Rudrakumaran And The LTTE Rump
By Camelia Nathaniel
Future stability and security of Sri Lanka depends on dismantling the LTTE infrastructure that legitimized separatism and supported violence. Although the LTTE was dismantled in Sri Lanka, the LTTE international network has reorganized and wants to revive the fight. As such, it is paramount for the Government of Sri Lanka to bring to justice those who supported the violence and those who legitimized the LTTE.
The failure of the Government to respond to the external threat to Sri Lanka resulted in the emergence of new LTTE structures such as the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE). The men behind this organization, Kumaran Pathmanathan and Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, were two leaders of the LTTE. KP was the chief of procurement and Rudrakumaran defended LTTE terrorists both in the US, Canada and elsewhere.
Current information and recent activities in Killinochchi suggest that the LTTE rump organisations and affiliated organizations continue to pose a threat to Sri Lanka.
While we, as Sri Lankans, have suffered for 30 years due to terrorism and the brutalities of the LTTE, the Government is now determined that their strategy is the most effective way to maintain the careful balance in providing security to the country while respecting the rule of law and human rights.
Although the LTTE was eliminated from this country, and it is proscribed in many countries, there still are rump organisations and groups who share their ideology still active in many countries.
There is a growing body of evidence indicating that terrorist groups have been operating effectively in many countries, especially the US and Canada, by taking advantage of their liberal immigration and political asylum policies and the porous Canadian-American border.
According to the FBI, the LTTE has established branches in at least 12 countries, including the United States. However, the LTTE was designated by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in October 1997.
Sympathy and interpretation
Under federal laws, US State Department officials are prohibited from opening or maintaining contacts with representatives of an FTO such as the LTTE. LTTE sympathiser Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran has found inroads to still function as the convener of Tamil Diaspora representative organizations to meet with US policymakers, and those who influence policymakers, greatly benefiting the pro-LTTE lobby, to influence them by spreading false allegations about Sri Lankan security forces and the Sri Lankan Government, spreading false stories about the reconciliation process.
Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran is known as the legal advisor to the LTTE. Having a lucrative law practice in the US, he once explained the legal rights of US citizens with regard to anti terrorism legislation in the United States during an address at the LTTE Heroes Day event held at South Brunswick Middle School in New Jersey.
His interpretation is that a US citizen can advocate or promote a designated FTO under the First Amendment. The law explicitly says that a person who advocates or promotes the agenda of an FTO cannot be prosecuted if that person acted independent of the designated FTO.
Some observers pointed out that, since the LTTE was a banned terrorist organisation in the USA, Rudrakumaran, as an International legal advisor of the LTTE and citizen of USA, cannot act behalf of the LTTE in USA.
A history of activity
Given the activities that Rudrakumaran has been involved in, how can he be categorised as being independent of the LTTE?
• He participated in the CANBERRA conference in 1996 at which supporters of the separatist movement in Sri Lanka had got together.
• He had organised Heroes Day in New Jersey in November, 1998, and delivered a special address.
• He had made arrangements for an agreement to be signed between the LTTE and South Sudan People’s Liberation movement in July 2002.
• As an advisor for constitutional affairs, he convened the LTTE’s constitutional committee meeting held in Paris in August, 2003.
• Rudrakumaran was responsible for coordinating the defence at the Rajiv Gandhi assassination trial in India, Suresh Manikkavasagar’s trial in Canada, and challenging the US designation of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation.
• Rudrakumaran had delivered a speech in Switzerland on April 2006 about the policy statement of LTTE which was issued to coincide with the 62nd General Assembly the UN. In his speech, he stated that this is not just another statement of the LTTE but a policy statement that spells out its future strategic direction. The final section of the paper refers to the expectations of the LTTE:
a. To recognise the concept of the sovereignty of the Tamil people and support the peace process in accordance with this principle.
b. Provide appropriate opportunities to the Tamil people to express these aspirations as have been given to the people of East Timor and Kosovo.
• Rudrakumaran has held a meeting with the expatriate Tamils the US in order to educate them on the establishment of Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) and its future plans. Further, it is learnt that he has reportedly expressed that they intend to hold political discussions with the Sri Lankan Government to seek a solution to the problem to regain their aspirations politically under the principles of Tamil homeland and rights to self-determination.
• On September 27, 2009, Rudrakumaran visited Germany to speak to the Tamil Diaspora.
• Rudrakumar and his operatives had published a newspaper named Thamil Ela Arasu in Canada on September 28, 2009.
• He had also issued Heroes Day statements separately on November 27, 2009.
• On December 20, 2009, he appealed to the UN to take action in probing the war crimes alleged to have been committed by the Sri Lankan Army.
• Between May 17 and 19, 2010, the first Assembly of TGTE was conducted by Rudrakumaran in Philadelphia in USA.
• On September 22, 2010, the United States Tamil Political Action Council (UNTPAC) prepared a plan to hold a large scale rally and demonstration in front of the UN office in New York where President Rajapaksa was scheduled to make his speech at the UN Assembly. This rally and demonstration was conducted by Rudrakumaran.
• He participated in and was elected as Prime Minister at the Second meeting of the TGTE that took place at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel in New York.
• The Heroes Day message was also delivered by Rudrakumaran on November 27, 2010.
• TGTE held an event in commemoration of Nandikadal where Rudrakumaran participated as the chief guest on May 15, 2011.
• He organized a protest campaign in commemoration of the death anniversary of Prabhakaran opposite the UN Headquarters in Geneva.
• He was one of the chief guests at a sports festival organized by TGTE on June 25, 2011, in New York.
• He was also responsible for releasing of the Black July message on July 25, 2011.
• He participated as the chief guest of a sports festival organized by the TGTE to commemorate the Black Tiger cadres on July 7, 2012. Plaques awarded to the winners included their insignias.
• He has also made a statement indicating that the Sri Lankan forces deployed in North and East should completely evacuate since their presence will never ensure the democracy and safety of the Tamils. The statement was made on December 21, 2012 at the end of a protest held in the US.
• On March 21, 2013, after the US resolution was forwarded at the Human Rights council held in Geneva, he stated that the resolution did not support the Tamil requirements to be achieved and it is not a victory for the Tamils but a defeat for the Sri Lankan Government.
• He was also present at the 30th annual Black Tiger July Remembrance Day event held at the Melbourne Hungarian Community Centre on July 27, 2013.
• Rudrakumaran also participated in the Thimpu Talks in 1985.
• He participated in the fourth round of peace talks with the Government, in Thailand, Norway and Germany from September, 2002 to February, 2003.
• He participated in the failed Oslo talks with the Government in Norway in 2006.
• He also participated in the Geneva talks held in October, 2006, as a negotiator.
Having served as a member of the official delegation of the LTTE in several rounds of peace talks with the Government, during the last peace talks in Geneva, Rudrakumaran was assigned to play the role of ideologue in the absence of Balasingham.
It is learnt that he has close links with top officials of several governments including the United States and Canada. Using these links, he has managed to gain some recognition for the LTTE in these countries despite the LTTE being a banned organisation.
It is believed that he has also inspired Ramsey Clark, the former Attorney General of the US, to work towards establishing a separate state in Sri Lanka.
Having been admitted to the New York bar in 1993, he has since represented an estimated 2000 to 3000 clients, mainly in pro-LTTE Tamil bogus refugee claims.
The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, adopted by the Security Council at its 4385th meeting, on September 28, 2001, clearly indicates that all States shall:
1 (a) Prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts;
(b) Criminalize the wilful provision or collection, by any means, directly or indirectly, of funds by their nationals or in their territories with the intention that the funds should be used, or in the knowledge that they are to be used, in order to carry out terrorist acts;
(c) Freeze without delay funds and other financial assets or economic resources of persons who commit, or attempt to commit, terrorist acts or participate in or facilitate the commission of terrorist acts; of entities owned or controlled directly or indirectly by such persons; and of persons and entities acting on behalf of, or at the direction of such persons and entities, including funds derived or generated from property owned or controlled directly or indirectly by such persons and associated persons and entities;
(d) Prohibit their nationals or any persons and entities within their territories from making any funds, financial assets or economic resources or financial or other related services available, directly or indirectly, for the benefit of persons who commit or attempt to commit or facilitate or participate in the commission of terrorist acts, of entities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by such persons and of persons and entities acting on behalf of or at the direction of such persons;
2 (a) Refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, including by suppressing recruitment of members of terrorist groups and eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists;
(b) Take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts, including by provision of early warning to other States by exchange of information;
(c) Deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts, or provide safe havens;
(d) Prevent those who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from using their respective territories for those purposes against other States or their citizens;
(e) Ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice and ensure that, in addition to any other measures against them, such terrorist acts are established as serious criminal offences in domestic laws and regulations and that the punishment duly reflects the seriousness of such terrorist acts;
(f) Afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection with criminal investigations or criminal proceedings relating to the financing or support of terrorist acts, including assistance in obtaining evidence in their possession necessary for the proceedings;
(g) Prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border controls and controls on issuance of identity papers and travel documents, and through measures for preventing counterfeiting, forgery or fraudulent use of identity papers and travel documents.
While the guidelines are clear, it would be interesting to see what measures these countries that are signatories to this resolution will take, now that the Sri Lankan Government has taken measures to proscribe these organisations.
Describing the threat these LTTE rump organisations pose to the country, Military Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya told The Sunday Leader that there is another aspect that the Sri Lankan authorities will have to pay attention to.
“The world has seen the dark face of terrorism with 9/11 in New York when the twin towers melted down while the whole world watched on. While Sri Lanka has been facing terrorism for much longer than that, with this one single act of terrorism in the US, the world realised the need to arrest the situation and, as a result, on September 28, 2001, less than three weeks after the attack, the UN Security Council passed a resolution which is now famously known as resolution 1373, which adequately creates an international mechanism to prevent terrorists from operating from safe havens,” Wanigasooriya said.
However, with the recent proscription of identified terrorist groups, Sri Lanka has taken a giant leap towards getting the help that it could from the legitimate governments all over the world, where the terrorists are operating LTTE fronts with masks on.
“Now, it is our turn to unmask these organisations. It is time for the world to help us as they can and did when the need arose in 2001. The same masks can change shape and start operating against Sri Lanka by forming different organisations and using different names and people,” he added, “Sri Lanka cannot rest by proscribing these organisations. We will have to continue to be alert to this threat and the dynamic activities of the terrorists who are smart with what they do.”
Time for justice
The TGTE presents a long term threat to the stability and security of Sri Lanka and a deterrent to reconciliation. Those countries committed to the creation of harmony in Sri Lanka must take firm action against the spoilers of peace. The Sri Lankan Government should upgrade the existing Immigration Service to a Border Control Agency and create a list to identify both the terrorists and terrorist supporters.
As co-founders of the TGTE, KP and his closest friend Rudrakumaran challenged the Sri Lankan State. However, after KP was arrested and deported to Sri Lanka at the end of the war in May 2009, KP has rejected violence and reformed.
While KP remains on an INTERPOL red notice, Rudrakumaran continues to operate under the guise of a human rights activist. Rudrakumaran is unrepentant and has not expressed remorse for his role. After a decade of justifying the unlawful killings, maiming and injuries, Rudrakumaran functions from New York and New Jersey in the US to date lobbying congressmen, senators, diplomats and UN officials. Imagine, a senior leader of Taliban or al Qaeda operating in the UK, Canada or the US. Would the US then permit such operatives to carry on their activities on their soil? It is time to bring Rudrakumaran and his associates to justice.