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Sri Lankan execution video authentic: UN envoy

[AFP, Thursday, 7 January 2010 20:25 No Comment]

Independent experts have concluded that video footage allegedly showing Sri Lankan troops executing prisoners during the final phase of their battle against Tamil Tiger rebels last year was authentic, a UN envoy said Thursday.

The video, aired on Britain’s Channel 4 last August, "is authentic," Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions told reporters here.

He said the conclusion was reached by three independent experts and called for a "genuine and independent investigation" by the Sri Lankan government.

He noted that when the video showing the execution of a number of Tamil Tiger militants "stripped naked, bound and blindfolded and shot in the head by semi-automatic weapons" was shown, the Colombo government dismissed it as "a fake" and "propaganda" by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Alston said he asked three qualified experts to review the video after four Sri Lankan specialists had concluded that it was a fake.

He added that the result of the analysis of the three experts "would seem to point to the need for the government of Sri Lanka to undertake the investigation I had initially called for."

He said Colombo should ask the United Nations to set up an independent commission of inquiry.

Sri Lankan authorities have resisted international calls for a war crimes investigation after the United Nations alleged that more than 7,000 civilians had been killed during the first four months 2009 alone.

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