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An international inquiry, especially into the violations committed by the LTTE, will greatly help process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka - Amnesty

UN must act now on war crimes report

Amnesty.org

26 April 2011

A United Nations report on war crimes committed during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war underscores the need for international accountability for those responsible, Amnesty International said today.

The report, which was made public today, concluded that tens of thousands of civilians were killed in northern Sri Lanka from January to May 2009 and that the Sri Lankan Government knowingly shelled areas where it had encouraged civilians to gather.

AITC26a.jpg

Sri Lanka's military held many of those who escaped the conflict in miserable conditions

The report gives credibility to allegations that both the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) committed serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

“Almost two years after the end of the conflict, this UN report finally exposes the Sri Lankan government’s whitewash in its efforts to deny justice to the war’s victims,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

“UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon must ensure that the UN established a commission of inquiry to collect evidence on the alleged crimes by both sides, to determine who did what to whom, and to recommend next steps for bringing suspected perpetrators to justice in a transparent and timely manner.”

Dr Manoharan's fight for justice for his son, killed during Sri Lanka's civil war

The report also adds weight to other allegations made since the conflict ended.

These include claims that the Sri Lankan government deliberately underestimated the number of civilians remaining in the conflict zone and systematically deprived them of humanitarian aid, including food and medical supplies.

The LTTE recruited child soldiers, held civilians hostage, using them as human shields, and shot people who attempted to escape, the UN panel found.

“Eyewitness accounts by survivors of the final months of fighting paint a very grim picture,” said Sam Zarifi.

“They lived in profound fear, suffering injuries and loss of life, and were deprived of food, water and medical care. Many of those who finally escaped the conflict zone were detained by the army in miserable conditions; some remain in detention without trial two years later. How can we deny them justice now?”

In a statement posted on a state news agency website on 21 April, the Sri Lankan government called on the UN not to release the report and rejected its findings.

China, Russia and other states that supported the Sri Lankan government’s campaign against the LTTE have blocked moves at the UN to consider alleged war crimes during the conflict, and joined Sri Lanka in opposing the establishment in June 2010 of the Panel of Experts that produced the report.

These states have looked to a Sri Lankan government-established Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission as a possible substitute for an international commission of inquiry into war crimes.

The UN report bolsters Amnesty International’s position that the national Commission is not impartial and has no mandate or will to investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes.

“It is time for the governments that have obstructed international scrutiny of the crimes to step aside now. The many other governments who have remained disturbingly silent must now come forward and demand justice for the conflict’s victims,” said Sam Zarifi.

Amnesty International also calls on the national authorities of other countries to exercise universal jurisdiction to investigate crimes identified in the report and to prosecute them in their national courts, where appropriate.

“An international inquiry, especially into the violations committed by the LTTE, will greatly help the process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka,” added Sam Zarifi.

3 Comments

Now that the government fought a no civilian casualty war, and the LTTE monster killed a lot of people and all, this is the best opportunity to invite an intrnational panel for an open inquiry and invite international media with a free access, so that they would go around and tell the world how wonderful the war against terrorism in Sri Lanka was. They will well and truly nominate HE Mahinda Rajapakse for a lot of wards without any damaging withdrawals. Are we game enough to do this?

Posted by: Rohan | April 26, 2011 09:02 PM

Clearly this is a fabricated story!!

There is NO WAY that Amnesty (or HRW or any other similar organization) would EVER hold the LTTE responsible for anything bad

Even though all these facts (Child soldiers, Human Shields) were well known to all these people during the conflicnt, none of them ever pressed the diaspora-LTTE to cease and desist

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2011 07:18 AM

My Good heavens Sam!!!, Bravo. Did Amnesty just wake up from slumber? Was it your actual words 'An international inquiry, specially into the activities of the LTTE'.

I thought in your books LTTE didnt exist , that they were mere civilians who for some common chore carried a gun barrel or two. Who for some unknown reason just placed bombs in busses, certainly not to kill but to enjoy the blast?

Well Well Well Amnesty, we all know your credentials. Your words of inquiry into LTTE should encompass the general diaspora who contributed monthly to the War and the banks that legitimately transferred same.

Well Hello Amnesty... I dont buy your line.

Expose the war funding LTTE cahoots now trying a TNG in order to still syphon money.....if you can.

Posted by: Dilshan Ferdinando | April 28, 2011 08:27 PM

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