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Road Map II: Legal Avenues to Prosecute a US

Citizen for War Crimes!e Case of "ota#a$a

'$ R$an "oodman
Wednesda$( )ul$ *+( ,+-. at -:-* PM
!is is t!e second post arising out of a
presentation I made at a congressional #riefing earlier t!is mont! on issues of
accounta#ilit$ in Sri Lan&a/ !e anal$sis #elo0 is also dra0n from m$ opening
remar&s( and t!e furt!er refinement of m$ ideas in lig!t of discussions follo0ing t!e
1!e first 2road map3 dealt 0it! more general issues of accounta#ilit$ in Sri Lan&a:
2Road Map I: W!at More Congress 4and t!e Administration5 Can 6o to Promote
Accounta#ilit$ in Sri Lan&a37
8ere I !ig!lig!t t!e various la0s t!at mig!t assist t!e )ustice 6epartment and ot!er
agencies in prosecuting US citizen( "ota#a$a Ra%apa&sa/ In anot!er post #ac& in Ma$( I
descri#ed some of t!e evidence in t!e pu#lic record a#out !is alleged involvement in
mass 0ar crimesfor 0!ic! t!e US government is interested in see&ing accounta#ilit$/
Sometimes t!e cover9up is more easil$ proven t!an t!e crime/ And "ota#a$a ma$ also
#e guilt$ of 0itness tampering/ At t!e end of t!is post I t!erefore include a
detailed( 2imeline: Was US Citizen "ota#a$a Ra%apa&sa Involved in Witness
ampering in a US War Crimes In:uir$; <ou 6ecide/3
!e follo0ing anal$sis ma$ #e !elpful to mem#ers of Congress as 0ell as t!e
administration/ !e )ustice 6epartment and ot!er agencies are not a#le to comment
on ongoing investigations/ Accordingl$( it 0ould #e !elpful( I imagine( if mem#ers of
Congress simpl$ sent a letter to relevant offices 0it!in t!e administration e=pressing
interest and !ope t!at t!e$ 0ill pursue 0it! full rigor an$ information and all legal
avenues t!at esta#lis! criminal or civil lia#ilit$ for t!e most serious violations of US
federal la0 #$ individuals su#%ect to our %urisdiction/
So( 0!at legal avenues mig!t #e availa#le to t!e administration in t!e case of
A/ )ustice 6epartment
-/ Criminal Lia#ilit$: War Crimes Act
As discussed in previous posts #$ 'et! >an Sc!aac& 4!ere5 and #$ me 4!ere5( t!e most
o#vious federal criminal statute is t!e War Crimes Act of -??@( 0!ic! applies to U/S/
citizens li&e "ota#a$a/
,/ CivilAcriminal lia#ilit$: Civil RICB
If t!ere 0ere insufficient evidence for a criminal indictment 4e/g/( intercepts t!at could
not #e produced at trial5( t!e )ustice 6epartment could also consider pursuing civil
lia#ilit$/ Consider( for e=ample( Civil RICB a ve!icle for addressing organized
criminal activit$ including international crimes/
8ere is a sample of predicate offences 4i/e/( forms of 2rac&eteering35 0!ic! mig!t appl$
to "ota#a$a:
-5 orture committed #$ a US citizen a#road of foreign nationals 1-C U/S/ Code D
,5 Serious #odil$ !arm or murder of an$ Sri Lan&an 0it! 4dual5 US nationalit$
committed outside t!e United States 1-C U/S/ Code D ,**,7
*5 ampering 0it! a 0itness or an informant 1-C U/S/ Code D -E-,7
.5 Retaliation against a 0itness or an informant 1-C U/S/ Code D -E-*7
!e last t0o on t!e list deserve ela#oration 0it! respect to !o0 t!e$ mig!t appl$ to
"ota#a$a/ For t!at purpose( see t!e imeline #elo0/
1Bf course t!ese predicate acts for t!e purpose of RICB could also #e prosecuted as
independent c!arges under federal criminal la0/ !e purpose of t!e present anal$sis is
to identif$ potential civil lia#ilit$( to 0!ic! RICB lends itself/7
'/ )ustice 6epartment and ot!er agencies
-/ IRS: a= evasion
!e Al Capone strateg$: It ma$ #e 0ort!0!ile to investigate "ota#a$aGs assets
compared to an$ ta= documents t!at !e mig!t or mig!t not !ave filed 0it! t!e
IRS as a US citizen living a#road/
,/ 68S H 8uman Rig!ts >iolators and War Crime Unit: Immigration fraud
As 0it! past successes in similar cases 4see also !ere and !ere5( t!e government mig!t
prosecute "ota#a$a for failure to disclose material informationHinvolvement in past
crimesHin !is application for U/S/ citizens!ip/
!e &e$ !ere is conduct prior to !is ac:uisition of citizens!ip/ For e=ample( consider
t!at in 6ecem#er ,+-,( e=cavators uncovered a mass grave in t!e Matale district
dating #ac& to t!e Sri Lan&an Arm$Gs counterinsurgenc$ operations in t!e late -?C+s/
W!at !as t!at to do 0it! "ota#a$a; 8e 0as Coordinating Bfficer of t!e Matale 6istrict
and t!e Commanding Bfficer of t!e -st 'attalion( "a%a#a Regiment during t!e late
In sum( t!e menu of options for prosecuting "ota#a$a is not s!ort/ Io0 letGs turn to
t!e timelineJ
imeline: Was US Citizen "ota#a$a Ra%apa&sa Involved in Witness ampering in a US
War Crimes In:uir$; <ou 6ecide
-/ Ma$ -C( ,++?
"ota#a$a ma$ !ave ordered t!e commander of t!e arm$Gs ECt! 6ivision to e=ecute all
surrendering mem#ers of t!e LK leaders!ip at t!e close of t!e civil 0ar 40idel$
&no0n as t!e 20!ite flag3 incident and discussed in State 6epartment reports to
,/ Bcto#er ,C( ,++?
Sri Lan&aGs t!en9Arm$ C!ief Sarat! Fonse&a 40!o !appens to #e a long9term
permanent resident of t!e United States5 0as in t!e United States on a personal visit/
8e 0as contacted #$ t!e 6epartment of 8omeland Securit$ to sc!edule a special
intervie0 and 0as reportedl$ told #$ t!e 68S t!at 2t!e intention #e!ind t!e re:uest
for t!e intervie0 is to use !im Las a source against !uman rig!ts violations done #$
Secretar$A6efence/G3 !e intervie0 0as sc!eduled for Iovem#er ./ 1See also !ere7
*/ Iovem#er ,( ,++?
In person and in an aide memoire( Sri Lan&aGs Foreign Minister told t!e US
Am#assador in Sri Lan&a t!at t!e intervie0 s!ould not ta&e place and t!at 2t!e
6epartment of 8omeland Securit$ s!ould fort!0it! desist from an$ endeavor in t!is
./ Bn or #efore Iovem#er .( ,++?
Fonse&a left t!e United States #efore t!e sc!eduled intervie0/
E/ 6ecem#er -*( ,++?
In an intervie0 0it! t!e ne0spaper !e Sunda$ Leader concerning t!e 0!ite flag
incident( Fonse&a stated t!at "ota#a$a !ad given t!e order on Ma$ -C( ,++? t!at 2t!e$
must all #e &illed/3
@/ 6ecem#er -.( ,++?
Fonse&a confirmed and confided t!e same information a#out "ota#a$a to t!e US
M/ Fe#ruar$ C( ,+-+
Fonse&a made a statement t!at !e 0as prepared to testif$ in international courts a#out
t!e 0ar crimes/ As t!e ''C reported:
"en Fonse&a !ad said !e 0as prepared to give evidence in international
courts on an$ 0ar crimes c!arges #roug!t in relation to t!e civil 0ar/ LI am
definitel$ going to reveal 0!at I &no0( 0!at I 0as told and 0!at I !eard/
An$one 0!o !as committed 0ar crimes s!ould definitel$ #e #roug!t into t!e
courts(G "en Fonse&a said/3
Later t!at da$ Fones&a 0as arrested #$ militar$ police 4under t!e %urisdiction of
C/ Fe#ruar$9Ma$ ,+-+
!e Sri Lan&an militar$ #roug!t court martial proceedings against Fonse&a/ !e
government also filed a separate civil c!arge against Fonse&a on t!e ground t!at !e
!adincited unrest due to !is intervie0 0it! !e Sunda$ Leader/
?/ Ma$ E( ,+-+
Spea&ing to reports inside Parliament( Fonse&a stated: 2I 0ill go out of m$ 0a$ to
e=pose an$one 0!o !as committed 0ar crimesN3 2I 0ill not protect an$one( from t!e
ver$ top to t!e #ottomN3 !e said t!e government 0as 2!ell #ent3 on silencing !im/
1Agence France9Presse7
-+/ Ma$ @( ,+-+
In an intervie0 0it! a national ne0spaper( "ota#a$a reacted to Fonse&aGs 0illingness
to assist an international 0ar crimes investigation/ "ota#a$a stated: 2An$ Sri Lan&an
promoting an agenda 0!ic! is detrimental to t!e countr$ is not!ing #ut a traitor(3 !e
referred to Fonse&aGs effort to fast trac& a 2sinister campaign3 in supporting an
international 0ar crimes pro#e( and !e said suc! tratiors deserve capital punis!ment/
o t!is da$( "ota#a$aGs intervie0 is proudl$ displa$ed on !is 6epartment of
6efenseGs0e#site 0it! t!e title( 2raitors s!ould #e given Capital punis!ment/G 1!is is
also consistent 0it! anot!er statement #$ "ota#a$a to t!e ''C( OI am not allo0ing an$
investigations in t!is countr$/ !ere is no reason/ Iot!ing 0rong !appened in t!is
--/ )une @( ,+-+
In an intervie0 0it! ''CGs 8ardtal&( "ota#a$a 0as told t!at Fonse&a said !e 0ould
testif$ against "ota#a$a #efore an independent 0ar crimes investigation/ "ota#a$a
8e canGt do t!at/ 8e 0as t!e commander/ J !at is a treason/ We 0ill !ang
!im if !e do1es7 t!at/3
1also discussed in State 6epGt report to Congress7
-,/ Iovem#er -C( ,+-+
A Colom#o 8ig! Court found Fonse&a guilt$ of spreading t!e 20!ite flag3 rumor(
0!ic! 2could arouse communal feelings(3 and sentenced !im to t!ree $earsG
1!e State 6epartmentGs report suggests t!e trial 0as illegitimate7
-*/ Ma$ ,-( ,+-,
Fonse&a is released from prison/
-./ Io0
<ou decide/ Is t!e case against "ota#a$a 0ort! pursuing;
M$ ta&e: !e US government !as poured its credi#ilit$ into promoting accounta#ilit$
in Sri Lan&a/ !e United States no0 cannot afford to stand #$ 0!en its o0n citizen is
directl$ interfering 0it! prospects for independent 0ar crimes investigations/
Posted #$ !avam