Sri Lankan execution video authentic says UN envoy

UNITED NATIONS, January 7, 2010 (AFP) – A UN envoy concluded Thursday that video footage allegedly showing Sri Lankan troops executing Tamil Tiger rebels last year was authentic and urged Colombo to accept an impartial probe. The video, aired on Britain’s Channel 4 in August, “is authentic,” Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, told reporters here.

The footage was shot during the final stages of the Sri Lankan army’s battle against Tamil Tiger separatists of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Alston said the authenticity of the video was established by three US-based independent, qualified experts he had commissioned to conduct an impartial evaluation after four Sri Lankan specialists had concluded that it was a fake.

He named the three as Daniel Spitz, a prominent forensic pathologist, Peter Diaczuk, a firearm evidence expert, and Jeff Spivack, a forensic video analyst.

“The independent experts’ analyses also systematically rebutted most of the arguments relied upon by Sri Lanka’s experts in support of their contention that the video was faked,” Alston said.

“In light of these conclusions, I call for an independent inquiry to be establi