Lanka Panel Chief Scales Down War Toll

Justice Paranagama says it was around 7,700, not 40K as claimed by UN report; Sirisena govt rapped for sitting on judge’s findings

Published: 21st September 2015 06:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2015 06:13 AM   |  A+A-

COLOMBO: The death toll in the final phase of Eelam War IV was not 40,000, as was claimed in  the 2011 report of the Panel of Experts appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, but probably above 7,000, Justice Maxwell Paranagama, chairman of the Sri Lankan Commission on Missing Persons and War Crimes, said on Sunday.

Speaking to Express, Paranagama said that while investigations by his panel could not come to any precise figure of deaths, it was “certainly not 40,000” as was stated in the United Nations report.

Justice Maxwell Paranagama.pngEven that report was not definitive, it just mentioned that 40,000 may have been killed, he noted.

“The Department of Statistics, which had done a house-to-house survey in the conflict zone, and the reports sent out by the various foreign Embassies suggest a death toll of 7,700 or thereabouts,” Justice Paranagama said.

However, our Commission could not arrive at any precise figure, but we think 40,000 was certainly an overestimation,” Paranagama added.

UNHRC Kept In Dark

Meanwhile, some former diplomats, ministers and human rights activists have written to Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena asking him to find out why the final Paranagama report, submitted to him on August 15, was not tabled at the on-going session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The Paranagama panel had been advised on international humanitarian law by an international team comprising Sir Desmond de Silva, professor David Crane, Sir Geoffrey Nice, and Major General John Holms.

In July 2015, the Maithripala Sirisena government had even appointed a Special Investigating Team to expedite investigations into some cases reported to the said panel.

The petitioners pointed out that the most recent investigative report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had said the Paranagama report was not given to them. If the report had been submitted, it would have had an impact on the thinking of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Since the Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has promised to release the Paranagama report, the petitioners asked  Sirisena to have it placed before the United Nations Human Rights Council, without delay.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp