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Sri Lanka experts silent, Wijesinha oblivious to forensic evidence

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 02 February 2010, 04:31 GMT]
Sri Lanka's video experts appear unable or unwilling to rebut the body of evidence presented at the Dublin tribunal, UN Rapporteur on Extra-judicial Executions Philip Alston's report, and findings from other independent forensic analysts that all ruled as flawed the analyses by the Sri Lanka experts of the video broadcast on Channel 4 showing Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers summarily executing Tamil prisoners, stripped naked and hands tied behind their backs. Rajiva Wijesinha, permanent secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, continues to advance his efforts to exculpate Colombo and the perpertrators from charges of war crimes by arguing that the video is fake, a spokesperson for US-based pressure group Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) said.

Rajiva Wijesinghe, permanent secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights
Rajiva Wijesinghe, permanent secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights
"Mr Wijesinha appears unable to avoid ad hominem arguments in his rebuttals, which recently has focused on the Alston's alleged "bulldog" statement. Wijesinha's statements have little probative value and continue to side-step independent forensic evidence of authenticity," TAG spokesperson told TamilNet.

In an article in the UK's Guardian attacking the New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) for "false accusations and refusal to engage [with Sri Lanka]," thereby "undermining the cause of human rights in Sri Lanka," Wijesinha asserts:

"Even Alston's three experts declare that a moving leg of a supposedly dead person is strange. The experts note, too, that there "are unexplained characteristics of this file, the most troubling of which appears in the final 17 frames of video," while they are equally unable to explain why the date on the footage is six months later than the incident was supposed to have taken place (and after the battle had been concluded). The claim that there may be a legitimate explanation remains simply a claim, with no effort to justify it."

On the matter related to the "most troubling...final 17 frames of video," TAG's spokesperson said that a Nokia expert's testimony to the Dublin tribunal has explained that "the "A" frame at the end was appended to the video clip by built-in software provided on all these Nokia camera phones."

TAG further said that the Nokia expert, who is also the author of this software feature, which allows users to append a signature/message at the end of the video in Nokia phones, has agreed to testify in any court of law on this matter.

"This feature has no significance to the authenticity of the video, as for example, a soldier may have entered his initial(s) to preserve his signature on the trophy video," TAG spokesperson added.

On the matter of the moving leg of the "dead victim," Firearms & Ballistics Consultants, Colorado, in a signed affidavit, explained that the "response is consistent with what could be expected by a dying person to another impact (ricochet) or very loud noise."

The detailed paragraph on this issue of controversy reads: "The bullet, after exiting victim #1, struck the wet ground close to the left side of another victim’s head – this victim was already down in a supine position, close to victim #1’s feet. The bullet appears to have impacted the ground between victim #1’s left foot and the previous victim’s head. Water spray consistent with the impact of a bullet onto wet ground can be seen in the video, and the response by the previous victim is consistent with what could be expected by a dying person to another impact (ricochet) or very loud noise."

"Remaining silent on all discredited theories advanced by Sri Lanka's video experts, Mr Wijesinha shifts his argument to the anomaly in the date, an anomaly Sri Lanka's experts did not comment on. Also, the date controversy is unlikely to be dispositive to the authenticity issue, as SLA would have had readily available Tamil prisoners to train their semi-automatics on in January as well as in July. Further, it is Colombo which is best placed to resolve the controversy by tracking down the SLA perpetrators of this dastardly crime to ascertain the exact date of the summary executions," TAG spokesperson said.

Related Articles:
21.12.09   Allegations of killing LTTE surrendees under UN probe
28.08.09   Horrendous video images indicate violation of International ..

External Links:
Island: Channel 4 video: The technical truth
Channel-4: Sri Lanka steps up death video rebuttal
Channel-4: Execution video: is this evidence of 'war crimes' in Sri Lanka?
Guardian: A watchdog exploited
Channel-4: McDonagh on Sri Lanka: ‘Watch Channel 4 News’
Channel-4: Sri Lanka footage: behind the UN verdict
Channel-4: UN probing Sri Lanka 'executions'



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