[ Wednesday, 01 December 2010, 02:03.15 AM GMT +05:30 ]
Channel 4 News reveals new footage of the alleged massacre of Tamil prisoners which promoted a UN investigation last year, as the Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse arrives in London.
Three months after Sri Lanka declared victory over the Tamil Tigers, Channel 4 News broadcast footage apparently showing government troops summarily executing Tamils during the final push of the war.
Now damning material concerning the behaviour of government troops in the country's civil war has emerged.
The video shows the same incident as one aired 16 months ago by Channel 4 News which the Sri Lankan government maintains was fake. It showed the execution of bound men on a muddy track, purportedly defeated Tamil prisoners. A UN investigation later found that the video "appeared authentic".
The new video seems to show the same incident but rather than stopping after the execution of a second bound man, it continues and the camera pans left reveals the naked and dead bodies of at least seven women, with accompanying dialogue from onlookers who make lewd and callous comments which seems to strongly suggest that sexual assaults have taken place before the death of the women.
Channel 4 News Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jonathan Miller said: "The rest of the video is too gruesome to broadcast: women bound, shot dead, undressed; callous comments from onlookers laden with sexual innuendo. Since Channel 4 News received and broadcast the executions video over a year ago we have received hundreds of photographs and many more shocking videos depicting summary executions and rape. We've now sent this five minute 30 second video to the UN panel conveined to determine whether or not there should be an independent international war crimes inquiry." The video emerged as the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse prepared to speak at the Oxford Union later this week. The President arrived in London yesterday on a private visit to the UK.
Amnesty International told Channel 4 News the new footage was important to revealing the truth.
"This video will help show whether that other video was verifiable, credible or not," Sam Zarifi told Channel 4 News.
"Perhaps the most important part of what we've seen with this new video is there are more prisoners who seem to have been killed, there are more army personnel who are present.
"Very troublingly there are indications that deserved to be looked at about possible sexual violence. At least two of the bodies seen in this video seem to be of women, prisoners of war and some of the back and forth chatter is of a sexual nature."
In a statement the Sri Lanka High Commission denied the new video was authentic.
"The High Commission of Sri Lanka categorically denies that the Channel 4 News TV video is authentic. Last year when Channel 4 News telecast a similar video the Government of Sri Lanka clearly established, by reference to technical considerations, that it was not genuine but fake.
"The present video is nothing more than an elongated version of the same video."
The High Commission goes on to accuse separatists of being behind release of the video: "It is no secret that the anti-Sri Lankan separatist lobby which is behind these moves live in the comforts (sic) mainly in the West, and have not contributed towards restoration of normalcy and livelihoods of the deprived people affected by the conflict. Instead they continue to resuscitate the separatist ideology."
Deputy leader of the Vavuniya Municipal council M.M.Rathan stated by lighting lamps in the Wellamulliwaikal and Karaiyan Mulliwaikal people paid their respect to civilians killed in the final stage of war in year 2009. [More]
There is little doubt that in 2009 the government of Sri Lanka pulled off one of the nastiest episodes of mass killing since the Rwandan genocide – and got away with it. Tens of thousands of civilians were massacred, with barely a trickle of Syria-like imagery emerging from the battle zone, The Australian reported. [More]