Conflict & Justice

Leaked UN report accuses Sri Lanka of war crimes

A damning UN report leaked to Sri Lanka's Island Newspaper accuses both the Sri Lankan government and Tamil tiger rebels of gross violations of human rights amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, Sri Lanka Brief reports.

The newspaper quoted the report as saying, "the Panel found credible allegations, which if proven, indicate that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law were committed both by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Among those alleged crimes were "(i) killing of civilians through widespread shelling; (ii) shelling of hospitals and humanitarian objects; (iii) denial of humanitarian assistance; (iv) human rights violations suffered by victims and survivors of the conflict, including both IDPs and suspected LTTE cadre; and (v) human rights violations outside the conflict zone, including against the media and other critics of the Government," the leaked text said. 

According to Sri Lanka Brief, the actual report is to be published in full this week -- though its premature leak may suggest that the official version will water down the language in some areas.

Saying that the government's efforts to look into possible war crimes has not lived up to international expectations, the UN panel said, "The work to date demonstrates that the LLRC has not conducted genuine truth-seeking about what happened in the final stages of the armed conflict, not sought to investigate systematically and impartially the allegations of serious violations on both sides of the war, not employed an approach that treats victims with full respect for their dignity and their suffering, and not provided the necessary protection for witnesses, even in circumstances of actual personal risk.”