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U.N.: "Sri Lanka Slew Its Civilians"

What's the Latest Development?

A U.N. report—which Sri Lanka says is "fundamentally flawed"—claims there are ''credible'' reports of war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government and the separatist Tamil Tiger movement (finally defeated in May 2009 after a 30-year insurgency). The government is alleged to have deliberately shelled hospitals, fired on civilians in no-fire zones and attacked the U.N. and Red Cross in the dying days of the country's civil war, a leaked copy of the report says. The civilian death toll was probably much higher than the 7000 previously quoted, running into ''tens of thousands''.

What's the Big Idea?

The U.N. is calling for an independent investigation into the alleged war crimes in order to bring those responsible to account. It wants a probe separate to Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. However, the U.N. committee that prepared the report, was not allowed into Sri Lanka for its inquiry and had to rely on photos, video and information from aid workers, journalists and members of the Tamil diaspora. How much further could an independent investigation go and what would it achieve?

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