 201=" A2 FRB 1IFRBI18I2, +Report o! the Fu$an Ri%hts Bouncil on its 2ineteenth 'ession," -10. )Report o! the >!!ice o! the Anited 2ations Fi%h Bo$$issioner !or Fu$an Ri%hts on ad#ice and technical assistance !or the @o#ern$ent o! 'ri 5an6a on pro$otin% reconciliation and accountability in 'ri 5an6a ) 11 February 201= -11. Report on the 0$peach$ent o! 'ri 5an6a*s Bhie! Justice, Bonducted !or the Bar Fu$an Ri%hts Bo$$ittee by @eo!!rey Robertson L"B" 201=" 0nternational Bo$$ission o! Jurists +'ri 5an6aD 0BJ Report Gocu$ents Brisis o! 0$punity, 1 2o#e$ber 2012 -12. For a list o! si%natories to the Ro$e 'tatue seehttpDII&&&"iccno&"or%Idocu$entsI'i%natoriesMRo$e'tatuteM2008"pd! -1=. +1 Tool6it on the Responsibility to Protect,, 0nternational Boalition !or the Responsibility to Protect, 21 2;" httpDIIresponsibilitytoprotect"or%I0BRtoPN20Tool6itN20onN20theN20Responsibility N20toN20ProtectN20hi%hN20res"pd!
-14. They ar%ue that the steps that need be ta6en to stren%then R2P include, +pursuin% a policy o! positi#e en%a%e$ent &ith the 0nternational Bri$inal Bourt (0BB)” as +a $eans o! deterrin% and prosecutin% &ar cri$es," -1;. 0n 2011 the BraCilians introduced R<P, Responsibility <hile Protectin% to the R2P" )5etter dated 8 2o#e$ber 2011 !ro$ the Per$anent Representati#e o! BraCil to the Anited 2ations addressed to the 'ecretary @eneral* 11 2o#e$ber 2011" -17. 0BJ Brie!in% 2ote, 'epte$ber 2010, +Beyond 5a&!ul BonstraintsD 'ri 5an6a*s ?ass Getention o! 5TTE 'uspects, httpDIIrelie!&eb"intIsitesIrelie!&eb"intI!ilesIresourcesI297=9E40G7=G491B482;771F00 0B;BG7 FullMReport"pd!/ bcsiMscanM779;8a!71b82=077O0KbcsiMscanM!ilena$eO297=9E40G7=G491B482;77 1F000B;BG7 FullMReport"pd! -17. 1nd the %o#ern$ents &ho either send those asylu$ see6ers bac6 to !ace torture, or inde!initely detain the$ &ithout due process" httpDIIthecon#ersation"co$Iaustralia dan%erously close to the abuse o! !leein% sri lan6ans 21177" httpDII&&&"the%uardian"c o$Ico$$entis!reeI201=I:unI17Ienhanced screenin% sri lan6a clai$s -19. Ta$ils 1%ainst @enocide )1cti#ist 0nti$idationD 'ur#eillance and 0nti$idation o! Ta$il Giaspora 1cti#ists and their 'upporters* 1= ?arch 201= -18. 0n ?arch 201=, the AE &as sharply criticised by the A2 Bo$$ittee 1%ainst Torture !or !allin% short o! its international le%al obli%ations under the A2 Bon#ention 1%ainst Torture 3 includin% !or the AE*s re!usal to ad$it ne& e#idence o! the torture o! Ta$ils returnin% to 'ri 5an6a !ro$ the AE into its asylu$ policy"httpDII&&&"!reedo$!ro$torture"or%Ine&s blo%sI7=47" -20. 0 &ould ar%ue that &hen the substanti#e issue is one o! alle%ed #iolations o!
pere$ptory nor$s 3 !ro$ &hich no dero%ation is per$itted 3 the procedural bar that is diplo$atic i$$unity should be &ai#ed, particularly &hen there are no other $eans a#ailable to hear :ustice" But at the #ery least, states can !ocus their attentions on those &ho do not !all under the e4pansi#e protections o! diplo$atic i$$unity" -21. Bhannel 4 2e&s, )Ga#id Ba$eron on 'ri 5an6a in the Bo$$ons 3 #ideo* 19 2o#e$ber 201=, last accessed 10 January 2014" 0n that speech to the Bo$$ons, Ga#id Ba$eron recounted a con#ersation &ith President Ra:apa6se, +0 pressed !or credible, transparent and independent in#esti%ations into alle%ed &ar cri$es and 0 $ade it clear to hi$ that i! these in#esti%ations &ere not be%un properly by ?arch then 0 &ill use our position on the A2 Fu$an Ri%hts Bouncil to &or6 &ith the A2 Fu$an Ri%hts Bo$$issioner and call !or an international in(uirey," -22. +The APRD >n the si%ni!icance o! conte4t, o! terror, and lest &e !or%et the Ta$il Luestion, 14 2o#e$ber 2012, and Ta$ils 1%ainst @enocide Press Release, 1;th 2o#e$ber 2012 +'ri 5an6a*s continued appeal to )terror* threat &hile the 0nternational Bo$$unity )!or%et* the Ta$il Luestion,httpDII&&&"ta$il%uardian"co$Iarticle"asp/articleidO7=08 and httpDII&&&"ta$ilsa%ainst%enocide"or%Iread"asp4/storyidO99 -2=. For e4a$ple, syste$atic discri$inate torture in 'ri 5an6a has been e4plained as an unintended product o! a shorta%e o! le%al chec6s and balances, &hilst the (uestion o! state intentionality has not been posed" 'ee 0BJ +Beyond la&!ul constraintsD 'ri 5an6a*s $ass detention o! 5TTE suspects, 'ept 2010" 0bid !n 12" -24. 0ndeed there is ar%uably a le%al di$ension to the doctrine o! pre#ention, &ithin the R2P, i"e" a positi#e obli%ation on states to pre#ent the !our R2P cri$es" Rosenber% (2008) +Responsibility to ProtectD 1 Fra$e&or6 !or Pre#ention, @lobal Responsibility to Protect 1 (2008) 4423477