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International Pressure on Sri Lanka to Investigate War Crimes

Two reports released this week, by the State Department and the EU, detail allegations of war crimes committed by Sri Lanka in the final year of its 26-year civil war with the Tamil Tigers. The allegations include violations of international humanitarian law, crimes against humanity, and human rights violations. Specifically, the allegations include: civilians and civilian infrastructure were killed and damaged in the armed conflict, children being used in armed combat, combatants in captivity or attempting to surrender were killed, disappearances, and the reports critiqued the current humanitarian situation. More that 250,000 Tamil civilians who were displaced by the fighting currently are being held in closed army-run camps, which some suggest are little more than detainment camps.

World pressure is mounting for Sri Lanka to investigate the allegations. Many of the charges remain unsubstantiated, because of the very limited access of aid groups, humanitarian investigators and journalists to the war zone. The EU is threatening to revoke trade concessions worth tens of millions of dollars and could cause tremendous damage to Sri Lanka’s important garment industry. However, the allegations did not prevent Sri Lanka from recently receiving a $2.6 billion dollar IMF stand by arraignment earlier this year, despite British protest over the humanitarian situation.



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