Toronto: Indicting Sri Lanka of war crimes in the later stages of the ethnic war that ended a year ago with the annihilation of the Tamil Tigers, an independent international report on Monday asked Colombo to submit itself to outside probe into human rights violations.
In its report titled 'War crimes in Sri Lanka', the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said that if Sri Lanka does not comply, sanctions must be imposed on it.
Led by Canadian Louise Arbour, former head of the UN Commission on Human Rigths, the report said India, Canada, and the US which have big Tamil populations should put pressure on Colombo to heed and let in international investigators to probe human rights violations by its forces in the closing stages of the protracted ethnic war.
The report said, "Although both sides committed atrocities throughout the many years of conflict, the scale and nature of violations particularly worsened from January 2009 to the government's declaration of victory in May. Evidence gathered by the International Crisis Group suggests that these months saw tens of thousands of Tamil civilians men, women, children and the elderly killed, countless more wounded, and hundreds of thousands deprived of adequate food and medical care, resulting in more deaths."
Putting Sri Lanka in the dock, the report said, "Starting in January (last year), the government and security forces encouraged hundreds of thousands of civilians to move into ever smaller government-declared No Fire Zones (NFZs) and subjected them to repeated and increasingly intense artillery and mortar barrages and other fire.
"This continued through May despite the government and security forces knowing the size and location of the civilian population and scale of civilian casualties."
The report added that though there is evidence of violations by the LTTE men, "but most of them were killed and will never face justice."
To stop governments in other countries from adopting the methods used by Sri Lanka to solve its ethnic conflict, the report said an independent international inquiry against Colombo is essential.
Reacting to the report, Canadian Tamil Congress spokesman David Poopalapillai told IANS: "It proves what we have been saying all along about war crimes against innocent Tamils by the Sri Lankan forces. India should join other nations in putting Colombo in the dock so that war crimes are not repeated elsewhere in the world."