Thursday, October 29, 2009

UN official says will investigate Sri Lanka's execution tape

The UN Special Rapporteur on arbitrary executions has said he is initiating inquiries into the video tape showing incidents of alleged extra judicial killings by the Sri Lankan Army.

"I have begun to commission some analysis of that video tape because I do think it is incumbent upon me and I think I owe it to the government
of Sri Lanka to try to probe more deeply," Philip Alston told journalists here.

In August, footage surfaced showing a Sri Lankan soldier
shooting at point-blank range a bound and blindfolded Tamil rebel. The video also shows eight bound corpses – reinforcing allegations about executions by Sri Lankan Army.

After initially declaring that the video was fabricated, Colombo did a self-investigation, which was widely discredited. More recently, Sri Lanka announced another probe into the incident.

Alston, however, said he was not convinced that the tape was fake nor did he trust the Sri Lankan authorities to carry out an independent inquiry.

"The government of Sri Lanka does not have a very proud track record in this area," Alston said.

Expressing doubts over any future committee of inquiry set up by Sri Lankan authorities, he stressed the need for independent investigators to be allowed into the country.

"I think the track record shows very clearly that unless you have some real independence there the situation in Sri Lanka today is not one that will lend itself to an independent an d impartial let alone convincing analysis," Alston told journalists here.

"Let individual investigators in... let them talk to tens of thousands of people who present at the time... which could provide eyewitness accounts, Lets get the truth on the table," he added.

The Special Rapporteur said insider investigations lacked objectivity and independence, and the Sri Lankan authorities had not made it easy for independent agencies to establish facts.

"The government of Sri Lanka has not permitted any such access... Until it is revealed that it is prepared to subject itself to scrutiny it is very hard to take its assurances that nothing happened, at face value," he said.


Related Links:
UN Rapporteur questions credibility of Lanka’s probes - Daily Mirror
UN questions the credibility of any probe - Hindustan Times

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