The video is said to have been handed to Channel4 by Journalists for Democracy and Human Rights (JDHR).
The JDHR website, however, is not accessible at the time I penned this down. My attempts to visit their site was blocked by my computer's firewall with the message, "Trojan horse found".
The video can be downloaded here (via Rapidshare). Viewer discretion is strongly advised.
It is impossible to prove the ethnicity of the victims, or the date of the video. The voices heard on the audio speak in fluent Sinhalese. The video does not appear to be doctored. However, in the past the Tamil Tigers have been known to be masters at forgery, which they used as propaganda to indoctrinate their following. They also used it against the Sri Lankan government.
In its report, Channel 4 stressed it could not verify the authenticity of the video which it received from a group called Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka.As gruesome as the video is, until the date and source of the video is proven, it is impossible to say that these were Tamils being shot. It's impossible to ascertain if this even took place under the watch of the current administration.
The group claims the video footage was taken in January by a soldier using a mobile phone.
Sri Lanka's office in London said soldiers were only involved in fighting against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.
"The High Commission of Sri Lanka categorically deny that the Sri Lankan armed forces engaged in atrocities against the Sri Lankan Tamil community," it said in a statement to Channel 4.
"They were only engaged in a military offensive against the LTTE."
Sri Lanka's response to the Sinhalese Marxist uprising was as brutal, and many such atrocities were carried out under the Premadasa government (UNP). The video could perhaps be from that era.
From August 1989, reprisal killing against the JVP became a regular feature. Bodies began to appear on road sides. During President Premadasa's rule arrangements were made to suppress the JVP militarily. A section of the JVP cadres made use of the ceasefire declared by the government over a period of three weeks and surrendered to the armed forces. The government announced that over 7,200 were under detention for involvement with the JVP.In any case, the only way Sri Lanka can now presume it's innocence is by opening it's doors to a neutral inquiry. If Sri Lanka is to move on from this horrific war and truly reconcile with all who have suffered, it must ensure justice is served.