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Evidence points to Colombo culpability to Tamil massacre – Washington Post

[TamilNet, Saturday, 30 May 2009 14:44 3 Comments]

Adding to the increasing international media coverage of Government of Sri Lanka’s culpability to the massacre of more than 20,000 Tamil civilians in Mullaitheevu, Emily Wax of Washington Post in a Saturday story said, the beach "shows clear signs of heavy artillery shelling, according to a helicopter inspection of the site by independent journalists, interviews with eyewitnesses, and specialists who have studied high-resolution satellite imagery from the war zone." The paper notes Rights advocates view that "any government could defeat terrorism if it ignored the 1949 Geneva convention that aims to protect civilians caught in war zones," and adds that U.S. Justice Department is considering whether to seek criminal charges against Colombo officials based on information filed by Attorney Bruce Fein.

PDF: WP: Fresh Reports, Imagery Contradict Sri Lanka on Civilian No-Fire Zone

The "evidence contradicts government assertions that areas of heavy civilian populations were no-fire zones that were deliberately spared during the final weeks of military assault that ended this island nation’s quarter-century of civil war.

"We see a lot of images of destroyed structures and what look like circular shell craters and also, frankly, very large holes in the ground. If it was a shell, it must be a very large one to make 24-feet-wide craters," said Lars Bromley, director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights project, which was asked by human rights groups to study the satellite images, the paper said.

Bromley’s detailed analysis of shell damages were earlier reported in a New York Times article.

"Human rights groups have also raised questions about media reports that two senior Tamil Tiger rebels were killed while waving a white surrender flag. Government officials deny the allegation," the paper said.

"The government’s decisive offensive against the rebels, conducted in an area strictly closed to reporters and other independent observers, also raises larger questions about the rights of nations to take military action against their people beyond the view of the rest of the world," the paper said noting that the Sri Lanka has continued to reject international inquiries and continue celebrate its victory over the rebels.

In Washington, officials in the Justice Department are considering whether to seek criminal charges against Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s defense secretary and a U.S. citizen; and Sarath Fonseka, Sri Lanka’s army commander and a U.S. legal resident who holds a green card, the Washington Post article said.

Bruce Fein"Bruce Fein, a lawyer who represents the group Tamils Against Genocide, said he filed a 1,000-page report with the attorney general’s office detailing alleged bombings, disappearances and other attacks. Fein, a former associate deputy attorney general, said he hoped the evidence would lead to charges of genocide, war crimes and torture against Rajapaksa and Fonseka, who are widely considered architects of the government’s war against the Tamil Tigers.

"Fein, in an interview, said his group hopes to win a legal ruling to deny Rajapaksa and Fonseka U.S. visas and freeze their assets. If Rajapaksa and Fonseka were indicted, Sri Lanka would be obliged to extradite them to the United States under the genocide convention of 1948, he said," the article notes.

On the reaction of the Sri Lanka Government the paper said: "[w]e reject any allegations of genocide or war crimes in Fein’s case, or with the United Nations," said Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s minister of foreign affairs. "We would have finished this war months ago if we didn’t want to hurt civilians. It could have been over in days."

[Full Coverage]

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3 Comments »

  • Selva said:

    Rajapakse will get interrogated for his war crimes. Inspite of all his crimes he let loose Potu amman and Prabhakaran. Yes LTTE did lose this battle field. But the war was not lost. Fight for freedom will emerge back.

  • S.V.Ramanan said:

    Now the evidence is a deluge.Why do not Displaced Tamils of SriLanka,or Tamil News network draft a pettiti on with its archives and also from other sorces , document and collect signatures from Tamil diaspora and present it to Obama, Gordon Brown and the like and exert pressure.If some one or a group of people can organise this we shall see some concrete action intstead of wailing online.I am prepared to undertake this task.Would people with sensitivity forward dtls through TNT? No hue of politcs is to be involved.My concern is the lives of Tamils and nothing else now.

  • fdimul said:

    India who are totally behind this genocides along with China and Pakistan will see to it that Rajapakshe and his brothers are not prosecuted for their war crimes.

    Alone Rajapakshe brothers can do nothing. Everything they are doing now has also the approval of India. If India and China backs off then Rajapakshe will be in totters but India and China are competiting to be one step forward in being friendly with Rajapakshe.