We condemn in no uncertain terms the
despicable and barbaric behavior of the Sri Lankan military
which stripped naked and displayed for public viewing the fallen
heroes of the Tamil.
The 21 fallen LTTE heroes who attacked
and destroyed military planes and other assets in a daring and
valiant commando raid
on the Anuradhapura airbase last Monday.
There were three
women cadres among the suicide Tiger commandoes.
media reports and photographs show Sri Lankan parading the naked
bodies of the fallen heroes.
The fallen heroes were
unceremoniously stripped naked and thrown behind tractors used
to carry garbage and paraded in the town. The parade stopped at
road junctions for people to gawk and take photographs.
despicable and uncivilized behavior is a serious contravention
of the Geneva Conventions which states that parties to conflict
must treat and honor the dead with great respect.
The LTTE in
30 years of conflict has never done such a despicable thing. It
clear shows who is the matured and civilized combatants in this
conflict for the liberation of the Tamil people.
instead of returning the body the Sri Lankan military
unilaterally buried the bodies in unmarked graves, another
serious violations of the Geneva Conventions.
desecrations of the dead heroes is a cowardly act and also
totally against all ethics and norms Buddhism.
The display of
mutilated bodies is similar to the despicable display of the
naked bodies of LTTE women fighters killed in an abortive attack
on the Army's Ma'nal Aa'ru (Weli Oya) camp in 1995. On that
occasion the bodies of the women were mutilated with knives
before being handed back to the LTTE in body-bags. The Sri
Lankan Army also released photographs of the women's naked
bodies heaped in piles, some with their legs spread.
incidents are the norm with the Sri Lankan military and is not
an exception. Their barbarism runs deep.
The Geneva Convention
( for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick
in Armed Forces in the Field) in Chapter II, Art. 12 states:
the wounded or sick shall be respected and protected in all
# they shall be treated humanely and cared for
...without any adverse distinction founded on sex, race,
nationality, religion, political opinions, or any other similar
# women shall be treated with all consideration due
to their sex.
Art. 15 states: at all times, and particularly
after an engagement, parties to the conflict shall, without
delay, take all possible measures to search for and collect the
wounded and sick, to protect them against pillage and
ill-treatment, to ensure their adequate care, and to search for
the dead and prevent their being despoiled.
Art. 17 states
parties to the conflict shall ensure that burial or cremation of
the dead, carried out individually as far as circumstances
permit, is preceded by a careful examination, if possible by a
medical examination, of the bodies, with a view to confirming
death, establishing identity and enabling a report to be made.
They shall further ensure that the dead are honorably interred,
if possible according to the rites of the religion to which they
belonged, that their graves are respected, grouped if possible
according to the nationality of the deceased, properly
maintained and marked so that they may always be found.
main obligation to the dead is now found in Article 15 of the
First Geneva Convention which demands both sides "...at all
times, and particularly after an engagement� search for the dead
and prevent their being despoiled."
There is clearly a
prohibition against deliberate mistreatment of the body, either
through failure to treat it with appropriate respect or through
mutilation. Second, there is a prohibition on pillaging the
dead. These mandates concerning the dead are as much derived
from the customary laws of war as from the Geneva Conventions.
The Sri Lankan state has failed on both instance with their
barbaric act to stripe the fallen heroes naked and parade them
Such disgraceful behaviors is rare in disciplined
armies and clear indicates serious disrespect to the death
something that is wholly condemned in any society and by any
Putting the valiant death naked and on display as
propaganda is similar to what happened to US soldiers in Somalia
when bodies were dragged through the streets - it clearly
amounts to a war crime.
Sri Lanka has committed war crimes
against the Tamils and against the LTTE on numerous occasions.
The latest is last week's atrocities in Anuradhapuram. We urge
the United Nations and the International community to take stern
and firm action against Sri Lanka for committing war crimes.