During the final stages of its nearly three-decades-long civil war in 2009, Sri Lanka attracted considerable international attention due to the allegations of international crimes that were said to have been committed both by the Sri Lankan government Armed Forces, the Guerilla Force, and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). According to United Nations (UN) experts, an estimated 40,000 civilians were killed during the final offensive, which lasted from January to May 2009. However, the Sri Lankan government has set this figure at 9,000 with no civilian casualties. Several UN bodies found credible allegations that international crimes were committed by both parties taking part in the civil war, some of which amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Further allegations of international crimes being committed by Sri Lankan government forces surfaced in two documentaries by Channel 4 (UK) that claimed to include video footage from the final phases of the civil war.
Against this background, this article discusses: (1) the various national actions that have been initiated in Sri Lanka; (2) the progress made with regard to the various international calls for justice; and (3) the possible international and partially international avenues for pursuing justice. Finally, the article concludes by outlining the present domestic conditions in Sri Lanka and making recommendations on possible avenues to pursue in order to ensure that justice is delivered.
Recommended CitationAloka Wanigasuriya, Justice Delayed, Justice Denied? The Search for Accountability for Alleged Wartime Atrocities Committed in Sri Lanka, 33 Pace Int'l L. Rev. 219 (2021)
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