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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 79

Karuna not a "paramilitary" because he was trained

[b]Karuna not a "paramilitary" because he was trained and armed by LTTE - S.L.Gunasekara, leading lawyer [/b]

S. L. Gunasekera, a leading lawyer who participated in the Thimpu talks along with H. L. de Silva, has dismissed the Norwegian and the LTTE argument to include Col. Karuna's group as "paramilitaries" as irrelevant. There is mounting pressure internationally too on Erik Solheim to get off the one-track agenda of focusing on Col Karuna as it does not help the peace process. Political observers say that it helps only the LTTE to survive.

S. L. Gunasekera argues: "Before the Geneva Talks the LTTE was vociferous in their demand that the Government should disarm the Karuna Group. They based their demand upon the premise that Clause 1.8 of the Ceasefire Agreement [CFA] required the Government to disarm the Karuna Group. They were even more vociferous in that demand after the first round of the Geneva Talks and added a second premise as a basis for that demand, namely, that the Government had undertaken to disarm the Karuna Group by the Joint Statement issued after that round of talks.

Both said premises are entirely false.

Clause 1.8 of the CFA reads as follows:-

"Tamil paramilitary groups shall be disarmed by the GOSL by D-Day + 30 days at the very latest. The GOSL shall offer to integrate individuals in these units under the command and disciplinary structure of the GOSL armed forces for service away from the Northern and Eastern Provinces"

The "paramilitary groups" referred to in that clause were indisputably those members of parties such as the EPDP and PLOTE who were armed by the Government to enable them to protect themselves against the LTTE.

Presumably, the rationale on which the then Prime Minister Wickremesinghe agreed to this outrageous clause by which he agreed to disarm our friends while the common enemy of them and us, the LTTE remained armed to the teeth, was a childish belief that the LTTE would honour its undertaking to cease assassinations etc. [Clause 1.2(a) and 2.1] which made it unnecessary for such persons to carry arms for their protection!!!

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