ModernityBlog

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Sri Lanka And The Tamils.

with 2 comments

The Sri Lankan army’s assault on the Tamil Tigers last year was particularly bloody. Civilians were killed in the onslaught and there was comparatively little media coverage, despite the numbers involved. It has emerged that there was the summary execution of Tamil Tigers by the Sri Lankan military as a press release from the UN states:

“GENEVA — Reports by three independent experts strongly point to the authenticity of a videotape released by Channel 4 in Britain which appears to show the summary execution of bound, blindfolded, and naked Tamils by Sri Lankan soldiers. This was announced today by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, on the basis of detailed analyses conducted by recognized experts in forensic pathology, forensic video analysis, and firearm evidence.

Alston commissioned the three reports following the publication of four opinions by Sri Lankan experts, all of which concluded that the video was a fake. The Government of Sri Lanka informed the UN Human Rights Council that it would therefore not be undertaking any investigation of the allegations made. “Senior Government officials called upon me to apologize and to withdraw the allegations,” said Alston. “They also criticized me for not having undertaken my own technical analysis. In response to that criticism and to what seemed to me the patent inadequacies of the reports commissioned by the Government (two of which were prepared by officials of the Sri Lankan army), I requested highly qualified and totally independent experts to undertake evaluations.”

Alston released the full text of the expert opinions in a “Technical Note” made public in New York today. “Together, the reports by these experts strongly suggest that the video is authentic,” Alston stated.

“Given these conclusions, and in light of the persistent flow of other allegations of extrajudicial executions by both sides during the closing phases of the war against the LTTE, I call for the establishment of an independent inquiry to carry out an impartial investigation into war crimes and other grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law allegedly committed in Sri Lanka.”

Alston summarized the key findings of the experts:

Mr Peter Diaczuk, an expert in firearms evidence, concluded that the recoil, movement of the weapon and the shooter, and the gases expelled from the muzzle in both apparent shootings were consistent with firing live ammunition, and not with shooting blank cartridges.

Dr Daniel Spitz, a prominent forensic pathologist, found that the footage appeared authentic, especially with respect to the two individuals who are shown being shot in the head at close range. He found that the body reaction, movement, and blood evidence was entirely consistent with what would be expected in such shootings.

Mr Jeff Spivack, an expert in forensic video analysis, found no evidence of breaks in continuity in the video, no additional video layers, and no evidence of image manipulation.”

The Times has more.

Something I posted on it last year, a worthwhile question.

Written by modernityblog

09/01/2010 at 23:32

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  1. […] Modernity Blog on Sri Lanka’s Tamils. […]

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