1. It has been reported by several news agencies (such as PTI, REUTERS, AFP and PT) that the Sri Lankan military stripped the clothes off the bodies of Tamil Tiger guerrillas killed in an attack on 22 October 2007 and paraded the naked bodies on 23rd October 2007 in Anuradhapura city. Army personnel, transported the bodies in Tractor trailers (that are normally used to collect garbage), with the Sinhala Police escorting, local residents said. Sri Lankan Authorities had refused to hand over the corpses to the hostile party through the ICRC.
2. Huge posters with the image of dead body of LTTE leader (nearly naked) were also exhibited in a Sri Lankan Government’s Official ceremony organized by the defence ministry to celebrate war victory and the 60th anniversary of Sri Lanka armed forces. It was opened by the President Mahinda Rajapakse.
3. The body of the LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran was clothed in LTTE uniform on the first photographic images that was issued by Defence Ministry in State media. A few days later they issued another set of images of the body of Prabhakaran, nearly naked. He had been clothed with a tiny strip of cloth, an ‘Amudaya’. This way of clothing of the LTTE leader is a calculated insult as understood by all Sinhalese. The body was covered with muddy patches - which appeared to have been applied after he was stripped naked.
4. It has been widely reported that the dead body of the LTTE leader had either been cremated or buried un-marked in a secret location. Sri Lanka Army sources had stated that the government is planning to bury LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran in an unmarked mass grave. It was said that Mr. V. Prabhakaran will be buried along with all the other LTTE fighters who were killed in the final assault. If it is the case that there was a mass grave its location is likely to be around the same lagoon where Mr. Prabhakaran's body was found. Sri Lankan army sources said that the mass burial is being undertaken to prevent a memorial being built in the honour of Prabhakaran.
Alternatively there are reports that his body was in fact cremated:
"We cremated the body in the same area and threw the ashes into the Indian ocean. Even before Prabhakaran was killed, I knew we had won the war, but I was overjoyed when I had confirmation of his death," General Fonseka told the Sunday Rivira newspaper in an interview.
5. According to the Sri Lankan government's report LTTE leader V Prabhakaran was killed when he was fired on by Sri Lankan soldiers. If this is the case, the injury on his head consistent with a cut with a sword or an axe must have occurred after he was killed. The degrading treatment of the body of V. Prabhakaran, held as a saviour by many Tamil people can only be seen as a calculated attempt to insult and denigrate these people.
6. Rivira newspaper also revealed that other 170 identified bodies of LTTE leaders and cadres also cremated and the ashes were thrown in the sea.
There is no evidence for the existence of even a single individually marked grave for all the dead who were slaughtered in recent massacre – whether they were civilians or combatants!
7. There are a number of video clips in the public domain showing degrading treatment of dead bodies of LTTE female cadres by Sri Lankan forces. Most of the bodies were stripped naked. These video clips have been recorded by Sri Lankan soldiers by using their mobile phone cameras for their own sadistic enjoyment.
The treatment of the battlefield dead can be divided into two aspects. First, there is a prohibition on deliberate mistreatment of the body, either through failure to treat it with appropriate respect or through mutilation. Second, there is a prohibition on pillaging the dead. These mandates concerning the dead are as much derived from the customary laws of war as from the Geneva Conventions.
The Geneva Conventions takes the customary rules further. In Article 16 of the First Geneva Convention, we find an obligation for the party that has the body to send to the other party (usually through a neutral power or the ICRC) written evidence of death. Where the body is identified with the required double identity disk, one half of the disk, along with any personal effects found on the body, is to be sent to the other side.
Treatment of the Dead- International Humanitarian Law:
Rule 112. Whenever circumstances permit, and particularly after an engagement, each party to the conflict must, without delay, take all possible measures to search for, collect and evacuate the dead without adverse distinction. [IAC/NIAC]
Rule 113. Each party to the conflict must take all possible measures to prevent the dead from being despoiled. Mutilation of dead bodies is prohibited. [IAC/NIAC]
Rule 114. Parties to the conflict must endeavour to facilitate the return of the remains of the deceased upon request of the party to which they belong or upon the request of their next of kin. They must return their personal effects to them. [IAC]
Rule 115. The dead must be disposed of in a respectful manner and their graves respected and properly maintained. [IAC/NIAC]
Rule 116. With a view to the identification of the dead, each party to the conflict must record all available information prior to disposal and mark the location of the graves. [IAC/NIAC]