For those unfamiliar with UTHR(J), they are a group of former professors, Tamils all, which has been critical of both sides in the Sri Lanka conflict– one of the few relatively unbiased sources of information and analysis on the conflict. Â They have strongly criticizedÂ both LTTE and GOSL, resulting in the assassination of one of their founding members by the LTTE in 1989. They have lived in hiding since then in fear for their lives.
Rajan Hoole, leader of the group, is the author of The Broken Palmyra (available for viewing online) which is, along with Sinhalese author T. D. S. A. Dissanayaka’s War or Peace in Sri Lanka (Volume II), one of the finest books on the origins of the conflict.
Now UTHR(J) has released a report on the closing days of the war based on interviews with witnnesses. It includes this disturbing report:
“Desperate attempts to surrender by Nadesan and Pulidevan of the LTTE’s political wing have been documented by Andrew Buncombe  in the Independent (19th May 09) and by Marie Colvin in Timesonline (24th May 09). They involved contacts between the LTTE’s international support group, Chandra Nehru Jr. MP, the UN, ICRC, Norway’s Environment Minister Eric Solheim and from the Government, President Rajapakse, his brother Basil and Secretary to the Foreign Ministry, Dr. Palitha Kohona. It was agreed that they would be safe if they hoisted a white flag, walked towards the Army and surrendered. Nadesan had said he had 300 people with him, some of them injured… After speaking to Chandra Nehru about 6.20 AM on the 18th, the party went with a white flag in a group of about a dozen men and women. Colvin quoted a source, who said, the army started firing machineguns at them. Nadesan’s wife, a Sinhalese, yelled in Sinhalese at the soldiers: “He is trying to surrender and you are shooting him.” She was also shot down. All in the group were reportedly killed.” (1.4.1)
The report also concludes,
“Given also persistent stories of a massacre from within the Army itself, an important task of an inquiry should be to lay bare the fate of those injured in the last week and what really happened from the 17th May evening to the 18th morning when the fighting ended.” (1.4.2)
In Section 1.6, the report notes that even some of the military’s own publicly-released photographs includes evidence of the slaughter:
“Some of the victims [depicted in the photos] had been executed by shooting into the ear. One wonders what made the Defence Ministry take pride in displaying these pictures.”
Previously, GOSL has maintained that victors are always pardoned for their sins. But did the U.S. and the Allies massacre captured soldiers when WWII ended? Or the alleged terrorists it captured in Afghanistan and Iraq? The analogies used by the Rajapakse administration don’t hold water.
This report suggests that GOSL went far, far beyond the bounds of necessity or decency, not only violating the Geneva Conventions and its contract with the Sri Lankan people, but reaffirming its own role as terrorists in Sri Lanka.