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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Sathasivam Krishnakumar - the struggle was his life > Interview with Sri Lanka Monitor, 1991 - Self Determination is not a dirty word > Interview with Melbourne Radio, 1991 > India's Act of Piracy > LTTE Petition to United Nations
Petition presented by the International Secretariat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Members of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Commission on Human Rights
5 February 1993
The People of Tamil Eelam hereby Petition the United Nations through their
lawful and legitimate representatives, the International Secretariat of the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, for the grant of United Nations effective
remedy and declaratory relief:
1. The Petitioners invoke the jurisdiction of the United Nations and its organs by virtue of the provisions of the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Law of the Sea Convention, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples
2. The Petitioners, the people of Tamil Eelam, live in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka and constitute a 'people' within the meaning of Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They also constitute a 'people' within the meaning of Article 1 of the General Assembly Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
3. The Petitioners state that the people of Tamil Eelam are united by an ancient heritage, a rich culture, and a distinct language with a great literary tradition and that they have lived for many centuries within well defined geographical boundaries which demarcate their homeland. The territorial integrity of the Tamil homeland has been retained despite the sustained attacks of Sinhala dominated governments over a period of several decades.
4. During the past four decades and more an alien Sinhala people through a series of legislative and administrative acts, ranging from disenfranchisement, and standardisation of University admissions, to discriminatory language and employment policies, and state sponsored colonisation of the Tamil homeland, has sought to subjugate, dominate and exploit the people of Tamil Eelam.
5. The attack by an alien Sinhala dominated government was initially resisted by the Tamil people by non violent means together with a parliamentary campaign for a federal constitution. This non violent resistance was then met with pre meditated Sinhala violence directed to subdue the Tamil people.
6. The armed struggle of the Tamil people for self determination arose as a defence against decades of oppressive rule by an alien Sinhala people who spoke a language different from the Tamils, and whose culture and heritage were separate from that of the Tamils.
7. The Petitioners state that in these premises, the armed struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam for self determination is both just and lawful and further that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as leaders of that struggle, are competent in law to represent the people of Tamil Eelam.
8. The International Secretariat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is the international political agency of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and has as its remit the task of advancing and securing international recognition of the right of the people of Tamil Eelam to self determination and of advancing and securing for the people of Tamil Eelam those other collective and individual rights to which they are entitled in accordance with international law.
9. The Petitioners state that in the aforesaid premises the International Secretariat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is lawfully competent to represent the people of Tamil Eelam in proceedings before the United Nations and its agencies.
10. On Wednesday January 13 the ship, M.V.Ahat belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was unlawfully intercepted by the Indian Navy in international waters in the Indian Ocean. The boat was carrying Sathasivam Krishnakumar, (also known as Kittu), a senior Tamil leader and a founding member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and other members of the LTTE. The ship was then directed towards the South Indian coast by Indian Navy frigates. At the time that the ship was intercepted, Sathasivam Krishnakumar was on a peace mission to Tamil Eelam from Europe. The Petitioners annex hereto a letter dated January 20 1993 from the General Secretary of Quaker Peace & Service.
11. The news of the interception of the ship was first released from Paris by a spokesman for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, on the morning of Friday, January 15. Initially, the Indian government refused to confirm or deny the report of the interception. Later, Indian government sources unofficially admitted to news agencies that the cargo ship, with Kittu in it, had been surrounded on the high seas by Indian gunships and said: "We are yet to arrest him". But, even at that late stage, no official communiqué was released by Indian government sources.
12. The Indian authorities having blacked out all news of the interception for more than 36 hours, and having refused to officially confirm or deny the interception for another 24 hours, eventually, on the afternoon of Saturday, January 16 said that the ship in which Kittu travelled had exploded and that Kittu was not one of the survivors. Sathasivam Krishnakumar and nine other members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam died in Indian Ocean as a result of the interception of M.V.Ahat by the Indian Navy. The Petitioners annex hereto a transcript of some news agency reports relating to the incident.
13. It appears from some of the aforesaid news reports that India seeks to divert attention from its act of piracy by claiming that the ship carried ammunition. It seeks to bolster its claim by statements purporting to have been made by some of the survivors from the sunken ship. But even apart from the world wide notoriety gained by India's police and security services for the torture of those in their custody to secure so called 'confessionary statements', the facts relating to the interception raises several questions which the Indian authorities have significantly failed to answer.
14. Why did the Indian authorities black out all news of the interception for more than 36 hours? Again, why did the Indian authorities for 24 hours thereafter continue in their refusal to officially deny or confirm that such interception had been made? Does the Indian government suggest that it was one of those remarkable coincidences that the Indian Navy just happened to intercept a ship in the high seas which just happened to be taking Sathasivam Krishnakumar, a senior Tamil leader on a peace mission to Tamil Eelam from Europe? And how did the ship eventually get near to India's territorial waters? Does the Indian government suggest that the ship carrying Sathasivam Krishnakumar reached these waters voluntarily? Does the Indian government deny that the ship was directed to travel towards Indian territorial waters by the Indian Navy? What happened during the several hours after the ship's arrival there?
15. The Petitioners state that under the Law of the Sea Convention, which constitutes customary international law and to which India is a party, no state has the right to exercise jurisdiction on the high seas. Again, the Indian navy has no right in law to perform any police function, even within the Indian economic zone which extends to 200 miles from the shore and referred to by the Indian Defence Ministry in a press statement on January 16,1993.
16. The Petitioners state that the interception and the subsequent actions of the Indian Navy are not only acts of piracy but also amount, in law, to the pre meditated execution of a leader of a lawful struggle for the self determination of his people. They are actions intended to crush the lawful struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam for self determination. The actions of the Indian Government and its Navy are a gross violation of the collective right of the people of Tamil Eelam to self determination and is an act of war against them.
17. The further fact that the interception occurred when Sathasivam Krishnakumar was on a peace mission from Europe to Tamil Eelam serves to render the action of the Indian Navy a crime against peace. 'Crimes against peace' as defined in the proceedings of the Nuremberg Trials clearly include actions that disrupt or sabotage peace negotiations or initiatives.
18. The Petitioners state that the General Assembly is empowered to act under Chapter IV, Article 22 of the United Nations Charter to establish an ad hoc Tribunal to investigate and report on the gross violations of international law by the Indian Government and its agents and servants.
19. The United Nations cannot and should not allow such crimes to go without investigation and punishment. The subversion of the rule of international law anywhere sets precedents and serves to undermine stability everywhere. The Petitioners annex to this Petition the names and signatures of thousands, both Tamils and non Tamils, who have expressed their support for this petition to the United Nations.
20. The Petitioners pray