It has been a year since the Sri Lankan government declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in a conflict where massive violations were committed by both sides. The scale and nature of atrocities escalated in the last stages of the military assault between January and May 2009. Witnesses say, many thousands of civilians died, caught between the warring parties.
The Sri Lankan government’s armed forces and the LTTE completely disregarded protecting civilians through their appalling military actions. This is a blatant violation of international humanitarian law that prohibits indiscriminate or targeted attacks on civilians and hostage taking.
But where is the outrage? Why is the UN Security Council (UNSC) silent?
UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, tried to discuss the situation with the Sri Lankan President directly. But his actions to ensure accountability in
The survivors of the conflict have no closure. In
It is only international pressure in the form of a UN mandated independent investigation that will ensure that states like
Join Amnesty International’s campaign to ‘Make International Justice Real’ which will be launched on May 18th, 2010. For further information on the crisis in
The complete failure of the Sri Lankan government to genuinely address this impunity means that the United Nations must step in and conduct an independent international investigation as a first step towards international justice.
In particular, the truth must be established about the extent of violations that occurred in the final stages of the war, when the government prohibited independent monitoring and reporting by the United Nations and other observers.
Disturbingly, the United Nations has so far failed to take any effective action to establish the truth and demand accountability for violations committed in Sri Lanka.
For lasting peace in Sri Lanka, there must be accountability. Allegations of war crimes and other crimes under international law must be fully investigated and those found to be responsible must be prosecuted before competent, impartial and independent criminal courts.
Survivors and the families of those killed must be provided with full and effective reparations to address their suffering and to help them rebuild their lives.
Impunity will continue in Sri Lanka unless the United Nations establishes an independent international investigation.