Sri Lanka’s ruling on Channel 4 video
not independent - UN envoy
By Munza Mushtaq
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.
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.
criticised the President Mahinda Rajapakse led
government for hiring four personnel who were ‘close’ to
the administration to carry out the investigation on the
Sri Lankan Government has recently produced a statement
by four experts.
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
also expressed his doubts over the independence of the
academic, who according to Alston has worked in the past
for the government.
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,”
finally, they have used the analysis of another
gentleman who is apparently based in
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.
envoy disclosed that apart from a brief summary, the Sri
Lankan Government has not submitted any detailed reports
on the findings.
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.
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.