Sri Lankan govt deliberately killed innocent civilians, damning report finds


by Sunny
19th April, 2011 at 9:45 am    

Via Sepia Mutiny this big story is in the New York Times today:

A United Nations panel investigating allegations of war crimes by Sri Lankan troops at the end of the bloody battle against Tamil rebels in May 2009 found that there was credible evidence that government soldiers had targeted civilians, shelled hospitals and attacked humanitarian workers, according to a leaked copy of the panel’s report.

The long-awaited report, the result of an extensive investigation by Marzuki Darusman, a former Indonesian attorney general, contradicted the government’s assertion that the war was a humanitarian effort aimed at liberating civilians trapped with the Tamil Tigers in an ever-shrinking corner of northern Sri Lanka.

“The government shelled on a large scale in three consecutive no fire zones, where it had encouraged the civilian population to concentrate, even after indicating that it would cease the use of heavy weapons,” the report said, according to a leaked copy that was published over the weekend in the Island, a Sri Lankan newspaper. “Most civilian casualties in the final phases of the war were caused by government shelling.”

The fact that its been published in a Sri Lankan newspaper means more internal strife and accusations. It also vindicates many of Tamils who congregated in Westminster last year saying that innocent civilians were being killed in Sri Lanka.

Channel 4 News reported on this last night too, extensively. They called it Sri Lanka’s “Srebrenica moment”.

The UN is also criticised in the reporting for failing “to take actions that might have protected civilians.” The panel says casualty figures collected by the UN should have been made public at the time.

Releasing casualty figures isn’t enough. Why was the world happy to sit by and watch while this was going on, and ignore the pleas of Tamils everywhere to intervene?


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  1. sunny hundal

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  2. Andy S

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  3. Peter Manning

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  7. Steve Hewitt

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  8. velmurugan

    RT @researchpeter: this http://bit.ly/hZRYVu is very important for questions of #accountability and #humanrights in #SriLanka


  9. Bobby Friction

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  10. Sri Lanka: UN Panel Report Causes An Uproar · Global Voices

    [...] Asian diaspora blog Pickled Politics reports: The UN is also criticised in the reporting for failing “to take actions that might have [...]


  11. Sri Lanka: UN Panel Report Causes An Uproar :: Elites TV

    [...] Asian diaspora blog Pickled Politics reports: The UN is also criticised in the reporting for failing “to take actions that might have [...]


  12. riazbhatti

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Sri Lankan govt deliberately killed innocent civilians, damning report finds http://bit.ly/eJuLo7




  1. Kismet Hardy — on 19th April, 2011 at 10:31 am  

    “Why was the world happy to sit by and watch while this was going on, and ignore the pleas of Tamils everywhere to intervene?”

    Yeah, we’re all happy to give them plenty of attention when they’re in the cricket final…

  2. Tory — on 19th April, 2011 at 11:19 am  

    “Why was the world happy to sit by and watch while this was going on, and ignore the pleas of Tamils everywhere to intervene?”

    Probably because soldiers in the Sri Lankan army don’t have names like Bernstein and Goldman.

  3. cjcjc — on 19th April, 2011 at 12:51 pm  

    Perhaps because we cannot intervene everywhere?

  4. notafeminist — on 19th April, 2011 at 1:11 pm  

    And yet, Pickled politics and its writer, Sajini, welcomed Rajapakse effusively when he took power…

  5. notafeminist — on 19th April, 2011 at 1:32 pm  

    This is the thread in question.

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/157

    Your writer even descended into the comments to argue that a population decline of the Tamils then from 18% to 4% of the total population was not ethnic cleansing when the facts indicated otherwise.

    So do stop your anguished breastbeating about the Tamils now. Your mask slipped a long time ago.

  6. Optimist — on 19th April, 2011 at 1:46 pm  

    Kismat Hardy, What did the Tamils expect? From what I know they don’t have any oil, so no way the west would have intervened, unless ofcourse they happened to be next door to Russia

  7. Sunny — on 20th April, 2011 at 8:57 am  

    That was in 2005 you numbskull ‘notafeminist’.

  8. Mango — on 20th April, 2011 at 10:43 am  

    I’d be delighted to see the Sri Lankan government charged with War Crimes, as long as the UN has the guts to apply the same standards to Western governments engaged in their various wars of choice – usually involving killing large numbers of Arabs.

    I oppose only Sri Lankan leaders being prosecuted. If Mahinda, Fonseka, Gota et al are suspected (with solid evidence) of war crimes, they must be prosecuted. Where is UN’s campaign for Gens. Powell & Schwarzkopf, Pres Bush II, Blair and Gen. Jackson joining them in the dock? Justice must be equitable. Our guys did no more or less than anyone in the US/NATO/British leadership have done in the last two decades. If our guys our guilty, then so are the above and all should be treated alike.

    http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/sri-lanka-can-never-beat-the-west/

    Channel 4′s typically hyperbolic reference to Srebrenica is just drivel. Why not compare it to the Holocaust?

    Thousands of Tamil civilians died because they were used as shrapnel sponges/hostages by the LTTE in a vain bid to halt the SLA offensive. We all know the truth, so there’s no need to pretend, no?

    If the hypocritical pro-LTTE, UK-based Tamil diaspora wanted to save lives (and not just Tamil lives), they should’ve stopped Fatty VP from launching his ‘Final War’ in 2006. Remember, they funded and supported the LTTE’s war, but never sent their kids to fight. It’s too late to whine now after losing the war they fervently supported.

    The ‘world’ (you mean the Western world or the rest of it?) knew exactly what was happening and wanted the LTTE finished off once and for all. The sorry fact is that civilian casualties only mounted to around 4-7,000, after the LTTE used them as a shield.

    Here’s a great example of LTTE ‘civilians’ in action.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2T1FiwRmQo

    The UK Labour Party shamelessly pandered to their Tamil communalist voter base (including that disgusting creep, Milliband) in trying to prevent a SL victory, and this will not be forgotten.

    Why on earth should Sri Lanka listen to “pleas of Tamils everywhere to intervene?” when those same people were the ones funding and cheering on the LTTE? Not once did these demonstrating, defecating crowds tell the LTTE to stop shooting their own people as they tried to escape.

    This UN report (full of the usual half-truths, created by three patently biased, anti SL figures) is just another geo-political chess move to punish SL for getting too close to China and for having the temerity to ignore the UK & EU. The Rajapakse regime has now saved the lives of 6,666 people. In 30 years of war, 100,000 Lankans (Tri-Forces, Police, LTTE & civilians) died. This equated to (approx) 3333 violent deaths/per year. Two years of no war means at least 6,666 Lankans are alive today, who would be dead had the war continued beyond May 2009.

    The West intends to stay in Afghanistan for at least another 10 years to ‘stabilise’ the country. Probable civilian casualties expected by 2020, (est average of 2,000 per year) = 20,000. I wish the West every success in enjoying their stay in Afghanistan for the next decade or so and extend my sympathies to the Afghan civilians, yet-to-be-killed-by NATO forces.

    Where the SL govt can be strongly criticised is for not moving quickly with the post-war political solution. But if you think this deranged UN report will make that any easier, it has in fact made it even more difficult.

    Oh.. enjoy the new quagmire in Libya.

  9. Naadir Jeewa — on 20th April, 2011 at 8:12 pm  

    I wonder how Ocampo will respond. Time he started making use of proprio motu powers.

  10. H.R. — on 26th April, 2011 at 9:28 am  

    Another question to be asked: why was the Tamil diaspora so willing to let their brothers and sisters die on the beaches? I remember very well at the time the discussions on how the LTTE might be influenced/encouraged to let people go in some kind of temporary ceasefire. But many (most?) Tamil organisations explicitly said that was not an option – and suggested that the loss of life was worth the shame and bad publicity that this would bring to the Sri Lankan government.

    In the end, the outside world cared a bit about the carnage, but not quite enough to really pressure the Government to moderate its behaviour. The Tamil diaspora, the one group with any remaining influence over Prabakharan, were all too willing to sacrifice civilians to make a larger point – one which has long since been lost. They were mostly not willing to condemn the LTTE’s habit of shooting civilians who tried to get out.

    This is about as grubby as it gets – and I can just imagine the desperation of those poor people on the beaches, even to this day.

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