Posted by: tristar3research | May 29, 2009

The hidden massacre: Sri Lanka’s final offensive against Tamil Tigers – Times Online

Here’s a non-defence: “There were no civilian deaths because the U.N. wasn’t there to see the massacres!”Sri Lanka faced new calls for a war crimes inquiry today after an investigation by The Times revealed that more than 20,000 civilians were killed – mostly by the army – in the latter stages of the war against the Tamil Tigers. The army dismissed that figure as an exaggeration and repeated the Government’s assertion that not a single civilian was killed by government forces in the final assault on the northeastern conflict zone.Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, a military spokesman, declined to say how many civilian deaths had been confirmed, but insisted that they had all been caused by the Tigers, also known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). “This is an exaggerated story. Whoever has put up this report has been paid by the LTTE,” he told The Times. “There can’t be any civilians killed by government forces in that area. How can the UN know about this? It had no people on the ground.” The UN, however, described its figures as “well-informed estimates”, adding that it did not have “precise, verifiable numbers” because of a lack of access to the conflict zone and the camps holding refugees from the area.“The UN has publicly and repeatedly said that the number of people killed in recent months has been unacceptably high and it has shared its estimates with the Government as well as others concerned,” said Elisabeth Byrs, of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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