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The UN must investigate urgently

Revelation, exposition, naming and shaming, turfing up the past- this is the stuff that has dominated the news over the last weeks since WikiLeaks started to gradually and systematically haemorrhage its latest haul of content. 

Yet Channel 4 proved last night that two can play at that game, when they turned private investigator of international war crimes, in a news piece that was so impressive we have flagged it up for consideration in our prestigious annual media awards. 

Last night, Channel 4 News broadcast some video footage allegedly showing evidence of war crimes by Sri Lankan soldiers in the closing days of the war against members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). They first broadcast a segment of the disturbing footage, which shows summary executions, back in August, 2009. 

Now, however, they claim to have identified one of the women in the video, and with that information, say they have been able to put a likely date to the footage as well as speculating about the location. 

The faces of some of the government troops in the film carrying out the executions can clearly be seen. It makes for grim viewing indeed. The soldiers must have hoped that this footage would never come to light. Yet in this technical age, ghosts from the past are increasingly appearing in the present and demanding attention. 

Amnesty is calling for a full and impartial investigation into the content of the videos, and accountability for any war crimes committed. Since the Sri Lankan government has failed to initiate such an investigation, it is now time for the UN to step in. 

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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