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Explain LTTE leaders' death: UN to Lanka

December 21, 2009 18:06 IST

The United Nations has sought an explanation from Sri Lanka on the death of three top Tamil Tiger leaders after former Army chief Sarath Fonseka alleged that surrendering Tamil rebels were killed in cold blood.

The UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial arbitrary executions Philip Alston has sought an explanation of what had happened to three rebel leaders who wanted to surrender.

The three LTTE leaders Balasingham Nadesan, political head of the organisation, Seevaratnam Pulidevan, heading its peace secretariat and senior LTTE commander Ramesh and their families were killed in the last phase of the war on May 18, 2009 as they came out to surrender.

The UN's action follows comments by Fonseka who is running as a joint opposition candidate for presidency that Sri Lankan forces eliminated surrendering Tiger leaders on the orders of the defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

The former top general in an explosive interview to the Sunday Leader had alleged that Gotabhaya had instructed that "all LTTE leaders must be killed".

"Are the allegations summarised accurate, If not so, please share the information and documents proving their inaccuracy," the UN letter to the Lankan government queried.

"What information does your Government have on the family members of Nadesan, Pulidevan and Ramesh," it asked.

The explanation was sought in a letter addressed to Kshenuka Senewiratna, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN Office in Geneva.

Reacting to the UN demand, the government said it is making a careful study of the UN Rapporteur's letter, prior to a formal response, and any action that may be necessary, the Sri Lankan Presidential secretariat said in a statement.

The top UN body in the letter said, "According to information received on May 17 2009, the day before your Excellency's Government announced that its forces had completely defeated the LTTE.

Nadesan, Pulidevan and Ramesh were trapped with other senior cadres of the LTTE in a small area north of Vellamullivaikkal."

"(According to the information) through intermediaries they sought to establish contact with your Excellency's Government to inquire how they could surrender to the Sri Lanka Army (SLA).

"The reply, coming from the Secretary of Defence in your Excellency's Government and from a Members of Parliament who is at the same time a senior adviser to the President, and conveyed through the intermediaries, was that they should walk towards the positions of the SLA in a way that made their intentions clear and hold a white cloth," the letter said.

"(According to information) the Commander of the SLA 58th Brigade, the unit on the front line facing the last LTTE position, however, received a telephone call from the Secretary of Defence instructing him to order his forces to shoot those surrendering," the letter said.

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