Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

14 June 2011

Q&A: Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields

Q&A: Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields

UK broadcaster Channel 4 is airing ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’, a harrowing documentary exposing shocking new evidence of war crimes committed during the closing days of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009. 

What new footage and new evidence of war crimes is in the Channel 4 documentary?

•    Previously unaired mobile phone footage of point-blank extrajudicial executions of three people, including a woman. 
•    Previously unaired mobile phone footage of dead Tamil Tigers, including women,,that suggests sexual abuse.
•    First video testimony of a Tamil woman who says she and her daughter were gang-raped by Sri Lankan Army soldiers.
•    Evidence and testimony that the Sri Lankan Army systematically and knowingly bombed hospitals and civilians, with the oversight of senior military and government officials. 

How significant is it that a woman speaks out about allegations of rape?
Such testimony is very rare, due to a fear of reprisal and the stigma attached to rape. 

How do we know the execution footage is authentic?
Amnesty International considers the previous and new mobile phone videos to be credible evidence of war crimes.
The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions has also concluded that the video is authentic

What is Amnesty International calling for?
Amnesty International calls for an independent international investigation into the extent of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The United Nations Secretary-General established a panel of experts to advise him on justice issues in Sri Lanka.  Their report has now been made public – what should happen next?

The Panel calls on the Sri Lankan Government immediately to “commence genuine investigations into these and other alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by both sides involved in the armed conflict.” The report also recommends that the Secretary General “immediately proceed to establish an independent international mechanism”.
 
Amnesty International has repeatedly called for the Secretary General to launch such an independent inquiry and has urged UN member states to support it. 

How important is a film like this in terms of pushing the human rights agenda?
The film reinforces the findings of the UN panel – namely that both sides committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
It contains very graphic footage in a long format documentary that lasts one hour and therefore has more impact on the public than a written report.
The film has been hugely important, making it impossible for diplomats to ignore that gross human rights violations took place.


Can I watch this film if I am not in the U.K?
Yes. The film will be available to global audience for seven days from15 June at:
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/sri-lankas-killing-fields.
 


Issue

Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes 
International Justice 

Country

Sri Lanka 

Region

Asia And The Pacific 

Campaigns

International Justice 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

30 January 2015

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should use his position as the Chairperson of the African Union to address key human rights concerns in different parts of the... Read more »

22 January 2015

The Attorney General of Mexico has failed to properly investigate all lines of inquiry into allegations of complicity by armed forces and others in authority in the... Read more »

26 January 2015

Tucked in a dark corner of a secret detention centre in The Philippines was a mock-up of the multicolour wheel used in the "Wheel of Fortune". But rather than spinning for... Read more »

30 January 2015

The UK authorities must respond urgently to a statement today by a former Bush Administration staffer that interrogations of CIA detainees took place on the British... Read more »

30 January 2015

Last night’s royal decree offering pardons for Saudi Arabian prisoners convicted on “public rights” charges will only be a step in the right direction if the releases do not... Read more »