Sri Lanka claims UN probe biased

2011-05-31 18:02

Geneva - Sri Lanka sought on Tuesday to discredit the findings of a UN expert who concluded that a video allegedly depicting Sri Lankan troops executing Tamil Tigers was authentic.

"It is respectfully submitted that the process adopted in regard to the publication of the videos and subsequent steps taken ... is tainted with the fundamental vice of bias and partiality," said Mohan Pieris, Sri Lanka’s attorney general.

"The facts that the contents of the video were not made available to the Sri Lankan government by Channel Four lends support to the suspicion that the broadcast of the videos was for a collateral purpose," he added.

Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, had concluded after examining a video provided by Britain's Channel Four, that the footage was authentic.

His investigation drew from findings by a forensic pathologist, two forensic video analysts, as well as a firearms expert, and came to the same conclusion as that of his predecessor Philip Alston, who had earlier looked at extracts of the video.

Pieris drew attention to the experts consulted by Heyns, noting that three out of four were the same as those used by Alston. The attorney general claimed that engaging the same experts could have led to a "general reaffirmation of the conclusions" of Alston.

He took aim particularly at one of the experts, saying that he is a technical representative for a software brand "which was used to enhance the 2009 video".

"This procedure does not augur well for the concept of independence as after all justice... should not only be done but should appear to be done," he said.

‘Blurred and illegible’

Pieris also complained that the images contained in Heyns' report were "blurred and illegible" and "not of a quality that could be examined and therefore precluded the government from making a proper assessment".

The footage shot during the final stages of the Sri Lankan army's battle against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) separatists, is available online on the special rapporteur's webpage.

It depicts naked, blindfolded men being executed by soldiers in an open field.

The disturbing images also pan over bodies of several men, as well as showed a soldier removing the cloth covering the upper body of a female corpse. Another segment has the camera focusing around the genital area of another partially naked female corpse.

Asked how he could be sure that the video was indeed shot in the conflict area in Sri Lanka, Heyns noted that the language spoken by the soldiers in the video is Sinhalese, and that one of the victims is a known Tamil journalist.

In addition, the Sri Lanka government has not disputed the location where the footage was claimed to have been shot.

"The only thing that has been placed in dispute in interaction with the government, is aspects of the reports of specialists.

"If there are issues with, say the background that is being used, the vegetation, those sort of things could be picked out if it is not authentic to the particular area.

"None of that has been placed on the table. The only thing placed in dispute is comparison of what the experts say and of what they say on their side," said Heyns.

"The combination of all these different factors together indicate to us that there is at least a prima facie case, a case that must be answered, that this happened indeed as it has been claimed in that particular conflict," he added.

The UN expert also urged Sri Lanka to carry out a credible probe into the video, saying that it has thus far done little more than poke holes at the UN's report.

"The approach of the government has largely been to look for holes in our report. What we're certainly asking is for the government to undertake its own investigation," said Heyns.

Read more on:    un  |  sri lanka  |  war crimes

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router The B683 wireless gateway (hereinafter...

From R1671.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.