by Kalana Senaratne
Point 10 of Dr. Dhanapala’s ‘Submission’ (on the topic of IHL) does not seem to suggest that he had seriously advocated the non-application of IHL or IL in general as regards internal armed conflicts. If so, this seems to be a classic case of irresponsible journalism on the part of the relevant newspapers and media institutions - which needs to be widely condemned.
However, one still awaits the release of the ‘authoritative transcript’ of Dr. Dhanapala’s presentation AND the Q & A session. One hopes Dr. Dhanapala makes it available to the general public - so that one could be able to clearly assess, a) the seriousness of the ‘alleged’ statement made by him, or b) the seriousness of the irresponsibility of journalism in Sri Lanka.The release of this 'authoritative transcript' is quintessential, since The Island (Shamindra Ferdinando) has now stated that it stands by its report of 26 August, 2010.
In case it is (b) above, I hope Dr. Dhanapala would accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused. Yet, I maintain the fundamental thesis of my argument – that IHL and IL in general should apply in the case of internal armed conflicts.
In conclusion, I hope that Dr. Dhanapala or others would make sure that they take immediate measures to publish transcripts of statements made around journalists and media personnel, in the future (note: this was done by Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha at http://rajivawijesinha.wordpress.com). Dr. Dhanapala could have very easily posted a draft of his submission on his personal web page soon after he appeared before the LLRC. This, he did not do. - which is also very surprising, and saddening.