31 August, 2009

Sri Lanka War Crimes (told you so!)

Last night I watched another video in our
newsroom, this time from Sri Lanka.

It was sent to us by a group of exiled
journalists. It was chillingly reminiscent of
the Bosnia video.

The casual banter and laughter of the
uniformed killers was what I immediately
found so callous and shocking, as they kicked
in the head and then shot -- point-blank --
their bound, blindfolded, naked victims.

The raw footage -- one continuous shot
lasting one minute and eight seconds -- is

The group Journalists for Democracy in Sri
Lanka -- comprised of Tamils and Sinhalese --
claim the footage they.d obtained was filmed
in January this year and depicts the
extra-judicial execution of Tamils by Sri
Lankan government soldiers.

This video contains images that some may find



I think Steven Spielberg would have had a
hard job staging this grim scene.

We were unable to verify the authenticity of
the footage, but we did our level best to do
so and we would not have broadcast our report
had we not been confident with the expert
analysis we received.

Before we went to air, I watched the video
with a leading Sri Lankan human rights
investigator -- a Sinhalese himself -- who
provided forensic insights into its

This investigator has many years of
experience looking into abuses and impunity
in his homeland, but he.d never seen anything
like this.

Many detractors have made their points of
view clear in emails to Channel 4 News or on
the websites of newspapers like Sri Lanka.s
Daily Mirror.

While it.s true that Tamil Tiger insurgents
were known to masquerade in government
uniforms, what makes the video credible is
that telltale casual dialogue between the
killers as they dispatch their helpless

In rough provincial Sinhala accents, they
jokingly argue over who gets to shoot whom.

They take turns, mockingly play-acting the
popular folk game .kurupiti gahanawa wage. --
.Your Turn, My Turn..

When the Bosnian Scorpion video emerged in
Belgrade in 2005, the then UN War Crimes
Prosecutor was in Belgrade and commented: "I
have seen the video and there is no doubt
about the perpetration of crimes."

Two years later, a Serbian war crimes court
sentenced four members of the group to a
total of 58 years in prison for the
extrajudicial executions.

Will this happen in Sri Lanka, if this video
is indeed authenticated and these killings
deemed prima facie evidence of war crimes?

The answer is a resounding "No."

The Sri Lankan government has summarily
rejected all calls for an independent
investigation into alleged war crimes.

It is not within the jurisdiction of the
International Criminal Court to investigate
alleged war crimes in a state which is not
party to the Rome statute (Sri Lanka isn.t)
or in the absence of a UN Security Council
Resolution, which instructs the ICC to
investigate. This extremely unlikely to


TRO Vanni appeals to the people of Tamil
Nadu, the Government of India, the
international community and international
humanitarian organizations for the immediate
delivery of medical supplies by land, sea or
air within the next 24 hours.

Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation Head
Office: 254 Jaffna Road, Kilinochchi, Sri
Lanka Ph/Fax: +94 (0) 21 228 3947


Tamils murdered by bombing

26 January 2009

Over the last 24 hours over 300 civilians who
were awaiting relief and medical assistance
within the "Safety Zone" declared by the
Government of Sri Lanka have been killed and
several thousand injured in Udaiyaarkaddu,
Suthanthirapuram, and Vallipuram in the
Mullaitivu District by Sri Lanka Army
multi-barrel artillery and mortar shelling by
the Sri Lanka armed forces.

TRO Vanni is making an URGENT APPEAL to the
people of Tamil Nadu, the Government of
India, the Royal Norwegian Government, the
international community, international
humanitarian organizations and the United
Nations for the immediate delivery of medical
supplies and medical teams to the hospitals
in the Vanni.

These medical supplies must arrive within the
next 24 hours if the lives of these injured
are to be saved. If these supplies do not
arrive immediately there will be a nitarian
catastrophe of enormous proportions and
hundreds more will die.

The heavy shelling and bombing has caused
terror in the civilian population and many
have run into the jungles seeking refuge.
Many of these people are injured and are in
dire need of assistance.

Medical personnel and volunteers are unable
to access these areas due to continuous
shelling. All of the hospitals in the Vanni,
Kilinochchi Hospital and Mullaitivu Hospital,
have been displaced and are functioning in
schools or other public buildings. These
displaced hospitals have been stretched to
their limit due to the continuous bombing and
shelling of the Vanni over the past few

The injured have no access to medical
supplies and there are not enough doctors and
other medical staff available to treat the

The continuing indiscriminate aerial
bombardment and shelling by the Sri Lanka
armed forces has caused immense destruction
and suffering, which has been exacerbated by
the Government of Sri Lanka.s draconian
embargoes on supplies of food, medicine,
fuel, tents, tarpaulins, and other
humanitarian relief items to the people. The
attacks and the embargoes comprise a callous
effort to drive the population of the Vanni,
on pain of death and injury, into
military-controlled areas.


TRO Vanni appeals to the people of Tamil
Nadu, the Government of India, the
international community and international
humanitarian organizations for the immediate
delivery of medical supplies by land, sea or
air within the next 24 hours.

Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation Head
Office: 254 Jaffna Road, Kilinochchi, Sri
Lanka Ph/Fax: +94 (0) 21 228 3947

BBC buries .. the murder of Sri Lanka
journalist who said that the Sri Lanka DEEP
STATE bombs its own citizens!

SirLanka is one of the countries...
QUOTE: "..in the world routinely to bomb its own citizens."

(think 9/11, bali, madrid 11 march, bologna gladio)



On April 20, a roadside bomb set off by
government soldiers in rebel-held territory
in Sri Lanka killed a Roman Catholic priest
who was also a human rights activist.
Reverend MX Karunaratnam accused the
government of committing serious human rights
violations in its military campaign against
the Tamil Tigers.

gravely concerned following the killing of
human rights defender Rev. Fr. M X
Karunaratnam, Chairperson of the NorthEast
Secretariat on Human Rights (NESoHR), in
Vanni on 20 April 2008. NESoHR is a local,
independent human rights monitoring body in
the North East of Sri Lanka. Further

Posted 20/05/2008 On 20 April 2008, at
approximately 12:30pm, Rev. Fr. M X
Karunaratnam was killed in a claymore
anti-personel mine attack on
Mallaavi-Vavunikku'lam Road in Vanni. Rev.
Fr. M X Karunaratnam used the road regularly
to get to his residential prayer and
counselling centre in Vavunikku'lam. His
vehicle was known publicly.

On this occasion he was on his way to a
remembrance event for Mr Sivanesan, an MP for
the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), who was
reportedly also killed in a claymore
anti-personel mine attack on 6 March 2008.
Rev. Fr. M X Karunaratnam's car had broken
down and he was steering it whilst being
towed. The car which was towing him was not

Some reports have claimed that the Deep
Penetration Unit of the Sri Lankan army was
responsible for these killings. Front Line is
calling for an immediate, exhaustive, and
impartial investigation into the killing of
Rev. Fr. M X Karunaratnam.

In a recent report Rev. Fr. M X Karunaratnam
called for a United Nations body to be
established to monitor human rights
violations in Sri Lanka. He added that Sri
Lanka's human rights record was totally
unacceptable and that there had been many
adverse reports on human rights violations
against Tamils.


Wickramatunga is the latest in a long line of
Sri Lankan journalists who have been murdered
or silenced over the past two decades.

M. X. Karunaratnam was born in Jaffna.He was
a officer with the Bank of Ceylon before he
was opdained as a priest in 1989.Father
Karunaratnam was founder and Chairman of
NESHOR.He was also the Chairman of NGO
Consortium of Jaffna.He was engaged in relief
work for War displaced and worked in the
Tsunami relief.

M. X. Karunaratnam was a priest of the Jaffna
Diocese and served in the Vanni region of Sri
Lanka and worked from the LTTE controlled
parts of Sri Lanka. He worked for human
rights and called on the United Nations and
foreign human rights organisation to monitor
the human rights situation in Sri Lanka .
Earlier two other NESHOR
members and Tamil National Alliance MPs
Ariyanayagam Chandra Nehru and Joseph
Pararajasingham were killed.He was extremely
critical of the Sri Lankan government.

He was killed in the Mallaavi-Vavunikku'lam
Road in Vanni after he was returning from a
Sunday mass and going to a remembrance
ceremony for a Tamil National Alliance MP a
pro LTTE party Kiddinan Sivanesan who was
also killed similar fashion.He killed by a
claymore blast carried out allegedly by a
Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) of the Sri Lanka

,LKA,,48d5cbf9c,0.html 2008 Report on
International Religious Freedom - Sri Lanka

Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human
Rights, and Labor Cite as United States
Department of State, 2008 Report on
International Religious Freedom - Sri Lanka,
19 September 2008. Online. UNHCR Refworld,
available at:
[accessed 27 January 2009]

In April 2008 the Bishop of Mannar moved the
historical statue of Our Lady of Madhu from
Madhu Church to St. Xavier's Church in
Thevanpiddy to protect it from increasing
hostilities between government security
forces and the LTTE in the area. The Bishop
of Mannar asked the Government and the LTTE
to stay at least 1.2 miles away from the
church to enable civilian access.

In April 2008 Pastor Huthin Manohar from
Mannar was released from custody after 48
days in detention. Manohar's name was given
to police by Pastor Nahulan from the
Foursquare Church who was arrested in
February for transporting LTTE equipment and
explosives in his van. Police appear to be
investigating all pastors who may have been
closely associated with Nahulan or who may
have used his van. Six other pastors from the
Foursquare Church were arrested and later

In April 2008 a Sri Lanka Army (SLA) claymore
antipersonnel mine allegedly killed the
Chairman of the North East Secretariat on
Human Rights, Father M. X. Karunaratnam, in
Vanni (Northern Province).

In March 2008 the Foursquare Gospel Church in
Kelaniya, Gampaha District was informed by
the Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabha that the
approvals for constructing a new church
building were revoked and that work must stop
immediately. No reason was given for the

In January 2008 UNP parliamentarian T.
Maheswaran was killed at a Hindu temple in
Kotahena. The main suspect is a former member
of Maheswaran's security detail who has
connections to the progovernment Tamil party
Eelam's People Democratic Party. However, the
Inspector General of Police stated the LTTE
was responsible.

In October 2007 the bodies of Vavuniya Pastor
Victor Yogarajan and his two sons were found
buried near Negombo. The three had been
missing since March 2007.

In September 2007 an SLA claymore mine killed
Father Nicholaspillai Packiyaranjit, Mannar
Coordinator of Jesuit Refugee Service, in

In September 2007 unidentified men abducted,
severely abused, and killed Hindu priest
Subramaniasharma Ketheswara Kurukkal in
Jaffna as he was traveling to visit
relatives. His body was found on the road.

In September 2007 the chief monk of the
Boddhirukkaramaya Temple led a protest
against expansion work being performed on a
Catholic church just north of Colombo.
Protesters demanded that construction stop
immediately, warning lives would be otherwise
lost. A judge told Father Susith Silva to
suspend the church expansion. In October 2007
police interrupted mass at the same church
and sent worshipers home. The chief monk
stated that Buddhists in the area do not want
a church nearby and would not allow the
building to proceed.

In April 2007 an exchange of fire between the
Sri Lanka Navy and a group of youths during a
cordon and search operation killed Hindu
priest Ratnasabapathy Aiyar Somaskantha in
Velanai, Jaffna.

In January 2007 government security forces
shot and killed Reverend Nallathamby
Gnanaseelan of the Tamil Mission Church of

In August 2006 Father Thiruchchelvan Nihal
Jim Brown and his assistant, Wenceslaus
Vinces Vimalathas, disappeared after six
armed men followed them from a security
forces checkpoint near a predominantly
Catholic neighborhood near the Jaffna
peninsula. In March 2007 local press reported
that DNA tests confirmed Father Brown's
death; however, in June 2007 the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs stated the opposite.

In August 2006 government troops were accused
of firing into Philip Nerean Church in
Allapiddy, Kayts Island (Northern Province),
Father Jim Brown's church. Approximately 30
civilians died.

In June 2006 in Pesalai, government troops
were accused of opening fire at a Christian
church where hundreds of civilians, including
both Christian and Hindu Tamils, were seeking
shelter from an exchange of fire between the
Government and the LTTE.

In May 2006 eight Tamil men were abducted
from a Hindu temple in the north as they were
decorating the temple for a religious
festival. Eyewitnesses claimed the eight men
were taken away by Army personnel. However,
at the end of the reporting period, no action
had been taken by the Human Rights Commission
in Jaffna in response to petitions filed with
the UN Special Rapporteur for Extra-Judicial
Killings by the next of kin of the abducted.
The whereabouts of the missing individuals
remained unknown.

In 2005 Joseph Pararajasingham, a Member of
Parliament for the pro-LTTE Tamil National
Alliance (TNA) and a Christian, was
assassinated while attending midnight mass at
a church in Batticaloa in the east.


He also blames Sri Lanka's Deep State with
his murder and regular [[Gladio]]-style
bombing of its own citizens.
actor reading Wickramatunga's last article
(audio download and transcript) }}

Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge(April 5, 1958
- January 8, 2009) was a prominent Sri Lankan
anti-government journalist and
polatician who was assassinated on
January 2009 . He was known for taking
"governments of all hues to task" , was a
"virulent critic of the Mahinda Rajapaksa
government" , and had been "locked in a
legal battle with the president's brother,
defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa" , who
was seeking a military solution to the Tamil
insurgency .

Coming after numerous killings of
anti-government and other journalists -
e.g. P. Devakumaran (stabbed May 2008),
Sampath de Silva (shot April 2006), Taraki
Sivaram (abducted near police station, 2005)
- the murder of such a prominent journalist
was widely condemned across the world. The
Daily Mirror called it the "biggest blow" to
media freedom in Sri Lanka and the Editors
Guild held the government responsible for the
killing as it has failed to stop attacks
against media personnel. The government also
expressed shock at the killing, pledging to
do everything in its power to catch his

He had been on Amnesty International's
endangered list since 1998 when
anti-tank shells were fired on his house.
In a moving testimonial that was published
after his death, he wrote:

No other profession calls on its
practitioners to lay down their lives for
their art save the armed forces and, in Sri
Lanka, journalism.

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posted by u2r2h at Monday, August 31, 2009


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