Columns - 5th column

War crimes,Cameron and Commonwealth

By Rypvanwinkle

"Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked, "what is all this fuss about the Commonwealth summit?"
"Well," Bindu's father Percy said, "I am not sure whether there would be a fuss, but I believe some people don't want Mahinda maama to attend it…"

"No, thaaththa," Bindu disagreed, "I was not thinking about that at all…"
"What are you worried about, then?" Percy wanted to know.
"I think the Commonwealth summit will have to be cancelled…" Bindu said.
"And why would they have to do that?" Percy was surprised.

"Why, thaaththa," Bindu argued, "if they are protesting against Mahinda maama attending the summit, then surely they will now have to protest against the British Prime Minister David Cameron attending the summit as well and then the summit will have to be cancelled…"
"But why would they protest against the British prime Minister attending the summit, Bindu?" Percy was puzzled.

"For the same reason that they are protesting against Mahinda maama…" Bindu declared.
"But Bindu," Percy said, "they are protesting against Mahinda maama because they claim that he was responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes at the end of our war…"
"And that is exactly what would now happen to the British Prime Minister…" Bindu predicted.
"Why do you say that?" Percy wondered.

"Why, thaaththa, isn't he responsible for the war that went on in Libya that ended with the killing of Gaddafi this week?" Bindu asked.
"Of course he is," Percy said, "because Britain and France took the lead in all the air strikes that were launched during that war and without their support, the Libyans wouldn't have been able to do what they did…"
"Then I'm sure he would also be accused of human rights abuses and war crimes in that same way that they accuse Mahinda maama now…" Bindu observed.

"Why would they do that?" Percy wanted to know.
"Why, thaaththa," Bindu asked, "aren't they accusing Mahinda maama for war crimes and human rights abuses because they claim that innocent civilians died in our war…"
"Yes, I believe that is their argument…" Percy recalled.

"Then, thaaththa," Bindu asked, "didn't innocent civilians die in the war in Libya as well?"
"Of course they did, probably much, much more than in our war…" Percy agreed.
"And that was mostly because of the air strikes which were ordered by the British Prime Minister and the French President, wasn't it?" Bindu inquired.

"I suppose you could say that too…" Percy conceded.
"And, wasn't there television footage showing the deaths of these civilians?" Bindu asked.
"There was indeed," Percy agreed, "Libyan television did show plenty of such footage during the war and unlike the questionable footage they have on our country, this was more authentic…"
"Then, thaaththa," Bindu persisted, "didn't Gaddafi die as a result of one of those air strikes?"
"Yes, he did," Percy remembered, "it was the air strikes that led to his capture…"
"And," Bindu said, "when he was captured, they just shot him dead, when he could easily have been detained as prisoner and then tried in a court of law…"

"That is true too," Percy recalled, "television footage clearly shows him pleading for his life moments before he was shot…"
"So that would amount to a war crime too and the British Prime Minister could be held partly responsible for that as well because it was his air strikes that launched with the French that led to Gaddafi's death…" Bindu argued.

"I suppose you could say that too…" Percy conceded.
"Then, thaaththa," Bindu said, "I am sure the British Prime Minister would now have to face all those accusations, just like Mahinda maama…"
"So, what do you think will happen now?" Percy asked.

"Well, I think Channel 4 can make a new documentary about the 'Killing Fields of Libya'…" Bindu suggested.
"That alone will not cause a problem for their Prime Minister…" Percy observed.
"Why, thaaththa," Bindu said, "I am sure Ban Ki-Moon, being the highly principled man that he is, will appoint a panel to investigate the end of the Libyan war as well…"
"What else would you think will happen?" Percy wondered.

"Why, all those countries which are accusing Mahinda maama of war crimes will surely have to demand that the British Prime Minister be tried for war crimes as well…"
"I am not so sure of that, Bindu…" Percy was sceptical.
"Then, Libyans from all over the world will start to file cases against the British Prime Minister for human rights abuses and war crimes…" Bindu said.

"But Bindu," Percy pointed out, "the British Prime Minister would say that he was only helping the Libyan people get rid of a ruthless dictator…"
"Then we should say that we were only helping some of our people to get rid of a ruthless terrorist…" Bindu proposed.

"Well, I guess that would be more convincing because we were fighting our own war whereas the British were meddling in someone else's war…" Percy declared.
"And surely they couldn't accuse us of killing people wanting to surrender when there is no evidence to support that, whereas there is television footage showing Gaddafi being killed when he wanted to surrender…" Bindu pointed out.

"That is true as well…" Percy said.
"Then I suppose Mahinda maama should be able to proceed to the Commonwealth Summit without any problems…" Bindu said.
"Why do you say that, Bindu?" Percy asked.
"Why, thaaththa, if anyone accuses him of war crimes, all he has to do is to point to the British Prime Minister and tell them to catch the obvious war criminal first…" Bindu suggested.
Percy knew he couldn't disagree with that.

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