Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Now, AI says credible investigation needed to ascertain numbers-Alleged killings and disappearances during war

By Shamindra Ferdinando- 

The Amnesty International (AI) yesterday admitted that a credible investigation was required to ascertain the number of civilians killed as well as enforced disappearances during the conflict in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan military brought the war against the LTTE to a successful conclusion in May 2009.

A credible inquiry was necessary due to varying unsubstantiated estimates in respect of dead and the disappeared, the London headquartered AI acknowledged.

Having met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and toured the northern region, the AI briefed the media at the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) regarding post-January 2015 presidential polls situation and accountability issues.

AI’s Secretary General Salil Shetty accepted the need to properly investigate major allegations against Sri Lanka in the wake of government reiterating its commitment to Geneva Resolution 30/1 adopted on Oct 1, 2015.

Jeannine Guthrie,Researcher for Sri Lanka said a thorough and credible investigation was needed.

The resolution called for the setting up of a judicial mechanism inclusive of foreign judges, defence lawyers, prosecutors and authorized investigators.

The AI team admitted the requirement for credible investigation when The Island pointed out the sharp differences between the AI estimate that10,000 civilians perished during the final phase, whereas the UN placed the figure at over 40,000.

Guthrie emphasized that as the AI had asserted that at least 10,000 civilians had been killed the actual figure could be higher and it was followed by the UN report. The Island pointed out that the UN report had been released months before the AI report titled ‘When will they get justice?: Failures of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’ was launched in Sep 2011.

Shetty acknowledged that the report had been launched after he succeeded Irena Khan in mid 2010..

The Island raised Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan recently declaring in New Delhi that over 150,000 Tamils had been killed during three decades long conflict and the UK parliament told in Sept 2011 that 100,000 Tamils were killed during the period January-May 2009.

Asked whether it wouldn’t be better if those who had been propagating varying figures to reach a consensus among themselves regarding the number of dead the enforced disappearances, the AI again called for a credible investigation to reach consensus on the issue.The statement regarding 100,000 Tamil, both LTTE and civilians killed was made by a Labour Party MP.

Shetty at the onset of the briefing claimed that the number of enforced disappearances could be as many as 100,000.

Asked whether the AI would take up with New Delhi killings, disappearances and other atrocities that had occurred during the Indian Army deployment in Sri Lanka (July 1987-March 1990) and also the military intervention in the Maldives (Nov 1988), Shetty said that the AI was ready to raise accountability issues on the availability of evidence.

The AI Chief stressed that nobody was above the law and his organization steadfastly stood for investigations into war crimes, crimes against humanity et al committed by all parties to the conflict.

The AI refrained from commenting on The Island observation that there hadn’t been any reference to Indian intervention in Sri Lanka in the 80s and alleged atrocities committed by the Indian Army and intelligence services.