The director of the Emmy-nominated feature documentary No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka has welcomed the conclusion in Sri Lanka’s long delayed Paranagama report that the video evidence in No Fire Zone is “unlikely to be faked”.
The director, Callum Macrae, has called on Sri Lankan television networks to broadcast the film as soon as possible: “Now that our findings and our evidence have been so clearly vindicated, not just by the recent report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, but also by this report ordered by the Sri Lankan government itself, there can be no excuse to delay transmission any longer.”
“The need to understand the truth about these crimes, find justice and end state impunity is something that will benefit every community of Sri Lanka,” he said. “For too long ordinary people have been denied the truth – yet no-one has anything to fear from that truth except the guilty.”
“I call on the people who run Sri Lanka’s television stations to have the courage to transmit this film as soon as possible. I also call on President Sirisena – in the interests of truth and justice – to encourage Sri Lankan television to show the film in its entirety.”
The report of the Commission into missing persons and other abuses was headed by retired Sri Lankan High Court Judge Maxwell Paranagama. It was ordered by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. According to extracts of the report, the Commission concluded that the video evidence in the film and in various Channel 4 news reports and films was “credible” and “unlikely to be faked”.
The report suggests that some of the events depicted are likely to qualify as “war crimes” and that “the alleged attacks on hospitals and make-shift hospitals are widespread enough to potentially reach the crimes against humanity threshold”. It also states that a military court of inquiry may appear to “lack the impartiality and independence to inspire confidence” and rejects the views of those who would “seek to deny the international community any right to investigate what took place in the final states of the conflict”. Instead it appears to endorse some form of hybrid process, citing the example of the internationalized court set up in the Gambia in 1981.
Last March Macrae delivered a copy of the Sinhala version of No Fire Zone to President Maithripala Sirisena and called on him to encourage Sri Lankan television stations to broadcast it. (Colombo Gazette)