[TamilNet, Saturday, 16 January 2010, 22:51 GMT]
Dublin war-crimes tribunal, conducted by Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) based in Milan, which held hearings on Thursday and Friday on war-crime charges on Sri Lanka from eye-witnesses and other material evidence, in the preliminary findings issued Saturday said, Sri Lanka Government is “guilty of War-Crimes” and “guilty of Crimes Against Humanity.” The tribunal also concluded that the charge of Genocide requires further investigations. Eye witnesses included several escapees from the final week of Sri Lanka offensive in the Mullaitivu “No Fire Zone” where more than 20,000 Tamil civilians were allegedly slaughtered by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) training heavy weapons on them.
Full text of the press release issued in Dublin follows:
DUBLIN TRIBUNAL FINDS AGAINST SRI LANKA ON CHARGES OF WAR CRIMES
In Dublin today at 2 pm the Peoples Tribunal chairman Francois Houtart read the preliminary findings of the Peoples Tribunal on the war in Sri Lanka and its aftermath. There are 4 findings:
- That the Sri Lankan Government is guilty of war crimes
- That the Sri Lankan Government is guilty of crimes against humanity
- That the charge of genocide requires further investigation
- That the International Community, particularly the UK and USA, share responsibility for the breakdown of the peace process.
Harrowing evidence including video footage was submitted by eye witnesses of the use of heavy artillery and phosphorous munitions, and of the continuous violation of human rights by military activity to a panel of 10 international jurors over two days. Irish members of the jury were Denis Halliday and Mary Lawlor.
The Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka welcomed the preliminary findings of the tribunal. Responding to the findings the forum issued the following five demands:
- We call on the Sri Lankan Government to all the UN to conduct an inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated during the final stages of the war between the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and the LTTE, and during the war’s aftermath.
- We call on the Sri Lankan Government to release all those being detained in concentration camps and the estimated 11,000 people being held secretly at unknown locations.
- We call on the Sri Lankan Government to end the use of extra-judicial killings, sexual violence and the deprivation of food and water as weapons against a civilian populatiion.
- We call on the Sri Lankan Government to end the suppression of political dissent by violence or other means.
- We call on the Sri Lnkan Government to fully implement human rights for all citizens of Sri Lanka and a political solution involving the full participation of the Tamil population, ending the systematic historical discriminatory measures of the Sri Lankan state against the Tamil people.
The Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka asserts that long term peace and stability can only be established on the basis of full justice and rights for all the inhabitants of the island.