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Channel 4 special report on Sri Lanka war crimes

New investigations by Channel 4 and Human Rights Watch link the Sri Lanka Army's (SLA) 53 Division to war crimes recorded by a soldier on his mobile phone.

"This horrific new evidence demonstrates graphically that the Sri Lankan army engaged in summary executions of prisoners during the final days of fighting in May 2009," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"The government's failure to investigate these serious war crimes in the face of overwhelming evidence shows the need for an independent, international investigation."

Meanwhile, Amnesty International Asia-Pacific Programme Director Sam Zarifi said:

“Since the Sri Lankan government is unwilling to initiate an impartial investigation of its own forces or ensure accountability, this responsibility must now be assumed by the United Nations.”

See Channel 4's television reports here:

 

 See Channel 4's online reports here, here and here.

"Each time new evidence emerges of a wartime atrocity, the government's kneejerk reaction is to claim that it's all part of some bizarre plot against it," said HRW's Brad Adams. "How many more photos and videos need to emerge before the government recognizes that it can't hide the truth forever?"

Also see a May 2010 Human Rights Watch report implicating the 53 Division's Air Mobile Brigade in the execution of a captured LTTE Political Wing member here.

In response to accusations of war crimes, this is what President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at a 'victory parade' earlier this year:

“Our troops carried a gun in one hand and a copy of the human rights' charter in the other. … Our guns were not fired at a single civilian.”

See our editorial of 14 May 2010, 'Accounting for Vanni will define Sri Lanka’s future', here.