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UN Envoy Sees Evidence of Serious International Crime in Sri Lanka Video

June 7th, 2011

Shocking video footage of summary executions apparently committed during the Sri Lankan civil war has been examined by experts and appears to be convincing evidence of “serious international crimes,” according to Christof Heyns, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Since late last year, the United Nations has closely studied the video that allegedly showed acts committed during the civil war that ended in 2009. “I conclude on the basis of the extensive technical evidence we obtained from independent experts that what is depicted in the video indeed happened,” Mr. Heyns told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, adding that “I believe that a prima facie case of serious international crimes has been made.” He said an international panel should investigate the evidence.

The charge adds to pressure on the Sri Lankan government to submit to an international inquiry into allegations that thousands of civilians were killed at the end of its 25-year war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Sri Lankan authorities have rejected the video as falsified and has responded angrily to U.N. criticisms. They have also rejected a recent report calling for further investigation into the violent end to the conflict in which tens of thousands of people – including many civilians – are believed to have died. The United States has warned that the lack of a credible investigation and a genuine process of reconciliation could lead to an international war crimes investigation.

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