Scotland Yard’s war crimes team, which is part of its counter-terrorism command, began an investigation into the role of British mercenaries in fighting the LTTE rebels in Sri Lanka in the 1980s.
The Metropolitan Police said it received a referral in March about alleged war crimes, which has now come to the fore as an investigation.
It reveals that a private security company, Kini Meeni Services (KMS), had designated a special unit of the Sri Lankan police in the 1980s as the Special Task Force (STF), which had insurgents from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Salem (LTTE) Asked to fight.
References emerged in a book by British investigative journalist Phil Miller earlier this year based on rejected government documents and freedom of information requests.
The book, titled ‘Kenny Mainy: The British Merchants Who Got Away With War Crime’, also claimed that the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) received air support from some of them for some UK pilots.
A statement from the Met Police said, “We can confirm that Met’s War Crimes Team – part of its Counter Terrorism Command – related to war crimes committed by British traders in Sri Lanka during March 1980 A referral was received. “
“Upon receipt of the referral, the war crimes team started a busy practice in the matter and subsequently launched an investigation. We are not ready to discuss any more details in this case which remains an active and ongoing police investigation in this case.
Kinney Meany, by the title of the book, is believed to be an Arabic slang for clandestine activities and was run by a retired colonel, Jim Johnson – a former Special Air Service (SAS) commander who carried out secret missions in Yemen and Oman. .
Johnson’s counter-insurgency experience came to the attention of Sri Lankan President Junius Jayawardene at the start of the Sri Lankan civil war in 1983, when the Anglophile leader was looking for British aid to defeat the Tamil Tigers.
Britain refused to officially send troops to help Jayawardene, fearing that it would jeopardize “substantial commercial and defense” deals.
“I welcome this police investigation which is long overdue. Much of the evidence against KMSS is contained in files from the British Foreign Office, which were classified for 30 years, allowing some senior KMS figures to pass without facing justice, ”said Miller, referring to the Met police investigation.
“More evidence is coming out that KMSS has been linked not only to the atrocities against Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority, but also against the Sinhalese majority, so a lot of questions have to be asked about the role of this British company in Sri Lanka’s turbulent history.” . ,” he said.
The Tamil Information Center (TIC) in London sent a detailed dossier of evidence to the Met Police earlier this year.
“The war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan state, the assistance of British mercenaries led to the death, displacement and widespread suffering of Tamil people.
“All those who committed those war crimes should be brought to justice. We hope that this investigation is ultimately the first step to a successful prosecution, ”said Anuraj Sinna, a director of the Tamil Information Center.
KMSS personnel are accused of allegedly flying helicopter gunships which were involved in attacks on Tamil civilians. The company’s employees trained Sri Lankan paramilitaries and commandos at the highest level, along with providing operational advice.
Paul Herron, a lawyer at the Public Interest Law Center representing TIC, said: “This is the first investigation that we know of British mercenaries working overseas and accused of committing war crimes. KMS was involved in covert activities across the planet from Nicaragua to Sri Lanka. “The KMSS came into existence with war-torn British veterans in the 1970s and, according to Miller’s book based on previously classified accounts, was active in controversial actions around the world and the UK governments of the time were unable to fully control them.” Were.
Despite Indian diplomats denouncing the presence of British mercenaries in Sri Lanka, the IPKF is believed to have received air support from these for-hire British pilots.
According to the book, the secret use of British traders lasted for four months following the Indo-Lanka Accord between 1987’s former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Jayawardene.
The book also traces the involvement of British mercenaries in atrocities against Tamil citizens, which occurred before the arrival of the IPKF.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) carried out a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the island nation’s northern and eastern provinces before its collapse in 2009 after the Sri Lankan army killed its supreme soldier Velupillai Prabhakaran.
Sri Lanka’s human rights record has been the subject of international condemnation, particularly over the impurity gained by law enforcement officials.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has called for an international investigation into alleged war crimes during a military conflict with the LTTE.
According to government figures, around 20,000 people are missing due to various conflicts, including a 30-year-long separatist war with the Lanka Tamils in the north and east, who claimed at least 100,000 lives.
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