United Nations: The Sri Lankan government
should further investigate the disturbing footage apparently
showing summary executions of men and women during the final
days of the country`s civil war in 2009, an independent UN
human rights expert has said.
"Our findings are that these executions really took
place and that has to be investigated further to establish who
did it and what was the context," Christof Heyns, the UN
Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, said.
"I do think a broader process is necessary to
establish whether these are crimes against humanity [or]
possibly war crimes that took place," Heyns was quoted as
saying in a UN release.
A five-minute video, authenticated by a UN expert
panel showed bound and blindfolded men being shot by uniformed
The grainy video, which first appeared on British
television, also showed soldiers mocking naked male and female
corpses lying on a dirt track.
Heyns said that it was important to determine if the
killings were part of wider pattern of systematic attacks
against civilians or prisoners of war.
He described the footage as "textbook examples of
In his report to the UN Human Rights Council, the
expert said further investigations needed to be carried out
and "what is reflected in the extended video are crimes of the
highest order definitive war crimes."
Last year, Philip Alston, who held Heyn`s position,
determined that the tape was authentic. "The result of this
analysis then would seem to point to the need for the
government of Sri Lank to undertake the investigation that I
had called for initially," Alston had said.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka`s representative Mohan Pieris
told the Council in Geneva that government had been precluded
from making a full assessment of the video because of the
blurred quality of the images and it was important not to rush
to conclusions, according to the release.