18 May 2009 Sri Lanka defeats LTTE: If you can’t name the dead 40,000 there is no ‘genocide’
Posted on May 18th, 2022

Shenali D Waduge

Sri Lanka’s conflict is defined a non-international armed conflict. LTTE was an armed non-state actor. 3 decades of armed militancy ended on 18 May 2009. The military offensive took place amidst a humanitarian rescue operation that saved 294,000 people. The victory was marred by allegations initiated by entities linked to the militants. The most important question is why would Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces sacrifice over 6261 soldiers to save 294,000 Tamils but kill 40,000-200,000 Tamils (people who have no names, no identification & there is no skeletons even to prove they were killed) Can those making the allegations answer this simple question! Without proof that 40,000 – 200,000 existed, that they were Tamil civilians and not LTTE, without proof that the Sri Lanka Armed Forces killed them – no one has any right to be pointing fingers at the National Army of Sri Lanka. To claim genocide there must be dead people. Without so much as a mass grave or skeleton, how can there be ‘genocide’. Anyone making allegations must come out with facts & evidence or rest their case.

Accountability depends on Truth

Justice depends on Facts & Evidence

We cannot accept any figure – be it 40,000 or 200,000 unless there is proof that such a number existed, proof that they were in the war zone, proof that they were civilian as per international definition & proof that the Sri Lanka Armed Forces killed them.

Allegation that Sri Lanka has killed 40,000 to 200,000 Tamil civilians

Questions:    Proof 40,000-200,000 were killed

Proof 40,000-200,000 were killed by Sri Lanka Armed Forces

Proof 40,000-200,000 were Tamil civilians (LTTE combatants cannot be included to this list)

Proof any killings were intentional & deaths were disproportionate to the military advantage legally accepted in a non-international armed conflict.

Can those making the allegations prove Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces killed 40,000-200,000

Can those making the allegations prove this 40,000 or more Tamil civilians as per international definition

Can those making the allegations prove Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces intentionally killed & the deaths were disproportionate to the military advantage legally allowed.

DID 40,000 – 200,000 EXIST

WERE THEY BORN?

Establishing their identity

  • Proof of Birth of 40,000 – 200,000 (birth certificate or some form of identification)
  • The names of 40,000 – 200,000 (full name / parent’s names)
  • Addresses of 40,000 – 200,000 (home address/village/district/province)
  • National Identity of 40,000 – 200,000 (school ID/marriage certificate or national ID)
  • Registrar of Births proof
  • Grama Sevaka proof
  • School admission proof
  • Affidavits by family & friends that such a person belonging to this 40,000 – 200,000 existed

The above should be able to determine how many of this 40,000-200,000 quoted figure have names & some form of ID

WERE 40,000 – 200,000 IN THE WAR ZONE

HOW DID THEY DIE

WERE THEY LTTE OR CIVILIANS

Anyone can come up with 40,000 – 200,000 names & identifications, but they next need to prove that this number was in the war zone.

  • How did they come to the war zone – forcibly taken by LTTE, willingly joining LTTE or members of LTTE & their families (so this 40,000-200,000 must be divided into these 3 main categories)
  • How many of this 40,000 – 200,000 was forcibly taken by LTTE
  • How many of this 40,000 – 200,000 voluntarily joined LTTE
  • How many of this 40,000 – 200,000 were members of LTTE
  • How many of this 40,000 – 200,000 were members of LTTE families

We can presume this number to be far less if their birth identification & their presence in the war zone is not confirmed by proof/evidence.

HOW DID 40,000 – 200,000 ‘DIE’

The Sri Lanka Armed Forces cannot be charged of any crime, unless there is proof beyond reasonable doubt to claim they intentionally killed civilians. This next raises more questions

Civilian = anyone not engaged in any form of hostility (willingly or by force)

  • How many in the war zone were Tamils forcibly taken by LTTE
  • How many in the war zone were Tamils who willingly went with LTTE
  • How many in the war zone were Tamil civilians ready to take up arms with LTTE
  • How many in the war zone were Tamil civilians forcibly given arms by LTTE
  • How many in the war zone were LTTE (LTTE men/LTTE women/LTTE child soldiers)
  • How many in the war zone were LTTE in uniform & died during hostilities
  • How many in the war zone were LTTE in civilian clothing & died during hostilities
  • How many in the war zone were civilians forcibly put by LTTE to engage in hostilities & died
  • How many in the war zone were civilians willingly fighting for LTTE & died during hostilities
  • How many in the war zone were civilians who were shot dead by LTTE when trying to flee
  • How many in the war zone were civilians who died from fire by Sri Lankan Armed Forces

Who can put numbers to the above? 

Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces can be faulted only for the last item  

WAS 40,000 – 200,000 KILLED 

WAS 40,000 – 200,000 KILLED IN THE WAR ZONE 

WERE COMPLAINTS FILED

WHERE ARE THEIR BODIES

Establishing deaths of 40,000 – 200,000 Tamils

  • Did their families file police report of missing – if so are there 40,000 to 200,000 police complaints?
  • Habeas Corpus for 40,000-200,000 Tamils – how many have been filed?
  • Filing with the Presidential Commission for Missing Persons – how many have been filed?
  • Where are the skeletons of the dead – its 13 years now & if 40,000 – 200,000 has been killed by now their skeletons or mass graves should have been discovered.
  • How the hell did Sri Lanka’s soldiers did graves while fighting the LTTE to fit 40,000 – 200,000 dead bodies?
  • Given that LTTE fronts overseas claim there has been a ‘genocide’ have they filed names of 40,000 – 200,000 dead or are they just happy to be wailing ‘genocide’ & collecting funds for memorials?

If these 40,000 – 200,000 have not been killed and are not dead, can we presume they are ‘missing’ if they are ‘missing’ are they in Sri Lanka or have they sought asylum/refugee status and changed not only their identity but also their look through cosmetic surgery? Who can answer this?

A standard grave is 2 ½ feet wide and 8 feet in length and 4 feet deep. Exactly how many adult bodies can fit into such a grave and why is there no ‘eyewitness’ mobile phone shots of troops digging these graves, placing the dead inside the graves or killing them? All we hear is only allegations.

Therefore, if 40,000 – 200,000 are dead/killed – where are their dead bodies. US satellite images found only 3 graves, 2 of which were LTTE and had less than 3000 bodies. So where are these dead bodies?

13 years since end of LTTE, there should be mass graves & skeletons but none have been found. There is no explanation how Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces could have dug graves to put 40,000 – 200,000 dead while engaged in hostilities with the LTTE.

By 31 March 2009, LTTE was restricted to an area of 21sq.km.

Unless these questions are answered, Sri Lanka’s Armed Force’s cannot be declared ‘war criminals’ or Sri Lanka accused of ‘genocide’.

 Shenali D Waduge

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