A Channel 4 documentary on Sri Lanka’s 2009 military operation against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has prompted renewed calls for an independent investigation into allegations of violations of international law.
The 60-minute documentary, “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields,” screened on Tuesday showed what the channel claimed was previously unseen footage of alleged atrocities against civilians in the final weeks of the operation which ended in the defeat of the LTTE.
It depicted scenes of what purported to be extrajudicial killings. Men in military uniform were shown executing persons described as captured LTTE militants. It also showed alleged abuses carried out by the LTTE.
Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry described the footage as fabricated and said the film was intended to discredit the army.
British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said he was “shocked by the horrific scenes.”
“The recent U.N. Panel of Experts’ report, this documentary and previously authenticated Channel 4 footage, constitute convincing evidence of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The whole of the international community will expect the Sri Lankans to give a serious and full response to this evidence,” he said.
Father S.J. Emmanuel, President of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), said it had “awakened the international community to the truths of how brutal this particular armed conflict had been.” The Forum’s official spokesman Suren Surendiran called for “an international independent investigation into allegations of breaches of international law by both sides.”