A new set of graphic photographs showing the alleged massacre of Tamil men and women during the Lankan civil war has triggered fresh demands for an international probe into war crimes that might have been committed as the fighting ended in May, 2009.
The photos were released by the London-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) during the Lankan foreign minister GL Peiris’s ongoing UK visit.
Some photos, like the 2009 video footage, show bodies of blindfolded and tied men and women.
Peiris however questioned the authenticity of the photos and said it was an attempt to tarnish Sri Lanka’s image in the international community.
"I wonder how he can do that, when he doesn't even have access to them as yet? That shows blatant disregard to general governance and rule of law," a GTF representative told the Sri Lanka Guardian Web Site.
GTF has stated that pictures were not verified, but the details on the properties of the photos and the actual photos themselves appear to be originals. In a statement released in Colombo, Peiris said that the group which was "close to the LTTE and had supplied the photographs to the newspapers themselves had admitted that they were not in a position to confirm the authenticity, place and the veracity of the material supplied by them."
Citing this as an example to explain the nature of the misinformation campaign against Sri Lanka, Peiris said when several photographs allegedly depicting war crimes were first published by Channel 4, the Government clearly established, by reference to technical considerations, that they were not genuine but fake.
In August, 2009, a video had surfaced showing men in military fatigues executing gagged and blindfolded men, who were claimed to be Tamils. The Lankan government had dismissed the video as fake.
But reports by three independent experts had strongly pointed to the authenticity of the videotape. It was announced on Wednesday by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, on the basis of detailed analyses conducted by recognised experts in forensic pathology, forensic video analysis, and firearm evidence.