Britain to screen film alleging Sri Lanka war crimes

14th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

A British film documenting the final bloody weeks of Sri Lanka's civil war, which it claims provides evidence of war crimes committed by government forces, will be broadcast on television Tuesday.

The Channel 4 film uses mobile phone, official army and Tamil footage, satellite imagery and stills shot in the final stages of the Sri Lankan army's battle against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) separatists in 2009.

Some of this footage has already been broadcast, including video allegedly showing troops executing Tamil prisoners. Two UN investigators have confirmed the video as authentic, but the Sri Lankan authorities say it is fake.

The 50-minute film, "Sri Lanka's Killing Fields", includes footage of the aftermath of the targeted shelling of civilian hospitals and the bodies of female Tamil fighters who appear to have been sexually assaulted.

It also examines atrocities carried out by the Tamil Tigers, including the use of human shields and the aftermath of a suicide bombing in a government centre for the displaced, emphasising that war crimes were committed on both sides.

Channel 4's head of news and current affairs, Dorothy Byrne, said: "The footage is probably the most horrific the channel has ever shown."

She added: "We believe this dossier of visual evidence combined with harrowing eyewitness testimony represents prima facie evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by forces of the government of Sri Lanka."

The film, the result of two years' work, was shown to the United Nations Human Rights Council in May, where the footage was again condemned by Sri Lankan officials as fake.

"Sri Lanka's Killing Fields" is being broadcast at 11:05 pm (2205 GMT) Tuesday in Britain and will be available to watch on the Channel 4 website afterwards.

© 2011 AFP

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