Reinterpreting the law to justify the facts : an analysis of international humanitarian law interpretation in Sri Lanka
Isabelle Lassée and Niran Aketell
Asia-Pacific perspectives on international humanitarian law
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2020
The Sri Lankan civil war ended in May 2009 with the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by the Sri Lankan armed forces. This chapter examines the work of two domestic commissions created by the Sri Lankan government in response to UN investigations into allegations of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL). It argues that the creation of these commissions as well as the analyses they carried out were part of a larger enterprise intending to justify the conduct of hostilities by the Sri Lankan armed forces and to legitimize IHL violations during the last stages of the conflict. This piece further discusses the implications of such a strategy with respect to domestic accountability for wartime abuses as well as for global compliance with IHL.
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