A new video, set to be screened in Geneva on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session next month, shows what it claims to be the son of LTTE leader Villupillai Prabhakaran being fed inside a military bunker before being shot dead.
Balachandran Prabhakara, the 12-year-old son of the rebel leader, was shown in an earlier video with bullet wounds on his body but the army denied capturing him during the final stages of the war.
The Independent newspaper in Britain which published the latest photograph today said the images were taken in May 2009 at the very end of the Sri Lankan government’s operation to crush the LTTE.
The newspaper report claimed the images, contained in a new documentary, No Fire Zone, which will be screened at the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival during the UN Human Rights Council meeting in March, suggest the boy was captured alive and killed at a later stage.
A forensic pathologist who examined the later images for the film-makers, said the boy was shot five times in the chest. Furthermore, propellant burns around the wound suggest he was shot at very close range.
“The new photographs are enormously important evidentially because they appear to rule out any suggestion that Balachandran was killed in cross-fire or during a battle. They show he was held, and even given a snack, before being taken and executed in cold blood,” claimed the film’s director, Callum Macrae.
“It is difficult to imagine the psychology of an army in which the calculated execution of a child can be allowed with apparent impunity. That these events were also photographed and kept as war trophies by the perpetrators is even more disturbing.” The 12-year-old’s father, Prabhakaran, was killed along with most of the senior leadership of the LTTE as Sri Lanka’s army advanced on the rebels’ position. There were reports at the time that several LTTE officials were shot and killed as they tried to surrender.
Prabhakaran’s body was displayed on state television, part of the front of his skull missing, also suggesting he may have been shot at close range. The Sri Lankan authorities have always denied shooting anyone who was trying to surrender. Last night, Brigadier PR Wanigasooriya, an army spokesman, said Sri Lanka had been a repeated victim of “lies, half truths, rumours, and numerous forms of speculations”.
“No substantive evidence have been presented for us to launch an investigation,” he added, referring to alleged human rights abuses.