Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sri Lanka 'counting civilian war deaths'

Sri Lanka is close to completing a census of the number of civilians who died in the final phase of the civil war, the defence secretary has said.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the count proves the number of people killed as a result of government action was "far too small" to constitute war crimes.

In April, a UN-backed report said tens of thousands may have died and pointed to evidence of army bombardment.

The government has rejected such claims and calls for an international probe.

In May 2009, the army defeated Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for a separate homeland in the north and east of Sri Lanka, after almost 26 years of civil war.

Much of the controversy surrounding the conduct of the army and the rebels centres on what happened during the closing stages of that war, when tens of thousands of civilians were hemmed into a narrow strip of land in the north of the country caught between government and rebel fighting. more