May 18, Colombo: The international human right organization, Human rights Watch (HRW) says nine years after the war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists ended in Sri Lanka with the elimination of the terror group, justice for human right abuses committed by both sides remains elusive.
Sri Lanka's three-decade long war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) came to an end on 18 May 2009 with the elimination of most of the LTTE leadership.
According to the HRW, the government's victory, however, had come at the cost of serious violations of the laws of war by both sides. During the conflict the LTTE committed sectarian massacres, political assassinations and suicide bombings, widely deployed child soldiers, and executed detainees while the Sri Lankan military committed countless arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances.
With most of the LTTE leadership gone during the final weeks of the conflict, and there are few who can be held accountable for their atrocities today, the HRW points out in a report on the 9th anniversary of war victory.
The LTTE fighters who surrendered at war's end have been permitted to return home, but over a hundred are still missing.
Some families of the forcibly disappeared have been holding outdoor vigils continuously for over a year seeking answers, despite declarations from the president and prime minister that all the missing are dead.
In 2015 the government responded to intense pressure from victim communities and local activists by pledging to set up transitional justice mechanisms. While progress has been slow, the Office of Missing Persons has finally begun hearings, the report noted.
"The goal now should be to ensure answers, accountability, and reparations. For families of the disappeared, it has been too many long years of waiting," the HRW said.
Read the HRW report