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Surrendering Tamils were massacred by Sri Lankan army, says rights group

June 13, 2009

Press Trust India – Lankan army shot surrendering rebels: rights group

Guardian – Surrendering Tamils were massacred by Sri Lankan army, says rights group

A devastating report into the final months of Sri Lanka‘s brutal civil war claims government forces carried out a politically-motivated massacre of surrendering Tamil Tiger fighters.

The investigation by a leading Sri Lankan human rights group accuses elements of the Sri Lankan army of touching “the most depraved depths of humanity”.

But it also accuses the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] of torture, murder, and the forced conscription of children, and says the rebel group was probably responsible for most of the thousands of civilian casualties in the final days of the war.

The report was issued last night by the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) group, which has spent 21 years exposing abuses by both sides in the civil war.

Its investigators uncovered evidence that LTTE fighters gunned down civilians who they believed were trying to escape and that government troops threw grenades into bunkers where they knew civilians were sheltering and used a vehicle to run over injured civilians. There are also allegations that wounded civilians may have been bulldozed into mass graves along with the dead.

The most controversial claim, however, is that the government authorised a massacre of LTTE cadres after persuading them to surrender.

Citing sources within the Sri Lankan armed forces, the report points to a “politically ordered massacre of people who wanted to surrender or surrendered”.

It adds: “The army had for the most part conducted itself in a disciplined manner in trying to protect civilians. But once the command gives a signal for barbarity to be let loose, the men touch the most depraved depths of humanity.”

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