Death toll was not 40,000 says Justice Paranagama

Justice Maxwell ParanagamaJustice Maxwell Paranagama, Chairman of the Sri Lankan Commission on missing persons and war crimes, has said that the death toll in the final phase of Eelam War IV was not 40,000, as claimed in the 2011 report of the Panel of Experts appointed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, but probably a little above 7,000, the New Indian Express reported.

Paranagama told Express, that while investigations by his panel could not come to any precise figure of deaths, it was “certainly not 40,000” as stated in the UN panel report. Even that report was not definitive, only saying that 40,000 may have been killed.

“The Department of Statistics which had done a house to house survey in the conflict zone, and the reports sent out by the various foreign embassies suggest a death toll of 7,700 or thereabouts. Our commission could not arrive at any precise figure, but we think 40,000 was certainly an overestimation,” Paranagama said.

Meanwhile, some former diplomats, ministers and human rights activists have written to President Maithripala Sirisena asking him to find out why the final Paranagama report, submitted to him on August 15, was not tabled at the on-going session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The Paranagama panel had been advised on international humanitarian law by a international team comprising Sir Desmond de Silva, Prof.David Crane, Sir Geoffrey Nice, and Maj.Gen.John Holms. In July 2015, the Sirisena government had even appointed a Special Investigating Team to expedite investigations into some cases reported to the said panel.

The petitioners pointed out that the most recent investigative report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had said that the Paranagama report was not been given to it. If the report had been submitted, it would have had an impact on the thinking of the UNHRC. Since the Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has promised to release the Paranagama report, the petitioners asked President Sirisena to have it placed before the UNHRC, without delay.


  1. If you go to Australia and Canada you will see more than half of “missing Tamil people” living in different names. Because Tamil Diaspora and UN work hand in hand, UN will never raise the issue on these.

    • Even if the figure is “only” 7,000 civilians deliberately killed by government shelling that is “slightly” more than the “not one civilian casualty” that I heard screamed out on the Internet by Gota.

      Also, what a welcome change there is in the tone of even the responses by readers, as a result of the regime-change. We want to be re-admitted to the International Community. Our gratitude to MaRa & Co for ridding us of Prabhakaran dosent mean that we must jeopardise the future of even our great grand children for the sake of protecting those who committed war crimes. If they are so concerned about the people of Sri Lanka let them emulate our legendary king, Sri Sanga-bo.

  2. It’s all about political mismanagement. Time wasted on revenge and recriminations. Clouded by bias and Machiavellian tendencies by the ineffective, inefficient politicos at the top. No clue how to handle state affairs at all.

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