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Asia-pacific

UN urges probe on grisly execution video

Video by FRANCE 3 , Olivia SALAZAR WINSPEAR

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-03

The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions has urged the Sri Lankan government to set up an independent inquiry into a video allegedly showing Sri Lankan troops executing prisoners. (WARNING: video contains disturbing images.)

AFP - A United Nations expert on Friday urged the Sri Lankan government to set up an independent probe into the authencity of a video clip aired in Britain allegedly showing Sri Lankan troops executing prisoners.
  
Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said Colombo had categorically denied the allegations, but stressed the need for an investigation.
  
"If the government’s position is validated as a result of an inquiry, the international community can rest easy and the government will have been vindicated," he said.
  
"There is no justification for not moving ahead with such an investigation in view of the government’s confidence that such atrocities were never perpetrated by its armed forces," he added.
  

The images, which he described as "horrendous," indicate a serious violation of international law if found to be authentic, he said.
  
Alston also pointed out that he had asked permission to visit Sri Lanka on several occasions in recent years, but Colombo had not given him the green light.
  
The video footage, aired Tuesday by Channel 4 in Britain, was allegedly shot during the final stages of the army's defeat of Tamil Tiger separatists.
  
The rebels were finally vanquished in May after nearly four decades of ethnic bloodshed.
  
Sri Lanka's military had said the video was a fabrication designed to "discredit" its armed forces.
  
Widespread international concern was voiced over the number of civilians killed during the last leg of the fighting, while aid groups now fear for the welfare of 300,000 Tamils held in the state-run camps.

Date created : 2009-09-03

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