While refusing to go into most of the specific charges contained in the Channel 4 video broadcast on Wednesday, the Sri Lankan Defence establishment has denied “outright the wild allegations contained” in the new video, Sri Lanka's Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished.
The video accuses Sri Lankan forces of having killed Balachandran, LTTE chief V.Prabhakaran's son and others taken prisoners; of deliberately shelling no-fire zones set up within the war zones; of under-estimating the number of people trapped in the no-fire zone, and hence making available lesser rations, and of not allowing humanitarian aid into the zones.
The Army, in a statement, warned that it “may be in focus at the moment, but it will be another developing world country in the not too distant future.” Terming this a “western self-indulgence,” and “interventionism” using the media, the Army said that the video “clearly endangers peace and reconciliation within post-war Sri Lanka.”
Some of the images shown in the video are graphic and deeply disturbing. Pointing to these, the Army said that the video sought to “fan the flames of the very extremism that was defeated at the end of the civil war.” Insisting that the video was nothing but a campaign against Sri Lanka, the Army warned that “this sort of external media campaigning will encourage intransigence within those political forces historically identified with LTTE extremism” and would “postpone a final political settlement within Sri Lanka.”
The Army charged that “the clear intention” of the producers was to influence “the United Nations Human Rights Council meetings in Geneva.” Accusing Channel 4 News of relying on “sensationalist materials made available to it by anti-government groups and individuals,” the Army said that, “unnamed and disguised ‘witnesses' are once again used by Channel 4, together with sworn statements by an unnamed Sri Lankan ‘Army Officer'.”