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‘Civilian casualties not because of army’

10 April 2013 10:20 am - 20     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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While claiming that International community had failed in their duty to stop the war crimes committed by the LTTE terrorists, the first part of the Army’s Court of Inquiry report stated that instances of shellings referred to in the LLRC report were not caused by the Sri Lanka Army.

The report, which was handed over to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa by Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya this morning stated: “…the instances of shellings referred to in the LLRC Report were not caused by the Sri Lanka Army and civilian casualties might have occurred due to unlawful acts by LTTE.”

“These acts include firing at civilians fleeing to the safety of Army held areas, dropping of artillery rounds fired by ill-trained LTTE gunners on to civilian concentrations, employment of sub-standard artillery rounds obtained from illegal sources by the LTTE, forced conscription of civilians including children and old people by LTTE for combat purposes, thus exposing them to danger,” the army said in a statement.

The statement says:

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa had made some observations pertaining to the Army and allegations made by Channel 4.

Thereafter in terms of Regulation 4 of the Courts of Inquiry Regulations 1952, the Commander of the Army convened a Court of Inquiry comprising of the under-mentioned officers to investigate and submit a report on the said observations made by the LLRC.

a. Maj Gen A W J C de Silva RWP USP psc - President
b. Maj Gen A K S Perera WWV RWP RSP - Member
c. Brig J R Kulatunga RSP psc - Member
d. Brig W R P de Silva IG - Member
e. Brig A S Wijewickrama - Member
f. Lt Col H M L D Herath RSP psc SLSC - Secretary

The Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya VSV USP ndu psc handed over the 1st part of the of the Court of Inquiry Report to the Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa RWP RSP psc at the Ministry of Defence today.

The Court examined senior field commanders and infantry, armour, artillery, intelligence, civil affairs and medical officers who had participated in the Humanitarian Operation. From the evidence presented, the Court of Inquiry concluded that LTTE terrorists had violated the international law with impunity by committing various unlawful acts inter alia, using of civilians as human shields, placing of artillery and other heavy weapons amidst civilian concentrations and illegal conscription of civilians, including children and old people, for combat purposes thus exposing them to danger.

Evidence before the Court has conclusively established that the Humanitarian Operation was conducted strictly in accordance with the “Zero Civilian Casualty” directive made by His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and commanders at all times obeyed the said directive and even where the LTTE terrorists had fired from NFZs, commanders refrained from firing at such NFZs. It has also been revealed that as an additional measure of safety, artillery commanders had added 500 meters more to the boundaries of NFZs given by higher headquarters.

During the Court of Inquiry it was transpired that LTTE terrorists had located artillery and other heavy weapons amidst civilian concentrations and from such locations they repeatedly fired at Sri Lankan Army positions. However despite heavy bombardments by LTTE terrorists, Sri Lankan Army troops had refrained from firing heavy weapons and this self-imposed moratorium had caused heavy casualties to Army troops.

Evidence revealed that at all stages of the Humanitarian Operation, the Sri Lanka Army behaved as a well-disciplined military force observing the IHL and the law of war and they took all the precautions to avoid civilian casualties and all those who came under the control of the Sri Lanka Army, including surrendered/captured LTTE cadres, were treated humanely observing the IHL to the letter. On the contrary, shocking details of war crimes committed by LTTE terrorists such as using of civilian as Human Shields, summary executions of civilians who attempted to escape to army lines, forced conscription of children for combat purposes etc were revealed at the inquiry. The Court noted that the International community had failed in their duty to stop the war crimes committed by the LTTE terrorists.

From the testimony presented, the C of I concluded that the instances of shellings referred to in the LLRC Report were not caused by the Sri Lanka Army and civilian casualties might have occurred due to unlawful acts by LTTE. These acts include firing at civilians fleeing to the safety of Army held areas, dropping of artillery rounds fired by ill-trained LTTE gunners on to civilian concentrations, employment of sub-standard artillery rounds obtained from illegal sources by the LTTE, forced conscription of civilians including children and old people by LTTE for combat purposes, thus exposing them to danger.

In his concluding remarks the Commander of the Army has stated that in any war, even those fought by western powers using state of the art hi-tech equipment, civilian casualties are inevitable due to the vagaries of war and although the evidence presented before the Court of Inquiry does not attach blame to any Sri Lankan Army member, if new evidence is presented by any person giving precise information on civilian casualties, such instances will be investigated further by giving such persons the opportunity to present their evidence.

The C of I will now proceed to investigate the 2nd part of their mandate, to wit Channel 4 allegation on summary executions of captured LTTE terrorists.
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  Comments - 20

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  • deema Wednesday, 10 April 2013 04:59 PM

    yes..you have a good future in politics..commander

    doc Wednesday, 10 April 2013 05:01 PM

    Zero civilian casualty policy was a POLICY...no one said that there were no civilian casualties...If you cant understand this look at what happens in afghanistan and pakistan daily...civilians get killed by US troop as a daily routine...They also has this policy...In any war civilians gets killed caught in the cross fire..Thats called co-lateral damage unless done intentionally!!

    Srilankan Wednesday, 10 April 2013 05:06 PM

    Well said Sir. These people are Brain donorslike the one like AAAA? They live today peacefully because of the Forces.

    Nadi Karunaratne Wednesday, 10 April 2013 05:38 PM

    True or false - we will not know without an independent investigation. No credibility if accusations made and the accused investigate themselves. Serves no purpose.

    Gunasekara Wednesday, 10 April 2013 05:55 PM

    We do not want the International Independent Investigation team to get trapped to landmine and get killed.

    AAAA Wednesday, 10 April 2013 11:00 AM

    Zero civilian casualty,,, fools are fooling the fools

    ANTON Wednesday, 10 April 2013 01:27 PM

    REALLY ???

    common man Wednesday, 10 April 2013 06:07 PM

    these people things we are fools to belive it

    zorro Wednesday, 10 April 2013 01:41 PM

    if it is such clear, then why don't you allow an independent inquiry??? and avoid any int. pressure? fooling the mass!

    Mat Wednesday, 10 April 2013 01:41 PM

    Funny huh :)
    How independent this report dude?

    dallas Wednesday, 10 April 2013 01:48 PM

    naduth hamuge baduth hamuge

    sahdi Wednesday, 10 April 2013 02:06 PM

    HARAK HARAK MEEHARAK..........

    shihan Wednesday, 10 April 2013 02:09 PM

    Yeah. They were all abducted by aliens.

    Fusion Wednesday, 10 April 2013 11:40 AM

    Right! The civilians killed themselves eh?

    Fair N Square Thursday, 11 April 2013 11:59 AM

    um may be if he joins SF.. as deputy.. but then again JJ betrayed SF so that he can enjoy the perks...

    Iron Shield Wednesday, 10 April 2013 11:56 AM

    Then !!??

    kasi Wednesday, 10 April 2013 02:36 PM

    Why cannot you allow the international independent investigation if you are not guilty?

    David Wednesday, 10 April 2013 03:11 PM

    No, LTTE killed them when they try to flee the human shield. Looks like you already forgot there were terrorists called LTTE.

    shan Wednesday, 10 April 2013 03:11 PM

    At the begining you told that "there are no civilion casulaties?"

    Dinithi Wednesday, 10 April 2013 04:23 PM

    It is a policy. Sometimes people who implement them do not follow the policy properly and people get killed like in any other war.


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