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Sri Lanka faces Tamil suit on war crimes

July 25, 2009

The Age – Sri Lanka faces Tamil suit on war crimes

SUPPORTERS of the Tamil Tigers will seek to bring a war crimes case against the Sri Lankan Government.

Expatriates who funded and supported the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was defeated militarily in May, have formed a new umbrella group to keep the self-rule campaign alive.

The remaining senior figures in the LTTE have elected a new leader, Selvarasa Pathmanathan, following the battlefield death of Velupillai Prabhakaran, and said it had abandoned violence in favour of a peaceful campaign for an independent homeland.

Members of the 70-million-strong Tamil diaspora, which funded the LTTE, have now launched the Global Tamil Forum and plan to use funds to promote the rights of the estimated 300,000 people displaced when the Sri Lankan army advanced into the north. They are now being housed in poor conditions in detention camps.

The Global Tamil Forum said it would hire a leading human rights lawyer to investigate the possibility of bringing a war crimes case over the thousands of civilians allegedly killed in a “no-fire zone”. Tamil civilians were encouraged to flee to the zone but were subjected to heavy shelling once there.

United Nations officials estimate more than 10,000 civilians were killed in the army’s offensive; others have put the number at 20,000. The rebel group at its peak controlled a quarter of the South Asian nation’s territory.

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