Wednesday, May 20, 2009
On Monday, the President of Sri Lanka officially declared victory in the country's 26-year civil war upon the death of the leader of the Tamil Tigers liberation movement. Sri Lanka may have experienced an historic end to active fighting in its long and boody civil war this week which has claimed an estimated 70,000 lives, but the fallout from those hostilities will continue to be felt for decades to come. Both Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights have accused the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger liberation movement of violating international humanitarian law during the conflict. Earlier this week, the Council for the European Union joined in the call for an independent investigation into the possible commission of war crimes by both sides to the conflict. A summary of the Council's May 18 report and recommendations can be found here. It is certainly hoped that the Sri Lankan government will take all necessary and appropriate steps to bring an end to the loss of life, to ensure respect for human rights, and to bring those to justice who may have committed violations of law. However, the Sri Lankan government's response thus far has been to deny all allegations and to resist international pressure.