Boy, 12, was ‘executed by Sri Lankan government soldiers during civil war by Tamil Tigers’

  • Fresh claims of atrocities to be aired in TV documentary

By Claudia Joseph

PUBLISHED: 11:38 EST, 11 March 2012 | UPDATED: 09:56 EST, 12 March 2012

A 12-year-old boy lies on the ground, stripped to his waist and with five bullet holes in his chest.

His name is Balachandran Prabakaran and he is the son of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the secessionist rebels of the Tamil Tigers, the LTTE.

The shocking footage of the executed boy is contained in a new documentary, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished, which will be screened this week.

A year after screening Jon Snow’s award-winning documentary Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields about the dying days of the civil war – Channel 4 have returned to the island to uncover more evidence of alleged abuse.


Derrick Pounder points out one of the five bullet wounds in the body of 12-year-old Balakandran Prabakharan Derrick Pounder points out one of the five bullet wounds in the body of 12-year-old Balakandran Prabakharan
Derrick Pounder points out one of the five bullet wounds in the body of 12-year-old Balakandran Prabakharan Derrick Pounder points out one of the five bullet wounds in the body of 12-year-old Balakandran Prabakharan

In the documentary, Mr Snow examines four instances of alleged war crimes using contemporaneous documents, eye witness accounts, photographic stills and trophy footage to determine how events unfolded in the final days of the war and investigate who was responsible for the carnage.

One of the most horrific scenes shows the bullet-riddled body of 12-year-old Balachandran Prabhakaran, son of the Tiger leader Velupillai.

Professor Derrick Pounder, a forensic pathologist at Dundee University, confirmed the boy was shot five times rather than killed in combat duty.

He said: ‘There is a speckling from propellant tattooing, indicating that the distance of the muzzle of the weapon to this boy’s chest was two to three feet or less.

‘So he could have reached out with his hand and touched the gun that killed him. After receiving this wound he would have fallen backwards and it’s then that he is likely to have received these two wounds.

‘It’s likely that the shooter was standing over him while he was lying flat on the ground after the first shot. So this is a murder. There’s no doubt about it.’

The programme has also obtained unofficial footage, which suggests that his father Velupillai sustained a massive head wound – when his body was shown on television his head was covered by a rag. Separate stills see him first in uniform, then stripped naked and finally smeared in mud.

Again Professor Pounder believes he was executed. ‘This would be very typical of a high velocity gun shot wound to the head,’ he said.

‘A single gun shot wound to the head is a little unusual in terms of an armed conflict – it would suggest it is a targeted shot at a subject who wasn’t moving.’

Scenes of destruction at the end of the civil war in Sri LankaScenes of destruction at the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka
More images of the aftermath captured by Channel 4 film Sri Lanka's Killing Fields

More images of the aftermath captured by Channel 4 film Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields

The programme comes in the wake of this week’s United States resolution to the UN Human Rights Council censuring Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa and his brother, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaska, for ‘not adequately addressing serious allegations of violations of international law during the war in Sri Lanka’.

‘This forensic investigation reveals damning new evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Sri Lankan government forces,’ said Mr Snow.

‘But it also points directly to those who may bear culpability and command responsibility for this savagery – from the military leaders who led the bloody assaults that killed civilians – to the President and his brother, the Defence Secretary, who have yet to be properly investigated and held to account.

‘It is our duty as journalists to report this evidence; it is up to the UN and the international community to initiate effective investigations and deliver justice for the thousands who lost their lives.

‘At a time when we are seeing similar carnage in Syria – this is vital work.’

The death of Prabhakaran was confirmed after his body was shown on TVThe death of Prabhakaran was confirmed after his body was shown on TV

According to programme makers, footage which shows the binding of hands, removal of clothing and shots to the back of the head, suggest a systematic policy of executing captured Tamils, which went to the highest echelons of the Government.Amnesty International Asia Programme Director Sam Zarifi said: ‘President Rajapaksa was the highest military official in the country.

‘He was the Commander in Chief and that is how he portrayed himself. Defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa also proudly proclaimed how involved he was in the military strategy.

TV presenter and journalist Jon SnowTV presenter and journalist Jon Snow

‘There is absolutely every reason to question those two as to specific incidents. There’s every reason to establish exactly what the chain of command was for events in the final stages – the few weeks of the war which were very bloody and predictably bloody.’

Mr Snow also uncovered a confidential internal UN report, which reveals that officials were convinced the government was deliberately shelling civilians and hospital patients in the ‘No Fire Zone.

An internal cable from the US Embassy in Colombo indicated the government had deliberately underestimated the numbers in the zone in order to starve hundreds of thousands of trapped civilians.

Satellite imagery analysed by the UN also indicates that civilians were deliberately targeted.

Last night the High Commission in Sri Lanka told Channel 4 they ‘categorically rejected the malicious allegations’ made by the programme.

It accused Channel 4 of a ‘continuing hostile and biased editorial position’ with regard to its reporting on Sri Lanka, focussing attention on ‘a number of highly spurious and uncorroborated allegations’ and seeking, ‘entirely falsely’, to implicate members of the Sri Lanka government and senior military figures.

The channel was also accused of ‘choosing to ignore the many positive post-conflict developments now taking place in the country’. The High Commission said their approach would ‘harm the ongoing and comprehensive reconciliation process’.

Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished is screened on Channel 4 at 10.55pm on Wednesday.
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Posted on March 12, 2012, in Politics, World Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. DMK should withdraw support to the trecherous congress who have not supported the tamil people cause in lanka. The murder of 12 year old boy by the Lankan army proves the geocide mentality. Mahinda Rajapakse has to be bought to book. He has imprisoned the former general sarath fonseka who stood against the military abuses by a kangroo court. If world community depends on Congress led UPA it will not budge an inch. They have been a silent spectator on their own people watching without any remorse the butchering of Kashmiri pandits.

  2. yes srilankan army did a wrong thing,which every parents of a child will condemn the way the army shot dead prabhakarans son.Now generally i would like to give you certain thinks the whole world condemns the way Prabhakarans terrorists men Killed srilankans Citizens and just born kids,without proper evidence i never speak out publicly,Prabhakarans men not only Killed thousands of Civilians but also killed very big army officers in Srilanka.No body Questioned this when he was mercilessly killing the civilians,do you know why.At that time media was not much powerful,but now every International reporter has the advanced phones/computer gadgets which they can record from any part of the world.
    I was very much pained in 1991 May 20th I still not come out of the Incident which our Former Prime minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi was Assassinated by the Prabhakarans men with the support of the congress people.If Sonia was not Involved in Rajiv Assassination Case why the Hell she sent her daughter to meet the Killers in Vellore Jail.Its a simple logic.Rajiv was made scape goat at the profit of Sonia Gandhi.just think twice.Now at the present situation the way she is taking congress is very Pathetic.many Congress Leaders were Killed in Accidents No Probe No Investigation.This is become very common in our Country.What happened to the C B I Investigation on BOFORS.Actually it was just Rs.67 crore Commission deal.For Investigating C B I Spent Rs.271 Crores.In this Main case you may be heard about Ottava Quttarachi an Italian Mafia and a Friend os Sonia was left free from the CBI.Why? The case is totally Closed.For Investigating this you remember Hindu Paper’s Mr Raman’s Wife she had just delivered a Baby she took the responsibility investigation and Published the Whole Transaction About the Bofor’s Deal Ultimately Bofors case is Closed.I have just givin you a sample of Sonia Gandhi.Many Cases filed by Mr Subramaniam Swamy against Sonia is still Pending in the Supreme Court.Why? You just Imagine………..How much powerful she is…………….

    • It seems in a every part of the world, there are corruptive forces with in popular governments that seek to grow in power and influence at the expense people’s legal rights and liberties.

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