The Sunday Leader

Claims Of Military Shelling Of Hospitals

  • UN War Report: Satellite Images

By Abdul H. Azeez

Udaiyaarkaddu Hospital

Alarming satellite images have emerged in the UN Advisory Panel report (now released to the public) that claim to show damage inflicted to hospitals in Civilian Safety Zones (CSZ) as a result of artillery fire from the Sri Lankan Army.
The images are displayed in a separate annexure of the report and show areas surrounding six hospitals hit by artillery fire. The Udaiyaarkaddu, Vallipunam, Ponnampalam, Puttumatalan and Mullaivaikal hospitals were shown along with arrows indicating areas of damage. Further maps and diagrams were provided in the report detailing trajectories of artillery fire and the layout of the firing pattern in terms of the location of the CSZs.
The images were processed by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Program (UNISAT). UNISAT is also the current home of researcher Lars Bromley (as evidenced by his profile on who was a key part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) that first analyzed pictures from the last stages of the Eelam war.
The Sunday Leader last week (April 24) detailed the manner in which the satellite images used in the UN war crimes report were obtained and processed. First, ‘airtime’ was purchased from satellites circling above the conflict zones at the time of the war. They were then routed to UNOSAT, AAAS and other interested agencies where they were analysed and studied for evidence of war crimes.
Bromley and his team analyzed pictures on giant 16 feet by 16 feet screens and went through complex algorithms to determine the flight path of mortars and artillery fire to see where they originated from. They subsequently pointed the finger at the Sri Lankan army and claimed that artillery fire originated from their batteries. The war crimes report has the following ‘explanatory note’ ;
“With support from the United Nations Office of Military Affairs and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR-UNOSAT), the Panel reviewed and assessed key satellite imagery – obtained from the public domain – of the conflict zone. The attached are examples of some of the images. The caption and analysis for these images were done by UNOSAT. The first six images show damage to hospital buildings consistent with artillery impact, with estimated dates of those impacts. While it is not possible to determine from the images which artillery hit the hospitals, it is clear that the damage is consistent with artillery fire. They also corroborate other information received by the Panel.
The second ten images show artillery batteries and their projected fire bearing and range capabilities, derived from the direction in which their barrels were pointed (which is visible from satellite imagery). The series of diagrams were designed by UNOSAT to show that artillery batteries were redirected over time from the first to the second and then the third No Fire Zones. The last image is a map of official and makeshift hospitals which operated in the Wanni Region prior to and during the final stages of the war, commissioned by the Panel.”
The authenticity of the pictures and the analysis that led to the conclusions made by the UN are yet to be challenged by the government. The report said that damage to hospital buildings was consistent with artillery damage and that artillery fire was directed over the no fire zones. The latter was apparently derived by looking at their projected fire bearing and range capabilities of artillery fire. No conclusions can immediately be made by simply looking at the images presented in the report. The small size renders the finer details unclear and additional annotations provided by UNOSAT conceal finer detail.

20 Comments for “Claims Of Military Shelling Of Hospitals”

  1. Rosh

    and the point being???

    • Mahen

      If you want to lie make sure you don’t get caught with your pants down!

    • Ruwan Ferdinandez

      Come on Rosh..the point is clear. Abdul Azees has to write something to earn his living. So he did.

  2. Ramees

    Now the so called “zero casualty human rescue operation” has been exposed with the facts. Now it is our duty to punish those war criminals who behind these mass murder of our civilians.

    • Buwa

      wow..! That’s a good one.

      I thought it was the LTTE, who was keeping our civilians against their will to become obvious target.

      If the LTTE and human rights activist are concerned about our civilians, they should have force the LTTE at that time, to let the civilian go as they wish. Instead they waited our civilian to die in cross fire and now they are trying to find out which civilian killed by which bullet.

      And also which mass murderers are you talking about? Is it the ones who killed our civilians at mosques and temples. Or is it the ones who killed our civilians by blowing up the buses and trains. Or is it the ones who massacre villages and killed politicians.

      it seems you are crying for the death of mass murderers, not for the civilians killed because of them.

      That is …..really sick.

    • Mahinda

      “Zero casualty humanitarian operation” do not guarantee no casualties. Any military operation zero casualty or otherwise has the potential of one or more deaths, deaths may be of civilians or military personnel.

  3. Randi

    Unfortunately, the present government has the talent for blaming everyone but themselves in matters like this, and this picture will be dismissed as “a doctored” photograph. The Rajapaksa regime has no credibility, and Sri Lankans have to realize that there will be many truths coming out of the report, and not dismiss the entire report.

  4. Mark

    The Point is that the so called rescue operation required the shelling of said hospitals and so designated no fire zones set-up for the safety of civilians. It is high time we used our brains and conclude that this indeed happened. Acknowledge the reasons for it and tender and apology instead of behaving like monkeys. In war these things occur however trying to deny it in the face of overwhelming evidence is plain stupid. But we have a very insecure government who cannot think clearly.

  5. kunchamani

    Ha,ha haaa,

    Rosh the Answer is:

    The UN has wasted its time with these FAKED images.

    You can wake up someone who is sleeping but not the one who is pretending. He will only spring up when really get a ‘shocking slap’ on the back.

    And the chances are that the slap is already on ite way.

  6. love2beTRAITOR

    wat the government didnt know is tht the US has satellite technology to look far at other galaxy and i’m so sure they have satellites which is powerful enough to zoom n see the faces of people n vanni n they have plenty of evidence of war crimes which is emerging now. just like the government sent the media out, they should have covered the whole north n east with pora bag so that satellites cant see wats going on bellow….lol

  7. Mida

    Point being Rosh is that SL is going down and is going down fast as murders and killers of innocent people. NOW THAT IS POINT.

  8. shaan

    Killing deadliest terrorist , is it a crime?

  9. mandy

    Time to charge war criminals at Hague court. Evidence of genocide has taken place.

  10. P.Mahes

    After all these pubilicity emanating from UN panel’s report SL government and the president parading on the May Day protesting against the report . Is the president declaring that No Fire Zones were not bombed by Sri Lankan Forces, and the civilian populaion not killed in many thousands?

  11. Bruz

    The govt has already denied everything. Accordingly, these are all tiger probaganda & diaspora trickery. They bribed UN panel & the satellite guys . What else is there to say ? Still the govt maintains their Zero casuality approach & humanitarian rescue
    story. This is something the world should know about conducting a successful war against a ruthless terrorist group.

  12. Rudy A.

    LTTE positioned their artillery guns and similiar heavy wepons at or very close to hospitals, refugee camps ,hindu temples and fired GOSL controlled area .
    The blind panel had not seen that.
    during a war, when you are receiving a motar or a similiar big gift from the enemy,will you run because the motar is coming from a hospital ground or you will defend by sending a similar gift to the enemy?
    GOSL had answered in the proper way to the LTTE menace.

  13. prk

    They have been accused – now it is the duty of the Government to convict and condemn. Wil they ever do it??
    Any organised protest marches and other events whasoever will not clear the accusations, unless it is proved to be wrong. The LLRC has asked the University Professionals to investigate the Channel 4 videos was a fabricated one or not almost 2 years since it appeared in the world’s TV channels. Where as the Secretary of Defence had made statements on a number of occasions, that they are fake and fabricated ?? Even if the University staff finds out that te Channel 4 videos are real, will they give a statement accordingly? Surely not. Because they do not want their heads filled with bullets?

  14. Mewan

    Mass murderers have been already punished.

  15. Rudy A.



    What about Iraq and afghanistan satellite images? What about Iraq satellite images of Chemical and Biological weapons. Where is IAEA report? Is that report presented to UN? Where is satellite report of Osama Bin Laden attack by USA forces? Any one can fool the world once not twice. Unarmed Osama Bin Laden killed by USA forces. Is it correct as per the International law? Where is amnestly international? where is humanrights watch dogs? where is red cross? where is UN secretary general’s stand?

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