Govt rejects UN verdict on Channel 4 video
The government has slammed the UN's human rights investigator Prof.
Philip Alston for having a 'political agenda' in which he tries to
tarnish the image of the country before the forthcoming Presidential
elections on January 26.
Minister of Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe told the 'Sunday
Observer' that apart from the authenticity of the findings of his
tri-member team of experts, the Government has reasonable suspicion why
he had rushed to hold a media conference without giving a time frame to
Sri Lanka to respond to their recent findings.
The controversial video aired by the British based Channel 4 showed
two men being shot by uniformed men allegedly in Northern Sri Lanka. The
Sri Lankan government which appointed a four member experts panel proved
the video footage was fake.
While the government repeatedly said the video footage, which was
submitted by Journalists for Democracy based in Germany was fake, the UN
Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,
Prof. Philip Alston, appointed a three-member team of experts in
forensic pathology, forensic video analysis, and firearm evidence to
examine the video. According to Alston his experts has found that the
video footage was not fake.
Commenting on Alston's remarks about authenticity of the video
footage, Minister Samarasinghe said that he had received the report of
the experts findings and there the experts had clearly mentioned that
there were some shortcomings and discrepancies in the video footage.
"Our doubt is why Alston endorses the video footage as an
authenticated one while his own experts are having doubts about the
film. The best example to prove this is that the filming date of this
video footage was July 7, 2009 but according to Journalists for
Democracy it was filmed in January. It proves that the video was later
'manufactured' to suit the needs of the concerned parties," He
said.Minister Samarasinghe said that the other blunder that Alston did
was the violation of the diplomatic procedures. "Normally the affected
party is given a fair chance to respond. What Alston could do was give
us at least two weeks to reply. Instead he rushed to hold a press
conference and announced the findings", he said.
He said that the government is now studying the report and will
respond the UN soon.Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha
Bogollagama in a media briefing rejected the findings of Prof. Alston.
"It is fake and we reject these allegations and we cannot accept the
findings," he said.Foreign Minister Bogollagama said that Alston's
experts had failed to explain some of the shortcomings including
movements of some victims and the date of encoded in the video which is
However, Minister said that the UN human rights investigator had
violated the diplomatic protocol by making his findings public without
giving a chance to Sri Lanka to reply.
Foreign Secretary Romesh Jayasinghe has written to Prof. Alston
requesting him not to make the findings public without giving enough
time to Sri Lanka to reply but he had ignored the request and held the
press conference to announce his team's findings.
Later the Foreign Ministry has informed both the Special Rapporteur
Alston and the UN Secretariat in New York that the Public Statement in
New York was a violation of all the accepted procedures of the United
Meanwhile, Army Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara responding to
Alston's allegations on Sri Lankan soldiers and the authenticity of the
Channel 4 video footage, he said that the Army stands by its experts
version which stated that the video was not genuine.
" Our experts have studied and analyzed the video and investigated
the visuals and audio and found that the particular video was a fake.
Therefore we stand by our findings," he said.