Sri Lanka’s “genocide witnesses” were living abroad during the May 2009 conflict?


Interestingly, all of the so-called “witnesses” making wild allegations were not even in Sri Lanka during the conflict. The only 2 entities that were on the ground quoted casualty figures that were less than 8000 while all the other figures that emerged months later were from people who had not even set foot in Sri Lanka. How credible are their allegations? Confounding matters is when their sources in Sri Lanka were all pro-LTTE. Can third-party biased allegations from parties aligned to the perpetrators sans evidence be accepted to incriminate a national army & unfairly impose sanctions on them & ridicule them internationally – Sri Lanka’s National Army has every grounds to claim justice for this bias?

The UN Country Team claimed 7721 deaths in their internal report but then UNHRC head claimed the figure was too small to accept. Fine way to decide casualty figures!

The census by Tamil teachers placed war deaths at 7432.

Keep in mind that Indian embedded journalist Murali Reddy confirmed that from 13 May 2009 to 19 May 2009 there were no civilians in the strip LTTE were restricted to.

Also keep in mind UNHRC Pillay’s press release on 13 March 2009 said “as many as 2800 civilians may have been killed”. Note “may have”. May have doesn’t mean they were killed!

Equally important was the data compiled by the South Asian Terrorism Portal primarily based on figures released by pro-LTTE website Tamilnet which put the casualty figures at 2972 until 5 April 2009.

So the question to those claiming “genocide” is to prove when these 40,000 or more were killed since Murali Reddy states that there were no civilians inside the strip from 13th May to 19th May 2009.  LTTE was declared defeated by Sri Lanka’s National Army on 19th May 2009.

As per Navi Pillay’s figures even by 13 March 2009 only 2800 may have been killed. So how did this so-called genocide of 40,000 or more take place between 14 March to 12 May 2009 & why was it not reported as bi-weekly consultative meetings were held with all diplomats, UN officials and Sri Lanka Govt officials including the top brass of the armed forces until the conflict ended. Surely something is amiss.

How can the UNHRC Head who said on 13 March 2009 that 2800 ‘may have been killed’ was positive that 40,000 or more were killed to warrant successive resolutions, an OISL investigations and nothing but a witch hunt against a UN member state.

Even at that time, it was highlighted that she should recuse herself being a South African born Tamil which stood in the way of her judgement.

Upon retiring and appearing for LTTE commemoration ceremonies, her bias amply proves this point.

Another factor to note is that every allegation being made against Sri Lanka’s National Army is not coming from the families of the supposed to be dead.

The families holding photos of the dead are those of LTTE families, they cannot claim these dead as civilians. The LTTE was asked to lay down arms & surrender thrice, they refused claiming to fight till their last man. They were no innocent group. They were a militant organization internationally banned by 32 nations which continue to maintain the ban even 15 years after LTTE defeat. Therefore, LTTE families cannot claim their dead are civilians and media should stop covering their stories as civilian dead & manipulating the news & bringing disrepute to the National army & helping the campaign to put Sri Lanka’s military commanders in prison without evidence or proof.

Siobhain McDonagh (UK Labor MP) says 100,000 died & 40,000 were civilians. How did she count the dead from UK? A closer look at her statements on Sri Lanka, makes any to wonder where her information comes from. It’s not hard to find that out! The contents of her statements speak for themselves especially when she calls to repeal a constitutional amendment that prevents the separation of Sri Lanka!

Then there’s Charles Petrie. He was appointed to review UNSG’s report. For a conflict that lasted 30 years with the so-called international community or the UN apparatus not doing anything to stop LTTE killings or even LTTE abduction & churning Tamil children into child soldiers, the elements of this international community & UN post-LTTE defeat have got so pumped up to demand justice. The question is – justice for whom? Certainly not the victims of LTTE. Petrie report claimed 70,000 dead and he has not given any proof to the numbers too! From where do they pluck these numbers!

Then there’s the Times of London – their figure was 20,000 dead. How did they arrived at this number, no one knows. UK Guardian too came up with the 40,000 dead but no evidence.

Amnesty International came next to the scene with their 40,000 dead.

It turned into a competition on who could quote the highest number.

No one was bothered to question how they came up with the figures & where the evidence for these numbers were.

It came as no surprise when the Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph who opened the LTTE’s London Office in the 1970s quoted 147,000 missing. But he shied from presenting a single name of the missing to the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons or the OISL investigators.

The organization PEARL claims 70,000 to 169,796 were killed. Do they have names, some form of identification? 

Also joining in the numbers game was Alan Keenan of International Crisis Group. He put the 40,000 & 147,000 together and claimed that between 40000 & 147.000 civilians were killed.

Why are all the above too chicken to present the names of the dead or missing?

All these claims are not worth anything without evidence.

However every year since 2010, all that we see is photos of dead LTTE being garlanded & foreign MPs lining up to garland terrorists & issue statements on behalf of them.

Why don’t these foreign MPs, diplomats, UN officials and top INGOs come to garland victims of LTTE?

LTTE had its own media team, LTTE supporters who had phones were also releasing numerous videos & photos from the conflict zone and even Channel 4 were proudly presenting documentaries of the so-called footage. If so, where were the footage of 40000 people getting shot by Sri Lanka Armed Forces, where were the footage of the Sri Lanka Army digging holes to dump the dead? It’s not easy to kill 40,000 people & to make them disappear into thin air.

The UNSG flew on helicopter over the war zone 3 days after the conflict ended. Surely, he would have seen newly dug graves! But nothing of the kind was reported!

On 2 January 2009 Kilinochchi was captured by the armed forces resulting in LTTE taking Tamil civilians as hostages & human shields. How many of these civilians went voluntarily. How many civilians were members of LTTE families? No one wants to answer this question either.

Keeping civilians as human shields violates Third & Fourth Geneva Conventions, Additional Protocol 1 & ICC. LTTE claims civilians were voluntary human shields. The Bishop of Jaffna in a letter 25 January 2009 declared “we are also urgently requesting the Tamil tigers not to station themselves among the people in the safety zone & fire their artillery shells & their rockets at the army. This will only increase more and more the death of civilians thus endangering the safety of the people”. There is no scope for such in international law. LTTE is accountable for civilians that they took with them.

LTTE had no business to be inside the No Fire Zone as it was meant for civilians not LTTE. In so doing LTTE blurred distinction between combatants & civilians. Further LTTE dressed in civilian clothing & thus committed the crime of perfidy. It must also be pointed that LTTE had its own trained civilian armed unit. None of these members who died can claim to be civilians. Among the 297,853 Tamils that Sri Lanka’s army eventually rescued were close to 12000 combatants who were in civilian clothing including 594 child soldiers. When calculating the proportionality it begs to question why the national army would sacrifice 6261 soldiers to rescue 294,853 Tamils but kill some 40,000 “unknown and invisible” people?

While LTTE put their own people’s life in jeopardy, the Sri Lankan Army did not want to jeopardize the lives of civilians & as a result 6261 soldiers had to sacrifice their lives. Petrie, UN, the diplomats and the so-called international community has conveniently ignored this.

All of the entities throwing allegations at the national army also conveniently ignores LTTE shot & killed fleeing civilians as well as put their own injured combatants into buses & blew them up. How come none of these details have not entered any of UN’s reports? Why doesn’t these international entities apply the principle of liability on the LTTE (committing perfidy by pretending to be civilians, blurring distinction, abusing the NFZ created only for civilians & firing from it, shooting fleeing civilians, putting them in harms way, using them as hostages & human shields, forbidding them to go to safety)

Why were these “dead” or “missing” not reported?

  • How many families filed police complaint?
  • How many families filed habeas corpus cases?
  • How many families filed with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka?
  • Why were the names of the dead or missing reported to the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons set up in 2013? The Commission had only 18590 complaints of which 5000 were filed by families of missing Sri Lankan soldiers with names & IDs.
  • Even the OISL does not have names of 40,000 so-called “dead”
  • The in 2016 the Office of Missing Persons was established – why is the Chairman shy to call all entities making allegations of the dead to produce their evidence & details of the supposed to be dead people.

We have every right to demand the proof.

Allegations against Sri Lanka must be based on killing civilians not killing LTTE terrorists.

So far we do not have names of the supposed to be dead, there is no single dead body or skeleton and all that we see annually is LTTE fronts organize annual events, gather LTTE families, invite foreigners & then cry over dead LTTE, while their media networks relay this as commemorating “civilians”. All this happens because every government has been too chicken to ask forthright questions & demand answers with evidence.

Therefore, we need to clearly state that the lies and propaganda against Sri Lanka’s National Army must stop. Produce the names of the dead & ensure these were not combatants of the LTTE who died engaged in hostilities (they don’t qualify to be civilian) or were killed by LTTE trying to flee.

Shenali D Waduge

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *