Pillay raises concerns about war crimes

March 16, 2009 at 5:10 PM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, March 16 (UPI) -- Mounting civilian casualties caused by a conflict between the Sri Lankan army and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam could violate international laws.

Navi Pillay, U.N. high commissioner for human rights, recently raised concerns about the escalating humanitarian situation in the north of Sri Lanka.

The United Nations estimates that as many as 180,000 civilians are caught between a Sri Lankan military front and the militant LTTE opposition. Pillay said actions taken by both Sri Lanka and LTTE personnel may be war crimes, the United Nations reported.

"We need to know more about what is going on, but we know enough to be sure that the situation is absolutely desperate," Pillay said in a statement.

"The world today is ever sensitive about such acts that could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity."

The United Nations along with the International Crisis Group, the International Committee of the Red Cross and others have called on leaders of both the Sri Lankan government and LTTE to halt the violence to allow an emergency evacuation of the endangered civilians.

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