Sri Lanka used cluster bombs against Tamils, says Guardian

[TamilNet, Monday, 20 June 2016, 22:42 GMT]
New photographic evidence leaked by an employee of a large demining organization, Halo Trust, and independently corroborated by Human Rights Watch that the material pictured as the "remnants of Russian-made cluster bombs and unexploded cluster submunitions, emerged as the 32nd sessions of the UN Human Rights Council opened last week, said UK Guardian in an exclusive story Monday. The photographs depict cluster bombs uncovered within Sri Lanka Government declared "no fire zones" where Tamil civilians were asked to gather for their safety during the final stages of the war, the paper said. Reports produced by the UN and several rights groups have found that war crimes and crimes against humanity may have been committed by the Sri Lankan forces, but so far no senior member of the Government or the armed forces has been held accountable, the paper added.

TamilNet has covered news stories on Sri Lanka seeking to buy cluster ammunitions in 2006, and the ensuing carnages due to Sri Lanka's use of globally banned cluster munitions on Tamil civilians.

"The [new] revelations are likely to prompt serious questions for the current Sri Lankan government, which includes several senior members of the cabinet who oversaw army activity during the last days of the conflict," the paper said.

"The current president [of Sri Lanka], Maithripala Sirisena, held the position of acting defence minister immediately before the war ended, taking over temporarily from Mahinda Rajapaksa who was abroad. Rajapaksa’s brother, Gotabhaya, the defence secretary, was regarded as having directed much of war strategy.

"A leading member of Sirisena’s current cabinet, Sarath Fonseka, was commander of the army," the Guardian further said.

The U.S Government has so far failed to bring criminal charges against US citizen Gothabaya Rajapakse or permanent resident Sarath Fonseka, in spite of accumulating inculpatory evidence of criminality present in UN and in other independent reports, and the presentation of a model indictment by US citizens to the Department of Justice.

The US State Department later intervened to suggest sovereign immunity to former Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse when a civil case was filed against him by US citizens harmed by the war.

Legal sources in Washington said none of the three former Sri Lanka Government members are immune from further prosecution, especially civil cases in the US as long as they are alive, as statute of limitations do not apply to international crimes.

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External Links:
UKGuardian: Cluster bombs used in Sri Lanka's civil war, leaked photos suggest



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