Horrendous video images indicate violation of International Law - UN expert

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 August 2009, 22:23 GMT]
Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, commenting on the video clip aired in British Channel-4 TV, allegedly showing Sri Lankan troops executing prisoners, stressed the need for an investigation, AFP reported. The images, which Alston described as "horrendous," indicate a serious violation of international law if found to be authentic, AFP reported Alston as saying. The video showed victims stripped naked and their hands crossed and tied behind their backs, when they were executed.

Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions
Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions
"If the government's position [of categorically denying the allegations] is validated as a result of an inquiry, the international community can rest easy and the government will have been vindicated," AFP quoted Alston as saying.

Alston also pointed out that he had asked permission to visit Sri Lanka on several occasions in recent years, but Colombo had not given him the green light, according to the AFP report.

Sri Lanka Army soldiers action, of stripping naked the Tamil victims before summarily executing them, is more akin to what the Nazis did to the Jews, depriving their victims of the last shred of their humanity before dying," Professor Boyle of Illinois College of Law observed.

in Sri Lanka's ruling party, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, and Information Director Anusha Palpita said they had never heard of the group ‘Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka’ which sent the video clip to Channel-4, adding that it could be a front organization for LTTE remnants attempting to pump oxygen to the dying organization, according Sri Lanka media.

A UN press release issued on 9th May 2009 said: "The current humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka gives cause for deep concern, not only in terms of the number of civilians who have been and continue to be killed, but because of a dramatic lack of transparency and accountability."

Philip Alston said in the same release, "[t]here is good reason to believe that thousands of civilians have been killed in the past three months alone, and yet the Sri Lankan Government has yet to account for the casualties, or to provide access to the war zone for journalists and humanitarian monitors of any type."

British daily The Times on its 29th May issue revealed that at least 20,000 Tamil people were killed on the Mullaitivu beach by Sri Lanka Army shelling. Aerial photographs, official documents, witness accounts and expert testimony collected by the newspaper “present clear evidence of an atrocity that comes close to matching Srebrenica, Darfur and other massacres of civilians,” the paper’s editorial said.

Confidential UN documents acquired by The Times record nearly 7,000 civilian deaths in the ‘no-fire’ zone up to the end of April. UN sources said that the toll then surged, with an average of 1,000 civilians killed each day until May 19.

Related Articles:
29.05.09   20,000 Tamil civilians massacred by Sri Lanka – The Times
10.05.09   UN experts demand international scrutiny in Sri Lanka
10.02.09   UN experts concerned at suppression of criticism, impunity
23.10.06   Sri Lanka in "interminable and intractable crisis"- UN
15.07.06   Diaspora invited to UN envoy’s report launch

External Links:
UNHCR: Urgent international scrutiny needed in Sri Lanka
Times: Naked, bound and shot: how ‘Tamil rebel’ was killed by Sri Lankan soldier
Independent: Video that reveals truth of Sri Lankan 'war crimes'
UNDispatch: New allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka
UN: UN rights expert calls for probe into video of alleged executions
TorontoStar: Execution video sparks Tamil outrage
CNN: Video shows purported atrocities in Sri Lanka conflict
NYT: Video Sparks Calls for Sri Lankan War-Crimes Inquiry
HRW: Sri Lanka: Execution Video Shows Need for International Inquiry
UN: Civil and Political Rights, including the question of disappearances and summary executions, Philip Alston
BBC: S Lanka video prompts probe calls



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