01/08/2010, 00.00
SRI LANKA

The United Nations: "The video is of tamil executions is authentic"

by Melani Manel Perera
Philip Alston, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has made a thorough survey to assess the tape aired in England, showing the Sri Lankan army killing the rebels. Colombo: "unfounded allegations, violated diplomacy."

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Sri Lankan army may have carried out extra-judicial executions against ethnic Tamil rebels against whom it waged a decade long civil war.  According to an expert from the UN Human Rights Commission, in fact, the video aired in August 2009 in England "has strong indications" of authenticity. The government in Colombo has rejected the accusations and accused Philip Alston, the UN expert, of "having violated diplomatic procedures."

 

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, not be intimidated replied: "I'm evaluating the possibility of appointing a commission of experts, to keep me updated and assist the local government to take necessary measures to avoid other violations of international law and humanitarian law in the future".   During his investigation Alston not only analyzed the video, but requested the help of a pathologist, an expert in images and a war expert.  

Speaking during a press conference, he said: "The conclusion shows that the video is authentic. I have asked the Sri Lankan government to respond to these allegations". The Civil War on the Indian Ocean island, which lasted 25 years, ended in May 2008 with the military defeat of the Tigers, the guerrilla army of the Tamil separatists.  

 

Alston has declared that there are elements not explained in the video, broadcasted by the British Channel 4. But he added that the experts reports have shown that most of the objections raised by the Sri Lankan Government to challenge the credibility of the video were flawed.  

Speaking again to reporters, he said: "Peter Diaczuk, a weapons expert, has shown that those images are real bullets and not blanks, as declared by the army. Daniel Spitz, a pathologist, can prove that the two people shot in the head really died, while Jeff Spivack, an expert on images, concluded that the video was not manipulated by anyone”.  

In any case, Colombo has decided not to cooperate. According to a spokesman for the Government, the United Nations "is waging a crusade aimed at bringing Sri Lanka before war tribunals. But we will not yield".

 

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