Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Karuna Caught In United Kingdom

Here’s an interesting story from Sri Lanka:
Damning evidence has surfaced that the Government smuggled LTTE renegade commander Karuna to Great Britain on a forged diplomatic passport.

An investigation revealed that the forged diplomatic passport was issued by the Immigration Department on the orders of higher authorities in the name of Kokila Gunawardena on August 30, 2007.
Who is Karuna? He is a renegade LTTE commander who broke off from the LTTE to, ostensibly, protest the marginalization of eastern Sri Lankan Tamils within the organization. It’s been long rumored Sri Lankan intelligence services have been secretly backing him: in the vain hope that eastern Sri Lankan Tamils would rally to his side, weakening the LTTE by dividing them in two. This support did not materialize as planned, mostly due to the ruthless efficiency in how the LTTE deals with dissent. Karuna was a marked man, and so were his supporters.

I would gander a guess that Sri Lanka decided to cut its losses and redeploy their resources elsewhere. They could have left Karuna twisting in the wind; a LTTE hit squad would’ve finished him off sooner or later. After all, they never forget traitors nor do they stop hunting them. On the other hand, Sri Lanka wanted to spare themselves the embarrassment, so they decided to send him into exile, hopefully buying his silence. London is a good choice as Karuna’s family was already ensconced there.

And Sri Lanka risked a diplomatic row to send Karuna to London. Using a false name, a forged passport, and outright mendacity, Sri Lanka tried to smuggle Karuna into the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, Karuna was caught at the airport and arrested. No doubt he’ll be deported back to Sri Lanka. Karuna will try to ask for political asylum—perhaps this was the plan, after all—and may well receive it given liberal asylum policies of Europe.

I’m sure the United Kingdom is outraged that Sri Lanka was abusing the Vienna Convention, which governs diplomatic protocols, to send the likes of Karuna to the U.K. under the guise of diplomatic cover. We haven’t heard the last of this story.

UPDATE: Human rights groups are calling Britain to prosecute Karuna for war crimes, including torture and recruitment of child soldiers. I don’t think this will go anywhere. I doubt Britain has the jurisdiction to prosecute a person whose crimes were committed in another sovereign nation; and I’m unfamiliar with international law to have an opinion one way or the other. The only scenario that I can see is that Karuna is deported to Sri Lanka and tried for his crimes there.

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