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News

Sri Lanka’s ruling on Channel 4 video not independent - UN envoy

By Munza Mushtaq   

UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution, Philip Alston has expressed his doubts over the independence of the Sri Lankan Government’s ruling, which declared that the controversial Channel 4 video footage was a fake and doctored video clip.

In an interview with Radio Australia last week, Alston said he was unconvinced over the government’s findings even though the Sri Lankan government claimed to have carried four independent investigations into the video clip, which showed men in Sri Lanka military uniform executing civilians who had been stripped.

He criticised the President Mahinda Rajapakse led government for hiring four personnel who were ‘close’ to the administration to carry out the investigation on the controversial footage.

“The Sri Lankan Government has recently produced a statement by four experts.

The requirement under international law when there is an ostensibly a valid allegation that a serious human rights violation has been committed is to carry out a thorough and impartial investigation of the allegations. What the government has done, is to produce analysis by two of the members of its own army — in other words, the very body that is accused of carrying out the crime and perhaps unsurprisingly, these two army officials say that they don’t think the video is convincing,” Alston said.

He also expressed his doubts over the independence of the academic, who according to Alston has worked in the past for the government.

“I have no quibble with his qualifications or with what he said, but it’s still a very unsatisfactory approach when it comes to showing real independence and impartiality,” he said.

“And finally, they have used the analysis of another gentleman who is apparently based in Australia, but of Sri Lankan origin, who claims to have and appears to have a significant technical credentials in this area. He first wrote an opinion piece in one of the Sri Lankan daily newspapers asserting that this (video) was a fake, based on his own examinations. The government then took him up, employed him as an expert to provide a more detailed report,” he said.

The UN envoy disclosed that apart from a brief summary, the Sri Lankan Government has not submitted any detailed reports on the findings.

“The bottom line is that you have got very serious allegations and you have got a handful of experts who are extremely close to the government who provide no sense of an impartial investigation of the type required,” he added.

The investigations were carried out by international expert and former head of Cisco’s global broadcast and digital video practice Siri Hewawitharana, Senior Lecturer on Computer Science and Director of the Centre for Instructional Technology Dr. Chatura Ranjan de Silva, Chief Signal Officer of the Sri Lanka Army Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe and Major P.A Bandara attached to the Media Centre for National Security.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

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