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UN Investigator Accuses Sri Lanka of Crimes Against Tamils

A U.N. special investigator is accusing the Sri Lankan government of serious crimes against Tamil civilians in the last phase of thecountry's civil war that ended in 2009. The investigator has presented his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.  

Special Investigator on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions ChristofHeyns said a video broadcast last year of the final stages of the civil war in Sri Lanka presents credible evidence of crimes committed by the government against the Tamil people.  

He said the video,which was broadcast by a British TV channel, shows naked people with their hands tied behind their backs being executed. He said these scenes were shot against the backdrop of corpses of other menand women, with similar head wounds.

Heyns said an investigation into the authenticity of the video has resolved a number of so-called unexplained elements.

“I believe that the prima facie caseof serious international crimes have been made by the video that I examined," said Heyns. "I can obviously not make findings of guilt as would a court of law do. But the inquiry should now be taken toa further level on the international, as well as domestic, level.”

Special Investigator Heyns said extensive evidence obtained from independent experts show what is depicted in the video happened. He says he is concerned the government has not produced evidence of an independent study into what appears to be very serious crimes.  

The Sri Lankan government denies charges that it committedviolations of human rights and humanitarian law during its military offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels. It accuses the United Nations and International community of being duped by adisinformation campaign orchestrated by the remnants of the Tamil Tigers.

Sri Lanka Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe vigorously defended his country’s record at the U.N. Human Rights...
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