Tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the final four months of the Sri Lankan civil war that ended in May 2009, an expert panel report submitted to the UN secretary general’s office has revealed. The three-member panel has advised UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon to establish an independent international mechanism to investigate alleged violations of human rights committed by both sides during the Lankan civil war. Led by former Indonesian attorney general Marzuki Darusman, the panel was constituted in June 2010.
The report came down heavily on the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, accusing it of deliberately shelling civilians, hospitals and aid agency offices. It accused the LTTE of killing Tamils and forcibly recruiting displaced Tamils to fill up their depleting ranks as the main leadership hub and cadres were trapped near a remote lagoon in north-east Sri Lanka. The UN had initially said at least 7,000 civilians were killed during the last stages of the war.
The report dismissed the government’s claim of conducting a humanitarian rescue mission of displaced Tamils held hostage by the LTTE. “The Government shelled on a large scale. It shelled the United Nations hub, food distribution lines and near the International Committee of the Red Cross ships that were coming to pick up the wounded from beaches,’’ report said. The Lanka government has questioned the authenticity of the 196-page report.