Sri Lanka ends LTTE Terrorism: All foreigners commemorating “Mullaivaikkal Massacre” get your facts straight first
Posted on May 15th, 2024

Shenali D Waduge

Foreign MPs mustering votes will attend, INGOs/NGO representatives fulfilling geopolitical agendas will attend, diplomats ordered by their governments will attend, families of dead LTTE will attend, other Tamils will be forced to attend. This will be the coterie shedding crocodile tears very soon at a ceremony annually being eulogized as mullaivaikkal massacre”. These representatives proves how LTTE terror lasted 30 years & why LTTE fronts emerged immediately after Prabakaran’s death & located mostly on western capitals. Flogging a dead tiger has its merits!

This so-called massacre would be worthwhile if we knew the exact figure of the supposed to be genocide & more importantly at least the names of the supposed to be dead. However, 15 years on, we still have only the photos of dead LTTE terrorists being garlanded and it is hilarious to see photos of foreign MPs laying flowers before them!

So let’s go back in time & run through some facts.

18 year old Prabakaran (born in 1954 & died age 54) formed Tamil New Tigers in May 1972 the very year Sri Lanka presented its Republican Constitution removing all ties with colonial Britain.  Incidentally, LTTE’s first international office was in London & opened in the 1970s itself by Bishop Rayappu Joseph and quite a number of Catholic priests turned out to be LTTE sympathizers over the years.

Council of Foreign Relations states LTTE & other Tamil militant groups were trained by India in India in late 1970s. The Jain Commission Interim Report details the camps that the Sri Lankan militants were given training in & affidavits give further proof of Indian involvement. LTTE emerged the more ruthless out of the groups. India ran 32 training camps. India even supplied arms & financial assistance. Does this not make India a state sponsor of terror? Why does the UN or West not mention India’s involvement in birthing terror in Sri Lanka & against Sri Lanka?

Here’s where the situation gets somewhat complicated. Having trained over 30 militants, LTTE was not the favored because of Prabakaran’s unpredictable behavior. This can be attributed to his ordering the assassination of Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi, though we do not know his reason. Yet, geopolitics was more important to India – they could have used this to eliminate the LTTE completely but they did not. India’s intent in signing the Indo-Lanka Accord in 1987 was to order Indian troops to eliminate Prabakaran, place Perumal as leader as Indian troops were training another movement to replace LTTE. Things did not work to plan & eventually close to 2000 Indian soldiers died & the troops were packed back to India unceremoniously. It is after the death of Rajiv Gandhi, that LTTE began closer ties with the West-Church-Western NGOs. We can see the marked change in the demands made during LTTE’s sojourn with India & thereafter when it became a poodle of the West.

Therefore, we question the sincerity of all the entities that had close rapport with LTTE while pretending to want peace for Sri Lanka.

The UN too shed crocodile tears after the LTTE was eliminated. The UN should have shed tears for every unarmed civilian LTTE killed over 30 years. Where are the memorials or commemorations for them? Has a single diplomat, UN official or NGO head bothered to light a lamp for those killed by LTTE?

What is pertinent and what everyone must take note of is that all of the allegations against Sri Lanka came months after the conflict ended & were by third party or fourth party sources from overseas and the numbers they were throwing appeared to be plucked from the sky & hyped up.

Here’s where those making the allegations get caught with their pants down. From the time orders were given to militarily deal with the LTTE & rescue the civilians LTTE were keeping as hostages & human shields, every 2 weeks a Consultative Committee Meeting was held. All the diplomats, UN officials were invited & was attended by all those handling the war effort. This was the perfect time to put on the table all the allegations & demand answers from the Sri Lankan Government & its military. However, no such allegations were made except commending the forces.

The other factor is the foreign media that was traveling with the units. David Gray of Reuters wrote about the soldiers sharing their food rations with the Tamil civilians. Murali Reddy the Indian reporter who was the last of the foreign media to leave gives an excellent account of what took place & nowhere does he say that Sri Lanka’s soldiers were murderers or committing genocide.

On 16 January 2009 UN issued a statement imploring LTTE to allow civilians to leave to government controlled areas without keeping them as human shields”. This meant LTTE were keeping people by force. LTTE even kept 2 UN aid workers & were released only after international pressure on 30 January 2009.

LTTE violated Geneva Convention IV article using people to render immunity from attack. LTTE were hiding among civilians & firing purposely blurring distinction.

Let us not forget LTTE was not fighting in uniform. All of the LTTE who surrendered were in civilian clothing. In addition, LTTE had a trained civilian force including a child soldier force. These trained civilian belligerents cannot hide as civilians.

Civilians who directly participated in hostilities become lawful targets & cannot take cover when assessing proportionality.

Thus, the question is

How many Tamil civilians voluntarily or by force joined LTTE after the fall of Kilinochchi on 2 January 2009?

Let us presume there was 20,000 LTTE – how could they have taken 300,000 hostages totally against their will unless some went voluntarily or some of these were LTTE families.

If LTTE kept Tamil civilians as human shields it is prohibited under Third & Fourth Geneva Conventions, Additional Protocol 1 & ICC. LTTE is on record to say the civilians were voluntary human shields. There is no such scope in international law.

Yoram Dinstein (international scholar on rules of war) states that the ultimate responsibility for civilian casualties falls on the LTTE & not the GOSL since the laws & customs of war do not permit a belligerent to immunize a position from attack through use of involuntary human shields.

The No Fire Zone was created for Tamil civilians not for LTTE to enter & fire from inside it keeping civilians surrounding them. This area was created on 21 January 2009 & 12 February 2009 for only civilians. It was announced by loud speakers & pamphlets in Tamil were airdropped. A legal NFZ has to be signed off by both parties, in this case it was only created by the GoSL. LTTE only took advantage of the area. LTTE had no right to be inside it or fire from inside it.

Even the Bishop of Jaffna in a letter issued on 25 January 2009 stated We are also urgently requesting the Tamil Tigers not to station themselves among the people in the safety Zone and fire their artillery shells and their rockets at the army. This will only increase more and more the death of civilians thus endangering the safety of the people.” (confirms LTTE firing from NFZ)

The Sri Lankan commanders who were in a dilemma to decide how to neutralize active LTTE artillery stationed among civilians at the cost of civilians eventually led to sacrificing personnel of Sri Lanka Armed Forces – which was why 5000 soldiers perished during the last stages of the conflict. Tamil civilians must empathise with the Sri Lankan Armed Forces for this sacrifice in order to follow IHL and safeguard civilians.

LTTE blurred distinction between combatants & civilians forcing Sri Lankan Armed Forces to make a forced choice”. LTTE’s use of lawfare” exploiting legal norms to impede operations was primarily meant to punish law abiding armed forces who observed laws of war while non-state actors freely disregarded them.

LTTE blurring distinction using combatants in civilian clothing to gain military advantage LTTE committing crime of perfidy engaging in an act that intends to make Sri Lanka Military believe it deserves protection under IHL but deceiving the Sri Lanka Military is prohibited by ICTY as feigning civilian status.

Stephen Smith, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs statement regarding the actions of the LTTE during the last three months of the conflict in Sri Lanka. The Minister expressly condemned the numerous civilian deaths as a result of the LTTE’s use of bombs and artillery” in the NFZs and targeting of civilians that attempt to leave the conflict zones as a violation of the rules of war.”

While LTTE lobbyists claim between 70,000 to 169,796 were killed. They do not say whether this number refers to civilians as per international definition or LTTE combatants (initially they started off with 40,000) – they have yet to produce names or details of these dead inspite of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces physically rescuing 295,000 Tamils all of whom have been identified.

Sri Lanka’s military defeated an internationally proscribed terrorist movement while saving 297,853 people from danger which included some 12,000 LTTE combatants among whom were 594 child soldiers who surrendered in civilian clothing – the proportion of loss must be weighed against the gain while the loss cannot omit the Tamil civilians killed and shot to death by LTTE including the injured LTTE combatants that LTTE put into buses and blew up.

LTTE’s perfidious conduct & forced recruitment of civilians, execution of civilians trying to escape & placing weapons and firing from within civilian & hospital zones – The Sri Lanka Armed Forces cannot be held liable for incidental civilian deaths from the failure to distinguish lawful targets from civilians as the responsibility fell on LTTE to keep civilians under its custody safe. LTTE could not keep civilians and make area a non-target but fire from among civilians and expect not to face return fire.

Principle of Liability falls on LTTE. LTTE not only committed perfidious conduct by feigning civilian status, it blurred distinction between combatants & civilians putting civilians in harm’s way. The Sri Lanka Armed Forces attempted to minimize civilian casualties by setting up a no fire zone. However LTTE moved into this zone to conduct warfare from inside a zone specifically to be only for civilians. This act by LTTE makes LTTE liable for failure to comply with the principle of distinction.

Civilian casualties – Collateral damage. The responsibility for civilians rested with the LTTE that took them. The responsibility for their loss also is with LTTE as LTTE did not allow them to leave, LTTE used them as hostages and human shields and LTTE even shot and killed those that attempted to leave. LTTE placed civilians in danger and LTTE used civilians to engage in hostilities while LTTE also had an armed civilian brigade confounding distinction altogether.

Inability to assert how many LTTE in civilian clothing died engaged in hostilities, how many LTTE child soldiers died engaging in hostilities, how many civilians in LTTE civilian brigade died engaged in hostilities, how many LTTE in civilian clothing died engaged in hostilities, how many civilians not engaged in any type of hostility trying to flee LTTE were killed by LTTE – none of these deaths can be deemed civilian deaths killed by Sri Lanka Army to constitute a war crime.

The organization PEARL claims 70,000 to 169,796 were killed. Do these have names, some form of identification? 

On 14th August 2013 a Presidential Commission (Chairman Maxwell Paranagama) to investigate cases of Missing Persons was appointed with initial mandate to cover abductions or disappearances from June 10, 1990 to 19 May 2009 thereafter extended to cover from 1983 to 2009 (26 years) There was only 18,590 complaints of which 5000 were filed by families of missing Sri Lankan Military. How come there are no 70,000 or 169,796 missing names filed with the commission?

The Sri Lanka Armed Forces by mid-May 2009 had rescued 295,000 Tamils

The international organizations themselves were clueless about the exact numbers of civilians taken by LTTE:

ICRC press release of 21st April 2009 declared 50,000 was inside NFZ

International Crisis Group declared 150,000 inside NFZ in early March 2009

UN on 13 May 2009 said about 50,000 was trapped in a strip

Are the international community going to rely on 3rd party propaganda or accept empirical research & statistical data:

UN Country Team declared 7721 civilian deaths between August 2008 & 13 May 2009. Indian embedded journalist Murali Reddy confirmed that from 13 May 2009 to 19th May 2009 there were no civilians in the strip LTTE were restricted to.

Sri Lankan Govt census by Tamil teachers in Feb/March 2012 placed war related deaths at 7432.

UNSG Panel of Experts in 2012 report only says civilian deaths ‘could be’ as high as 40,000 – it does not mean 40,000 deaths.

Gordon Weiss a former UN spokesman in Colombo in order to promote his book was dabbling in numbers quoting 40,000 but reducing number to 10,000 when questioned.

Data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal, data primarily based on figures released by the pro-LTTE Website Tamil Net”, put the casualty figure for civilians inside Mullaithivu at 2,972 until 5 April 2009.

13 March 2009 – UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay’s press release said that ‘as many as 2800 civilians ‘may have been killed’.

Since 2009 we have been hearing a chorus of‘ thousands reported missing’ who is reporting them, what are their sources and how genuine/authentic are the reports? These details are never disclosed.

Does Leelathevi Ananthanatarajah, the Secretary of the Association for the Relatives of the Enforced Disappearances in the North & East have names and numbers of the disappeared? If so produce them to the Missing Persons Commission.

3rd Parties quoting Sri Lanka dead” missing” alleging 

war crimes by Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces without proof or evidence.

Those making allegations must prove their claims and produce evidence for their allegations.

They simply cannot throw numbers & expect to bring disrepute to a National Army and put military commanders in prison without evidence or proof.

Based on what evidence is Robert Blake, former US envoy quoting 40,000 dead at the US Congressional Hearing

How is Siobhain McDonagh (UK Labor MP) declaring 100,000 dead and 40,000 as civilians.

How did Charles Petrie reviewing the UNSG’s report come up with 70,000 dead

How did The Times of London come up with 20,000 dead

How did Amnesty International quote 40,000 dead

How did Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph claim 147,000 as missing but did not log a single name with the Presidential Commission or the OISL investigators

How did Alan Keenan Project Director of International Crisis Group Sri Lanka come up with civilians killed between 40,000-147,000

How did UK Guardian quote 40,000 dead

LTTE was defeated in May 2009.

Its now May 2024. A period of 15 years has passed.

Office of Missing Persons was established in 2016.

Why has the Chairman of the Office of Missing Persons failed to question why 70,000 or 169,796 names of missing” Tamils have failed to be logged into its system? Without names of even the missing, how can they be presumed to be dead or killed by the Sri Lanka Armed Forces? 

Let is also be added that Maaveer Naal is a commemoration for LTTE dead not dead of other Tamil militants. In fact the families of the other militants cannot openly commemorate their dead. Perhaps the foreigners should start attending these commemorations too for a change! 

EU funded Sooka of ITJP says 110 missing in 2015 referring to the missing from Wadduvakkal Bridge – these were all LTTE combatants so her EU funded reports are on behalf of LTTE & not Tamil civilians.

In 2018 Sooka claims 280 missing from Vadduvakkal Bridge – how did she raise the missing from 110 in 2015 to 280 in 2018?



It’s now 15 years since defeat of LTTE – So far we have not found a single SKELETON.

Who are the ‘missing’ and how many of them are ‘missing’ – How many of these missing are LTTE will depend upon who is declaring them to be LTTE & missing –

If there is no dead body to claim them missing – where could they be? They could have fled to a foreign country. They could have changed identity and pretending to be someone else to disassociate themselves from their past. There could be many other reasons.

While anyone can be declared dead if they have not appeared for a specific number of years – no one has any right to declare a person or persons guilty of killing the missing person based on circumstantial and hearsay evidence. It must be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  • LTTE & the Sri Lanka Armed Forces engaged in battle and exchanged fire.
  • Neither side exchanged roses.
  • LTTE took civilians and refused to free them and fired at the Sri Lanka Army from among civilians. Returning fire in battle is a right of any military. Keeping civilians and firing from among civilians is where LTTE violated rules of war.
  • LTTE were given 2 chances to lay down arms & surrender but refused.
  • While engaging in battle, Sri Lanka Armed Forces rescued close to 300,000 Tamils (some LTTE were among them)
  • No conflict ends without deaths – there have been deaths on both sides.
  • The ICRC is on record to say the army could have finished the conflict sooner if they did not compromise their own soldiers to save the Tamil civilians kept forcibly by LTTE.
  • Both the GoSL and UN Country Team estimates of less than 8000 deaths which includes LTTE dead is provable against the vague and sensational figures presented without evidence.  We can be happy there has been no deaths related to LTTE terror since 2009.

Why no one is properly logging the missing” or dead”

  • Police– have police received complaints since 2009 re LTTE/Civilian missing
  • SL Human Rights Commission– what are the complaints filed and their findings related to the last phase of conflict
  • OISL– what are the complaints filed and findings of OISL
  • Paranagama Missing Persons Commission– 18,590 complaints only
  • Sooka & ITJP giving lists of LTTE names– do these correspond with names given by families to the police/SLHRC/OISL/Paranagama Commission
  • OMP– are all the lists above corresponding and tallying with the details in their possession
  • GoSL/Foreign Ministryrequests from foreign governments to confirm if names & details match with those seeking asylum or refugee status.

Foreign governments & UN should desist from creating precedence based on powerfully funded lobbies aimed at revenging Sri Lanka for defeating an internationally proscribed terrorist movement simply because it impacts their livelihoods and to enjoy prescriptive benefits in foreign climes on the guise of promoting accountability.

The rules of international humanitarian laws are applicable to a non-international armed conflict that took place in Sri Lanka between LTTE non-state actor and Sri Lanka’s National Army.

But by all means those that sided with the LTTE would naturally want to attend the ceremonies commemorating terrorist dead, so let us not stop them!

Shenali D Waduge

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