Sri Lanka Rejects War Crime Photos Released by Tamil Group

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Southern Asia
Sri Lanka
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister labeled the human rights groups as "patronizing, condescending and almost colonial", addressing the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

Minister GL Peiris made this claim denying the authenticity of photographs released by the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) showing a massacre of Tamils during the country's civil war.

"I wonder how he can do that, when he hadn't even have access to them as yet? That shows blatant disregard to general governance and rule of law" a GTF representative said to Sri Lanka Guardian Web Site.

GFF recently released a set of photos which showed blood stained bodies of young men and women who had been blindfolded and had their hands tied behind their backs. As the uniformed men can clearly be identifiable in these photographs and others which haven't been published, Rights Groups are to demand the government to act to maintain credibility. They say the government should get their Army Commander to verify whether these are serving soldiers and conduct a transparent inquiry to find out what happened to these men who appear to be Tamils who have surrendered to the Army on 18 May 2009 early morning.

GTF has stated that pictures had not been verified, but the details on the properties of the photos and the actual photos themselves appear to be originals.

"These photos show blatant disregard to humanity. We do not know the authenticity of these photographs. However this makes the case stronger for an impartial independent international investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity" Rev. Father S.J. Emmanuel's President of GTF said.

"The deafening silence of the international community to the alleged crimes that have been committed in Sri Lanka to say the least is disheartening and simply disgraceful. Many in our community do not know what happened to their loved ones and whether they are still living in custody or not. Some of these photos show particular disrespect to women and children. These people who alleged to have done this to our community are still occupying our land in North and East of Sri Lanka. Imagine what kinds of abuses must be still going on with impunity?"

"If Government of Sri Lanka has nothing to hide, why wouldn't they at least now admit to allowing the UN to investigate If these are not sufficient evidence - including many satellite images, video footage and even some of the lucky ones who survived the ordeal and have come out of Sri Lanka and are willing to give evidence to any credible independent investigation bodies. I do not know what more a brutalised community could do." he added.

Meanwhile spokesman for the Foreign Office said, "These allegations will haunt the country for many years to come, and will hinder much needed reconciliation between the communities".