Sri Lankan Civil War

Sri Lankan Civil War
ශ්‍රී ලාංකික සිවිල් යුද්ධය
இலங்கை உள்நாட்டுப் போர்
Location Tamil Eelam territorial claim.png
The area of Sri Lanka claimed by the LTTE as Tamil Eelam, where the vast majority of the fighting took place
Date23 July 1983 – 18 May 2009[1]
(25 years, 9 months, 3 weeks and 4 days)
Location
Result

Sri Lankan Government victory

Territorial
changes
Government regains total control of former LTTE-controlled areas in the North and East of the country.
Belligerents

Sri Lanka Sri Lanka


India India (1987–1990)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Commanders and leaders
Sri Lanka J. R. Jayawardene (1983–1989)
Sri Lanka Ranasinghe Premadasa (1989–1993)
Sri Lanka D. B. Wijetunga (1993–1994)
Sri Lanka Chandrika Kumaratunga (1994–2005)
Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa (2005–2009)
India R. Venkataraman (1987–1989)
India Rajiv Gandhi (1987–1989)
India V. P. Singh (1989–1990)
Lt Gen Denzil Kobbekaduwa  (1989–1992)
Lt Gen Clancy Fernando  (1983–1992)
Col Tuan Nizam Muthaliff  (1986–2005)
Maj Gen Percy Fernando  (1983–2000)
Maj Gen Vijaya Wimalaratne  (1989–1992)
Rea Adm H. R. Amaraweera  (1989–1992)
Rea Adm Mohan Jayamaha  (1989–1992)
Fie Mar Sarath Fonseka (2005–2009)
Adm Fle Wasantha Karannagoda (2005–2009)
Mar Air Roshan Goonetileke (2005–2009)
V. Prabhakaran 
Brig Balraj (1983–2008)
Lt.Col Thileepan (1983–1987)
Col Kittu (1983–1993)
Col Karuna Amman (1983–2004)
Kumaran Pathmanathan
Mahattaya  Executed
Pottu Amman 
Col. Shankar
Seelan (1983–1983)
Col. Charles
Adm Soosai 
Visvanathan Rudrakumaran (1983–2009)
Anton Balasingham (1983–2006)
Ranjan Lala (1983–1984)
Strength

Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Armed Forces:
95,000 (2001)
118,000 (2002)
158,000 (2003)
151,000 (2004)
111,000 (2005)
150,900 (2006)[2]
210,000 (2008)[3]

India Indian Peace Keeping Force:
100,000 (peak)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(excluding Auxiliary forces):
6,000 (2001)
7,000 (2003)
18,000 (2004)[2][4]
11,000 (2005)[5]
8,000 (2006)
15,000 (2007)[2][6]
(including Auxiliary forces):
25,000 (2006)
30,000 (2008)[7]
Casualties and losses

Sri Lanka 28,708 killed
40,107 wounded[8]

India 1,287 killed
6,000 wounded
(Indian Peace Keeping Force)[9][10]
27,000+ killed[11][12][13]
11,644 captured[14]

1983–2009: At least 100,000 killed[15][16][17]
1983–2006: 70,000 killed[18][19]
1983–2009: 80,000–100,000 killed (UN, 2009)[20][21]
2008–2009: 40,000 civilians killed (UN, 2011)[22][23][24]
2008–2009: 146,000 civilians unaccounted[25][26] 2008–2009: 70,000 civilians unaccounted (UN, 2012)[27][28][29]

800,000 displaced at peak in 2001[30]
16 May 2009: Sri Lankan Government declared a military defeat of LTTE.[31]
17 May 2009: LTTE admit defeat by Sri Lankan Government.[32]
19 May 2009: President Mahinda Rajapaksa officially declares end of civil war in parliament.

The Sri Lankan Civil War (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ සිවිල් යුද්ධය; Tamil: இலங்கை உள்நாட்டுப் போர், Ilaṅkai uḷnāṭṭup pōr) was a civil war fought in Sri Lanka from 1983 to 2009. Beginning on 23 July 1983, there was an intermittent insurgency against the government by the Velupillai Prabhakaran-led Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers). The LTTE fought to create an independent Tamil state called Tamil Eelam in the north-east of the island,[33] due to the continuous discrimination and violent persecution against Sri Lankan Tamils by the Sinhalese dominated Sri Lankan Government.[34][35][36]

Violent persecution erupted in the form of the 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983 anti-Tamil pogroms, as well as the 1981 burning of the Jaffna Public Library. These were carried out by the majority Sinhalese mobs often with state support, in the years following Sri Lanka's independence from the British Empire in 1948.[37] Shortly after gaining independence, Sinhalese was recognized as the sole official language of the nation.[38] After a 26-year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end.[1]

An estimated 70,000 had been killed by 2007.[39][40][41] Immediately following the end of war, on 20 May 2009, the UN estimated a total of 80,000–100,000 deaths.[42][20][43] However, in 2011, referring to the final phase of the war in 2009, the Report of the Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka stated, “A number of credible sources have estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths.”[44]

Other sources quoting discrepancies in the census figures state that up to 140,000 people were unaccounted for during this period alone.[45] In 2012, the Secretary-General's Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka stated, 'The Panel of Experts stated that "[a] number of credible sources have estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths" while some Government sources state the number was well below 10,000. Other sources have referred to credible information indicating that over 70,000 people are unaccounted for.'[46]

The Sri Lankan government has repeatedly refused an independent, international investigation to ascertain the full impact of the war,[47][48] with some reports claiming that government forces were raping and torturing Tamils involved in collating deaths and disappearances.[49][50] A military whistleblower accused government forces of a cover up with bodies being buried in mass graves and chemicals being used to dissolve skeletons.[51][52]

During the early part of the conflict, the Sri Lankan forces attempted to retake the areas captured by the LTTE. The tactics employed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam against the actions of Government forces resulted in their listing as a terrorist organisation in 32 countries, including the United States, India, Canada and the member nations of the European Union.[53] The Sri Lankan government forces have also been accused of human rights abuses, systematic impunity for serious human rights violations, lack of respect for habeas corpus in arbitrary detentions, and forced disappearances.[54][55]

After two decades of fighting and four failed tries at peace talks, including the deployment of the Indian Army, the Indian Peace Keeping Force from 1987 to 1990, a lasting negotiated settlement to the conflict appeared possible when a cease-fire was declared in December 2001, and a ceasefire agreement signed with international mediation in 2002.[56] However, limited hostilities renewed in late 2005 and the conflict began to escalate until the government launched a number of major military offensives against the LTTE beginning in July 2006, driving the LTTE out of the entire Eastern province of the island. The LTTE then declared they would "resume their freedom struggle to achieve statehood".[57][58]

In 2007, the government shifted its offensive to the north of the country, and formally announced its withdrawal from the ceasefire agreement on 2 January 2008, alleging that the LTTE violated the agreement over 10,000 times.[59] Since then, aided by the destruction of a number of large arms smuggling vessels that belonged to the LTTE,[60] and an international crackdown on the funding for the Tamil Tigers, the government took control of the entire area previously controlled by the Tamil Tigers, including their de facto capital Kilinochchi, main military base Mullaitivu and the entire A9 highway,[61] leading the LTTE to finally admit defeat on 17 May 2009.[62] Following the LTTE's defeat, pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance dropped its demand for a separate state, in favour of a federal solution.[63][64] In May 2010, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the then president of Sri Lanka, appointed the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to assess the conflict between the time of the ceasefire agreement in 2002 and the defeat of the LTTE in 2009.[65]

Since the end of the civil war, the Sri Lankan state has been subject to much global criticism for violating human rights as a result of committing war crimes through bombing civilian targets, usage of heavy weaponry, the abduction and massacres of Sri Lankan Tamils and sexual violence. The LTTE gained notoriety for carrying out numerous attacks against civilians of all ethnicities, particularly those of Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Muslim ethnicity, using child soldiers, assassinations of politicians, and the use of suicide bombings primarily against military targets.[66][67][68] British mercenaries who worked for the private military contractor Keenie Meenie Services, which trained the Special Task Force of the Sri Lanka Police, were investigated by the Metropolitan Police for war crimes.[69]

The end of the war and victims are remembered in Remembrance Day and Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day.

  1. ^ a b "LTTE defeated; Sri Lanka liberated from terror". Ministry of Defence. 18 May 2009. Archived from the original on 21 May 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
  2. ^ a b c International Institute for Strategic Studies, Armed Conflicts Database. Archived 11 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Sri Lanka Army – Troop Strength". globalsecurity.org.
  4. ^ [1].
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20060511134040/http://acd.iiss.org/armedconflict/MainPages/dsp_ConflictWeapons.asp?ConflictID=174&YearID=961#2007
  6. ^ "Opposition leader rebutts [sic] Sri Lankan government claims". 26 December 2008. Archived from the original on 26 December 2008.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ "Humanitarian Operation – Factual Analysis, July 2006 – May 2009" (PDF). Ministry of Defence (Sri Lanka). 1 August 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Sri Lanka Database – Casualties of Terrorist violence in Sri Lanka". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Economic Burden by Sending IPKF in Sri Lanka" (PDF). Press Information Bureau of India - Archive. 15 December 1999. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  10. ^ Nakkawita, Wijitha (3 June 2009). "LTTE killing spree". Daily News. Archived from the original on 11 January 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  11. ^ Eelam War IV: Imminent End Archived 12 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Tamils mark 25-years of Tiger sacrifice Tamilnet .
  13. ^ 4073 LTTE cadres killed in ongoing battle.
  14. ^ "Sri Lankan experience proves nothing is impossible". The Sunday Observer. 5 June 2011. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  15. ^ "Sri Lanka's war 10 years on: Finding Father Francis". BBC News. London, U.K. 18 May 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
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  17. ^ "Open Wounds and Mounting Dangers". New York, U.S.A.: Human Rights Watch. 1 February 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Report 124 - Sri Lanka: The Failure of the Peace Process". Brussels, Belgium: International Crisis Group. 28 November 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  19. ^ Tramble, Rashunda (31 October 2006). "Sri Lankan talks stop on the A9 highway". International Relations and Security Network. ReliefWeb. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  20. ^ a b "Up to 100,000 killed in Sri Lanka's civil war: UN". ABC Australia. 20 May 2009.
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  23. ^ "Sri Lanka Marks 10 Years Since Civil War's End". Voice of America. Washington, D.C., U.S.A. Agence France-Presse. 18 May 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
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  27. ^ "Report of the Secretary-General's Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka". United Nations. November 2012. p. 14. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  28. ^ Macrae, Callum (3 September 2013). "Sri Lanka: Slaughter in the no fire zone". The Guardian. London, U.K. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  29. ^ Charbonneau, Louis (15 November 2012). "U.N. failed gravely in Sri Lanka - internal review panel". Reuters. London, U.K. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  30. ^ "Global Overview 2012: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Sri Lanka". Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC). 29 April 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  31. ^ Cite error: The named reference voas was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  32. ^ Cite error: The named reference tonline1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  33. ^ BBC News, Full text: Tamil Tiger proposals (2003) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3232913.stm
  34. ^ T. Sabaratnam, Pirapaharan, Volume 1, Introduction (2003)
  35. ^ T. Sabaratnam, Pirapaharan, Volume 1, Chapter 1: Why didn’t he hit back? (2003)
  36. ^ T. Sabaratnam, Pirapaharan, Volume 2, Chapter 3: The Final Solution (2004)
  37. ^ THOTTAM, JYOTI (19 May 2009). Time. ISSN 0040-781X http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1899590,00.html. Retrieved 18 May 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  38. ^ Kearney, Robert N. (1 March 1986). "Tension and Conflict in Sri Lanka". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  39. ^ "UN, aid agencies appeal for civilian protection in Sri Lanka as over 100,000 flee". UN News. 12 March 2007.
  40. ^ "Defiant Tigers cling to last bastion". 16 July 2007 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  41. ^ Staff, Reuters (15 October 2007). "Sri Lanka says 147 dead in recent fighting" – via www.reuters.com.
  42. ^ Mahr, Krista. "Sri Lanka to Start Tally of Civil-War Dead". Time.
  43. ^ "Sri Lanka PM will protect military on UN rights action". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  44. ^ "REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL'S PANEL OF EXPERTS ON ACCOUNTABILITY IN SRI LANKA" (PDF). United Nations. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  45. ^ "Sri Lanka's dead and missing: the need for an accounting". Crisis Group. 27 February 2012.
  46. ^ "Report of the Secretary-General's Internal Review Panel on United Nations action in Sri Lanka" (PDF). UN. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  47. ^ "Sri Lanka to refuse entry to UN investigators". www.telegraph.co.uk.
  48. ^ "Sri Lanka rejects growing calls for UN war crimes investigation". www.telegraph.co.uk.
  49. ^ https://itjpsl.com/assets/press/ENGLISH-ITJP-Press-release-Disappearance.pdf
  50. ^ International Crimes Evidence Project (ICEP) Sri Lanka, Island of impunity? Investigation into international crimes in the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war. (2014) https://piac.asn.au/2014/02/12/island-of-impunity/ p175
  51. ^ Channel 4 News, 27 Jul 2011, The Sri Lankan soldiers ‘whose hearts turned to stone’, https://www.channel4.com/news/the-sri-lankan-soldiers-whose-hearts-turned-to-stone
  52. ^ Trevor Grant, Sri Lanka's Secrets: How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away with Murder (2014) p.111 https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Sri_Lanka_s_Secrets/2zXWBQAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=“+A+special+acid+that+would+dissolve+bones+quickly+was+imported+from+China.+Local++media+reported+that+as+the+international+crescendo”&pg=PA111&printsec=frontcover
  53. ^ See here for related references.
  54. ^ "International Commission of Jurists Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka" (PDF). International Commission of Jurists. April 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 November 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
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  61. ^ Sri Lankan Forces Capture Last Major Rebel Base in Northeast Archived 13 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Bloomberg.
  62. ^ correspondents in Colombo (17 May 2009). "Tamil Tigers admit defeat in civil war after 37-year battle". News.com.au. Archived from the original on 19 May 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  63. ^ Haviland, Charles (13 March 2010). "Sri Lanka Tamil party drops statehood demand". BBC. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  64. ^ Burke, Jason (14 March 2010). "Sri Lankan Tamils drop demand for separate independent homeland". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  65. ^ Perera, Amrith Rohan. "Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation". Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  66. ^ Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Backgrounder Archived 26 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine Council on Foreign Relations - 21 July 2008
  67. ^ Gargan, Edward (2 May 1993). "Suicide Bomber Kills President of Sri Lanka". The New York Times.
  68. ^ "A Decade Without Justice for Sri Lanka's Tamils". thediplomat.com. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  69. ^ Sivathasan, Nalini. "British mercenaries investigated over Sri Lanka war crimes". BBC Asian Network.

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