UN official says Sri Lankan execution video authentic, calls for war crimes investigation

January 8, 2010

We mentioned in this site last August that a shocking video had been released which appeared to show extrajudicial killings in Sri Lanka during the final months of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the opposition Tamil Tigers.  The Sri Lankan government had denounced the video as a fake.  Today, a senior UN official presented the findings of three experts commissioned by him, which concluded that the video was authentic.   The official called for an independent inquiry into war crimes and other violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed during the war in Sri Lanka.   (The Sri Lankan government later criticized the UN official for publicly presenting his findings without first allowing the Sri Lankan government to respond.)

Separately today, the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the Secretary-General is considering appointing a commission of experts to advise him on addressing possible violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka.

Amnesty International has been calling for an international, independent investigation into reports of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including war crimes, by both sides during the closing stages of the war in Sri Lanka.  Will today’s statements at the UN mean that we may finally see such an investigation sometime soon?