We condemn in no uncertain terms the
despicable and barbaric behavior of the Sri Lankan military which stripped naked and
displayed for public viewing the fallen heroes of the Tamil.
The 21 fallen LTTE heroes who attacked and destroyed military planes and other assets in a daring and valiant commando raid
on the Anuradhapura airbase last Monday.
There were three women cadres among the suicide Tiger commandoes.
Independent media reports and photographs show Sri Lankan parading the naked bodies of the fallen heroes.
The fallen heroes were unceremoniously stripped naked and thrown behind tractors used to carry garbage and paraded in the town. The parade stopped at road junctions for people to gawk and take photographs.
This despicable and uncivilized behavior is a serious contravention of the Geneva Conventions which states that parties to conflict must treat and honor the dead with great respect.
The LTTE in 30 years of conflict has never done such a despicable thing. It clear shows who is the matured and civilized combatants in this conflict for the liberation of the Tamil people.
Further instead of returning the body the Sri Lankan military unilaterally buried the bodies in unmarked graves, another serious violations of the Geneva Conventions.
Such desecrations of the dead heroes is a cowardly act and also totally against all ethics and norms Buddhism.
The display of mutilated bodies is similar to the despicable display of the naked bodies of LTTE women fighters killed in an abortive attack on the Army's Ma'nal Aa'ru (Weli Oya) camp in 1995.
On that occasion the bodies of the women were mutilated with knives before being handed back to the LTTE in body-bags. The Sri Lankan Army also released photographs of the women's naked bodies heaped in piles, some with their legs spread.
Such incidents are the norm with the Sri Lankan military and is not an exception. Their barbarism runs deep.
The Geneva Convention ( for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field) in Chapter II, Art.
# the wounded or sick shall be respected and protected in all
# they shall be treated humanely and cared for ...without any adverse distinction founded on sex, race, nationality, religion, political opinions, or any other similar criteria.
# women shall be treated with all consideration due to their sex.
Art. 15 states: at all times, and particularly after an engagement, parties to the conflict shall, without delay, take all possible measures to search for and collect the wounded and sick, to protect them against pillage and ill-treatment, to ensure their adequate
care, and to search for the dead and prevent their being despoiled.
Art. 17 states parties to the conflict shall ensure that burial or cremation of the dead, carried out individually as far as circumstances permit, is preceded by a careful examination, if possible by a medical examination, of the bodies, with a view to confirming death, establishing identity and enabling a report to be made.
They shall further ensure that the dead are honorably interred, if possible according to the rites of the religion to which they belonged, that their graves are respected, grouped if possible according to the nationality of the deceased, properly maintained
and marked so that they may always be found.
The main obligation to the dead is now found in Article 15 of the First Geneva Convention which demands both sides "...at all times,
and particularly after an engagement… search for the dead and prevent their being despoiled."
There is clearly a prohibition against deliberate mistreatment of the body, either through failure to treat it with appropriate
respect or through mutilation. Second, there is a prohibition on pillaging
the dead. These mandates concerning the dead are as much derived from
the customary laws of war as from the Geneva Conventions.
The Sri Lankan state has failed on both instance with their barbaric act to stripe the fallen heroes naked and parade them in public.
Such disgraceful behaviors is rare in disciplined armies and clear indicates serious disrespect to the death something that is wholly condemned in any society and by any religion.
Putting the valiant death naked and on display as propaganda is similar to what happened to US soldiers in Somalia when bodies were dragged through the streets - it clearly amounts to a war crime.
Sri Lanka has committed war crimes against the Tamils and against the LTTE on numerous occasions. The latest is last week's atrocities in Anuradhapuram. We urge the United Nations and the International community to take stern and firm action against Sri Lanka for committing war crimes.