Will New Evidence of War Crimes Tip the Scales Against the Sri Lankan Government


On June 14, the British television network Channel 4 broadcast a stunning hour-long documentary presenting footage of horrific abuses allegedly committed by Sri Lankan troops during the last months of the country’s war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The images are graphic and profoundly disturbing. They include the execution of naked, bound prisoners; soldiers laughing and making macabre sexual jokes about women who appear to have been raped before they were executed; and images of bodies in field hospitals and refugee camps, which eyewitnesses said had been deliberately shelled by the Army in violation of international norms. It also describes the utter failure of the United Nations to do anything about it; the UN’s decision to leave the war zone made it possible for the Sri Lankan Army to finish off the LTTE without any independent witnesses. Journalists, too, were banned from the area.

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