The third session of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka launched its judgment on September 25, 2023, where human rights activists from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America participated – virtually and in presence – in a display of people-to-people solidarity, further emphasising the role of the Tribunal as an institution listening to peoples’ demands.
This event signifies the third phase of a lengthy and profoundly meaningful process of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal. It follows two prior judgments rendered in Dublin in 2010, closely following the massacre of the Eelam Tamil population by the Sri Lankan Government, and in Bremen in 2014, where a comprehensive ruling that qualified the events as genocide in accordance with international law, as well as the framework of connivance in the direct and indirect responsibilities that ensured the denial of the Tamil people’s rights, was presented.
The Berlin Session pursued a dual objective, involving a thorough examination of new testimonies, reports, and documents to:
- Highlight the unfoundedness of the terrorist designation, which leads to the denial of Tamil people’s rights.
- Highlight the uniqueness and resilience of the Tamil people’s societal model, in which women played central roles and, as a result, suffered the most tragic and enduring victimization.
- Address the extent of responsibility borne by the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom in derailing peace processes, often with the tacit support of European Union Member States, thereby triggering a genocidal trajectory.
The judgment of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka stands as a significant moment in the quest for justice and accountability in the Sri Lankan conflict, drawing international attention to the alleged role of the United States in the tragic events that unfolded in the country.
The Tribunal’s judgment condemns the United States’ policy aimed at securing Sri Lanka as a geo-strategic military asset. This policy is depicted as a fundamental violation of Eelam Tamils’ rights, with extensive implications for regional and global peace. The panel of judges also underscores concerns regarding the broader geopolitical repercussions of this policy in the Indian Ocean region.
Panel of Judges Composition:
Denis Halliday (Former assistant secretary-general to the United Nations and recipient of Gandhi International Peace Award)
Javier Giraldo Moreno (Vice president of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal and Colombian liberation theologian)
Ana Esther Cecena (Director of Latin American Geopolitical Observatory and professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Flavia Carvalho (Brazilian supreme court assistant judge and an Afro-Brazilian feminist)
Lourdes Esther Huanca Atencio (President of the National Federation of Female Peasants, Artisans, Indigenous, Native and Salaried Workers of Peru)
Feliciano Valencia (Former Colombian senator, a Nasa Indigenous leader of the Cauca region)
Na’eem Jeenah (Executive director of the Afro-Middle East Centre in South Africa and former president of Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa)
Liza Maza (General secretary of International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) and a former member of Philippine’s House of Representatives)
Lonko Juana Culfunao Paillal (A leader of the Mapuche indigenous community of south-western Chile who is engaged in the struggle for her people’s sovereignty and the founder of Ethical Commission Against Torture)
Junaid S. Ahmad (Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Decoloniality, Islamabad and Founder and Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, Pakistan)
Gianni Tognoni (General secretary of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal in Rome)