During the war that ended in May 2009, the UN reported over 70,000 innocent Tamil civilians were killed in just the last 5 months. 146,679 people still remain unaccounted for.
Furthermore, the events that took place before, during and since the war provide a prima facie case that genocide is occurring in Sri Lanka: a charge that must also be investigated by an independent international investigation.
“Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.”
Raphael Lemkin (1944), Polish-Jewish scholar who coined the term genocide.
The legal definition of genocide
Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:
“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
- Killing members of the group;
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”