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UN Human Rights Council Report on War Crimes in Sri Lanka
Sep 25, 2015

Unveiling the UN Human Rights Council Report on War Crimes in Sri Lanka in Geneva, UN Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said only a special court with international magistrates and investigators would be up to the huge task of examining the alleged crimes over a nine year period up to 2011. Many Sri Lankan and global human rights groups also support international involvement.

Key Findings

  • Numerous unlawful killings between 2002 and 2011, allegedly by both sides.

  • Enforced disappearances affecting tens of thousands over decades

  • The brutal use of torture by security forces, in particular during the immediate aftermath of the conflict

  • Extensive sexual violence against detainees by the security forces 

  • Forced recruitment of adults and children by the rebels, particularly towards the end of the conflict

  • The report said forced recruitment by the rebels would, if proven in court, be a war crime. The denial of humanitarian could also constitute a war crime.

  • One UN estimate is that 40,000 Tamils died in the final army offensive

  • The United Nations has called for a special court to try war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan army's long conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels. 

  • The UN human rights office accused both sides of atrocities, especially during the final stages of the war in 2009.

  • Top leaders of the LTTE did surrender days before the official end of the war on May 18, 2009, but they were killed in encounters with the Sri Lankan army.

The government of Sri Lanka has already proposed a domestic mechanism, and U.S. officials have publicly expressed support for it. The U.S. will sponsor a resolution in the Human Rights Council based on this report.

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