News / Asia

    UN Expert Calls for Independent Investigation Into Sri Lanka War Crimes Video

    The footage shows the men - bound, blindfolded and all but one naked - lying and sitting on the ground. They are shot at close range by men in military camouflage.

    U.N. Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, 07 Jan 2010
    U.N. Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, 07 Jan 2010

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The U.N. special investigator on extra-judicial killings has called for the government of Sri Lanka to conduct an independent investigation into a videotape that appears to show the summary execution of nine ethnic Tamils by Sri Lankan soldiers. 

    The videotape aired in August by British Television Channel 4.  The footage shows the men - bound, blindfolded and all but one naked - lying and sitting on the ground.  They are shot at close range by men in military camouflage.

    At the time the videotape aired, the Sri Lankan government "categorically" denied its armed forces engaged in any atrocities against ethnic Tamils.  It said their war was only against elements of the Tamil rebels of the LTTE.

    Special Rapporteur Philip Alston told reporters he had the tape examined by three independent U.S.-based experts - a forensic pathologist, a firearms specialist and a video analysis expert.

    "Each of these experts subjected the videotape to a very careful and thorough examination," he said. "And each of them concluded that there was nothing to indicate that the video was a fake.  My own interpretation of their conclusions is that they point very clearly to the authenticity of the video."

    He said that while there were some unexplained elements in the tape, such as the date that was encoded in the tape, placing it after the end of the conflict, he said they could be explained in a manner "entirely consistent" with the conclusion that the tape is authentic. 

    Alston called for the government of Sri Lanka to respond to the allegations.

    "In light of the persistent flow of other allegations of extra-judicial executions committed by both sides during the closing phases of war against the LTTE, I call for an independent inquiry to be established 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," he said.

    The Colombo government previously commissioned a four-person panel of Sri Lankans to examine the tape.  Alston said two of the panelists were members of the army - the very group under scrutiny.  They unanimously deemed the tape a fake.

    Sri Lanka's U.N.misssion First Secretary, Political Affairs Maxwell Keegel criticized the U.N. investigator for holding a press conference to announce his findings less than 24 hours after he had given the report to Colombo. 

    "Without giving sufficient time for the government to respond, he has rushed to brief the public and, therefore, we feel that he has rushed in this manner," he said. "[It] makes us feel that he is pursuing his own agenda."

    Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban Ki-moon is considering appointing a commission of experts on the matter.

    "The Secretary-General has informed the Sri Lankan Government that he is considering the appointment of a commission of experts to advise him further and to assist the government in taking measures to address possible violations of international human rights and humanitarian law," he said.

    He said the United Nations is ready to assist the Sri Lankan government in conducting a full and impartial investigation into allegations of human rights violations.  

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora