UN investigation has found that video footage broadcast on Channel 4 News which appeared to show Sri Lankan soldiers executing naked Tamils “appears to be authentic”.
The video was shown on Channel 4 News in August 2009, after being sent in by a group called Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan government claimed in September 2009 that its investigations “have now scientifically established beyond any doubt that this video is a fake”.
But Channel 4 News reported last night that a UN report commissioned by the Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston, dismisses the Sri Lankan claims, saying “most of the arguments relied upon by the Government of Sri Lanka to impugn the video have been shown to be flawed”.
According to C4 News Alston commissioned three experts to examine the video.
A forensic pathologist, Dr Daniel Spitz “found that the footage appeared authentic, especially with respect to the two individuals who are shown being shot in the head at close range. He found that the body reaction, movement and blood evidence was entirely consistent with what would be expected in such shootings.”
Head of news and current affairs at Channel 4 Dorothy Byrne said: “This is a vindication of the correct decision by the Channel Four News team to bring these deeply disturbing images to public attention. This video is of great importance in the search for the truth of what happened during this time in Sri Lanka. “
Chief Executive of ITN, which produces Channel 4 News, John Hardie, said: ‘We believed it was important for this evidence to be seen by the world, although we made clear at the time that we could not establish its authenticity. This UN report justifies the editorial judgement we made, and the commitment that Channel 4 News makes to its international coverage and to investigative journalism.”