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The Responsibility to Protect$
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Jared Genser, Irwin Cotler, Desmond Tutu, and Vaclav Havel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199797769

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797769.001.0001

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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

(p.298) 14 Sri Lanka
The Responsibility to Protect

Damien Kingsbury

Oxford University Press

In the months between January and May 2009, the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) unleashed a full military offensive against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) in Sri Lanka's northern districts. This was to be the final phase of a war for a separate Tamil state which killed more than 100,000 people, damaged the country's economy, and fundamentally changed and arguably diminished the Sri Lankan polity. Over the twelve months or more since the end of the fighting, increasing evidence has emerged of a military operation that systematically and deliberately ignored the lives of civilians in its pursuit of LTTE rebels or which targeted civilians as LTTE sympathizers. There is also growing evidence of war crimes having been committed by SLA troops. This chapter addresses the question of why the principles of a Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) were not invoked. A major reason why the international community was not able to exercise more authority in relation to Sri Lanka, particularly in the final stages of the anti-LTTE war, was because it was both blocked in the UN Security Council by China and Russia, and it was blocked on the ground by China and India both actively supporting the government of Sri Lanka.

Keywords:   responsibility to protect, war crimes, Sri Lanka Army, Tamil Tigers, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

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