How many LTTE cadres died during the last phase?
Posted on June 16th, 2016

Shenali D Waduge


A lot of stories are floating across the media and much sensationalism about 40,000 or more dead gives rise to the need to seriously address the question of exactly who died during the final phase. Is the international community worried about the LTTE,  are they concerned about the civilian dead, or the civilian combatants dead and why do they not have any empathy for the dead soldiers who were only carrying out the national duty of safeguarding the nation from terror? While the whole world is running behind a 40,000 unsubstantiated figure nothing is being done about the 5000 missing soldiers whose names have been submitted to the UNHRC.


40,000 plus dead figure

These figures were floated by various people who were not even a mile near the conflict but are claiming to substantiate their figures by invisible unidentified overseas living ‘sources’. Good for them, perhaps they can next answer these questions too.


§  What are the names of these dead where are their relativeswhere did they livedo they have some sort of identification? So far nothing other than the chanting ’40,000 dead’.

§  OK, presume they died or were killed. On what grounds can the world say that it was the Sri Lankan Army that killed the dead? Please don’t put this question to that British forensic expert that the Channel 4 has hired because he has an unbelievable talent to look at a picture and say that the murder was committed by the Sri Lanka Army! Amazing, no need for police anymore, just take photos to this expert and he will tell you who the killer is!

§  Another puzzling question is … if people could video war crimes by the Sri Lankan soldiers which C4 relays why has no one videoed a single dead body being put into graves by these soldiers? Surely that is sensational footage… 40,000 dead is no small number and it has to take hours to dig graves and throw dead bodies inside.

§  If they died, where are their bodies, even skeletons? Let’s not forget Ban Ki Moon the UNSG arrived just days after the conflict ended and he and foreign media with cameras went on helicopters over the area where the last battles took place. They should have seen freshly dug and closed graves as would have the US satellite images taken. Sadly, even after the visit none of these visitors made any comment about freshly dug sites or provided photos that could have been graves. There goes another story!


Those involved in the number hysteria

§  Robert Blake, former US Ambassador started quoting 40,000 dead at the US Congressional Hearing  

§  LTTE supporter Siobhain McDonagh (Labor MP for Mitcham and Morden) declared 100,000 people had died and 40,000 of them were civilians – how did she count the dead from UK?

§  Gordon Weiss former UN official and mischief maker has been caught red handed dabbling in numbers too just to sell his book and become a world famous author….try some other fiction!

§  Charles Petrie review of the UNSG’s report came up with 70,000 dead

§  The Times of London – 20,000

§  Amnesty International – has been extensively quoting 40,000 figure

§  Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph – claims 147,000 missing (It is strange he has not placed one single name of the missing with the Commission though he can rally numerous priests to sign letters to the UNHRC calling for international investigations against Sri Lanka)

§  Alan Keenan the Project Director of International Crisis Group Sri Lanka placed civilians killed in the Vanni between 40,000 – 147,000

§  The Guardian editorial ( Sri Lanka: Evidence that won’t be buried (June 15, 2011),) – 40,000


The other ‘unacceptable’ figures


§  The Sri Lankan Government census by Tamil teachers in Feb/Mar 2012 placed the number of war related deaths at 7432

§  UN country team in Sri Lanka put dead at 7721 – Ban Ki Moon’s panel says this figure is too low to except but 40,000 and more is a perfect figure… what kind of reasoning is that?

§  Amnesty International in a special report titled ‘When will they get justice? Failures of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’ published in 2011 quoted 10,000 civilian deaths.

§  Satellite analysis report on the graveyards in Mullaitivu by the American Association for the Advancement of Science identified 3 graveyards which had expanded to a highest number of 1346 and one of the graveyards belonged to the LTTE showing 960 burials. Why did satellites not detect 125,000 dead bodies or even 40,000?

§  Survey by the Government in the Northern region at the conclusion of the conflict placed the number of dead and missing during the final phase at 7400 dead and 2600 missing. The 7400 dead included LTTE fighters killed in combat. Of the 2600 missing, 1600 had been with the LTTE whereas only 438 had disappeared in areas under military control.

§  In July 2011 Tamil Officers (mostly teachers of the North) did a population survey of the North covering migration, deaths, untraceable persons from 2005 to 2009. These officers declare 7896 as dead including LTTE terrorists while the number of natural deaths due to old age and sickness was 1102.

§  Dr. V. Shanmugarajah – says the death toll is closer to 1000 (thousand)

§  Rajasingham Narendran – ‘My estimate is that the deaths — cadres, forced labour and civilians — were very likely around 10,000 and did not exceed 15,000 at most’

§  Dr. Michael Roberts based his estimates between 10,000 and 18,000

§  Tamilnet the LTTE propaganda wing reported a total of 7398 deaths.  



What does the lawbooks say?

§  Rule 1 of the ICRC declares the Principle of distinction between civilian and combatant. According to the rule, parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilians and combatants. LTTE had a civilian force armed and trained to kill. Can these LTTE trained ‘civilians’ qualify as civilian under ICRC Rule 1? Principle of Distinction is blurred when LTTE has a civilian combatant force and LTTE also attack in civilian clothing.

§  Attacks may only be directed against combatants. Attacks must not be directed against civilians. LTTE should not have been shooting among civilians. Sri Lanka Army has every right to return fire because if they did not fire among civilians the LTTE should not have kept civilians among them too. However, LTTE has been firing among civilians since 1980s… was the UN asleep?

§  Under customary international law applicable to international and non-international armed conflicts. LTTE as combatants do not enjoy the protection against attack accorded to civilians.

§  LTTE also does not enjoy right to combatant status or prisoner of war status

§  Rule 6 declares that civilians are protected against attack unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities. How many Tamils either voluntarily or by force took part in hostilities (for a short time or throughout)?

§  A conflict that began in the 1980s and ended in 2009 cannot have just one group of victims and be confined to one select period. Every victim from 1980s, 1990s, 2000 upto 2009 must be given equal treatment. Sadly that is not how UN/UNHRC and foreign players are functioning.


§  This brings us to the key questions no one wants to answer

§  Does the UN know how many civilians did not take part in hostilities?

§  Does the UN know how many civilians took part in one or two acts of hostilities making distinction further complicated?

§  Does the UN know how many civilians volunteered to take part in hostilities?

§  Does the UN know how many civilians may have died while taking part in hostilities?

§  Does the UN know how many will admit and own up to being a civilian but took part in hostilities during the last phase?

§  Can the UN rely on these civilian accounts if all those saved claim they did not take part in hostilities and thus provide them the package of witness protection for no reason?

§  How many LTTErs fought in civilian clothing (pl note all 11,000 cadres who surrendered to the Sri Lanka military were wearing civilian clothing)

§  How many LTTE cadres died in combat wearing civilian clothing?

§  How many LTTE cadres killed were in uniform?



Some questions for you to think about


§  If Tamil civilians and entire villages were taken by the LTTE for whatever reasons best known to them it is the LTTE that must be blamed for compromising their own people.

§  Let us not forget the Sri Lankan Government gave several opportunities to the LTTE to lay down arms and surrender. The LTTE response was that they would fight to the last man. Vany Kumar on C4 herself says the people wanted to stay with the LTTE. Contradicting this there are many accounts of LTTE firing at fleeing civilians.

§  The legality of combatants and non-combatants clearly denies any civilian the protection of a non-combatant if they had been taking part in hostilities. LTTE declared that the civilians were helping them – if so they lose their civilian status. How many of these ‘civilians’ were realistically ‘civilians’ If civilians were subject to the definition of a combatant – it is the LTTE that has to be blamed not the armed forces.

§  Let’s not forget that 300,000 Tamils were saved and brought to safety (this figure comprised people who were genuinely civilians, some who were part-time combatant & civilian, LTTE in civilian. Nothing happened to 11,000 LTTE fighters – most of them are now rehabilitated and reintegrated into society – that speaks volumes

§  Where are the voices for demanding what happened to 5000 missing soldiers? These men have parents, wives, children – what about their rights, these families do not even have a corpse of their ‘dead’ war hero?

§  Let’s also remember that all these dead must be able to correspond and corroborate with the census population statistics……


Presidential Missing persons commission as per its website of 16th June 2016 gives only 19,006 civilians missing and 5000 soldiers missing as of 1st March 2016. So the golden question is why is no one logging the names of the 40,000 or more dead? Surely, they can at least name the dead and that is just a formality to start any further or future investigations.


If the whole issue of war crimes against the Sri Lanka Army rests on people being killed before any hybrid courts are launched or judges selected we should at least know that people actually died and the only way to know that is to produce the names and details of these dead. So far there is only 19006 names given from a period that covers 1983 to 2009. It would be interesting to know how many names have been given for the period 2007-2009.


So let us set aside the theatrics and get down to answering some fundamental questions. No war crimes can be alleged without proving that people were killed, to prove that, the onus is on those making allegations to name the dead. Once that is done, there is need to determine how they died (LTTE firing, Sri Lanka Army firing, cross-fire, accident, suicide etc) Without these steps being established the GOSL has no right to agree to any type of court, investigation, local or foreign judges whatsoever.




Shenali D Waduge



8 Responses to “How many LTTE cadres died during the last phase?”

  1. SA Kumar Says:

    The golden question- Have you loged name of SL Govt confirmed 7,000 dead ???

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Another GOLDEN QUESTION is …..

    Why is SA Kumar intent on maximizing the number of deaths in the last phase of the war???

    Is he still mourning the death of his SURYA DEVA who inflicted all of this misery and death on his own people?

    Or is he, like the rest of the Tamil Separatist Diaspora, protest-fasting on Big Macs, honing the war crimes weapon to a sharp edge??

    Or is he still harboring hopes of an DREALAM in Sri Lanka under the rubric ….”Who the hell cares how; We will get it somehow”???

    Why this kolaveri machang??

  3. Hiranthe Says:

    Thank you Shenali for putting together all these records.

    Yahap government will not read these. They are not bothered. They will go by the UN recommended numbers because they are different, high standard and gentlemen type, who are prepared to lick the boots of suddas..

    A great recognition!! Honerable Kalu Suddas!!!

    Rest of the people are Kalaweddas..

  4. Sirih Says:

    @SA Kumar,

    Govt have 7000 names that is missing from Jaffna and east since whole team went to each house and got data.
    Remember this is missing 7000 tamils from SL and some have perished and some are in foreign countries with assume names.

    Idiot Basil ignore this data since there is no money from this kind of work. MR’s biggest mistake was not taking the data and go after these colonial parasites that want to keep war/tamil wound open and get concessions from the SL govt.
    Now we all know Yanks are pushing for Trincomalee harbour with Japanese as a front.

  5. Dilrook Says:

    Agree with Sirih. Basil was the only reason for Mahinda’s defeat as well.

    Even if the dead persons are identified (essential for any criminal investigation to proceed), there is no way their deaths can be attributed to war crimes. Funnily enough, Tamils put the onus of coming up with a dead number on the government! There is no need for the government to oblige.

    This entire war crimes thing is only about dividing the country and appeasing South Indians. None of them want war crimes trials. They only want to use it to extort as much as they can. Therefore it is best to proceed with a domestic and independent war crimes judicial process. All lies will be exposed. It will destroy the biggest begging bowl of Tamils after the LTTE as well. However, the only downside is Rajapaksas will lose even more Tamil support as old wounds will be reopened. But that is negligible because over 90% Tamils already oppose or hate them anyway.

  6. SA Kumar Says:

    Why is SA Kumar intent on maximizing the number of deaths in the last phase of the war??? not My figure this is SL Govt data. You know machang My figure (500k less 287K) & Our Mathaya MR figure no civilian dead & UN figure & C4 figure.

    Why this kolaveri machang?? No more kolaveri We asked one TE but you gave Two (Saiva TE(NP) &Musliam TE(EP)

    only my personal sadness not your Shinha-Koddiya or our Puli-Kodi are not flying in the Japanaya Paddina sky instead of Indian flag is flying .

  7. Dr.K Says:

    Very reasonable questions from Shenali . The people like Wickrama Bahu, Mangala Samaraweera who support the fake war crime claim could you please answer those question?

  8. Sooriarachi Says:

    40,000 figure was an arbitrary number pulled out of thin air by one man. That was Gordon Weiss an Australian employee of the UN office in Colombo, after his job was not extended. Initially he predicted 7000 civilian deaths, which alleged figure the UN disassociated from and even at his book launch in Australia, when challenged by a member of the public, he revised it down to 10,000. However, the separatist elements within the Tamil community as well as their foreign buddies, conveniently hung on to this unsubstantiated figure, in the absence of anything else to sully the name of Sri Lankan armed forces, who sacrificed their lives to liberate around 300000 Tamil hostages herded around like cattle by the LTTE terrorists.
    As for the LTTE combatants killed in battle, General Fonseka should know the total, as he used to proudly announce a count of LTTE dead each day, during the last stages of the conflict.

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