Published On: 15th November 2020

Today’s Sunday Times features a story (paywalled) about PILC’s work.

We have been instructed by the Tamil Information Centre (TIC) to file a complaint with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)’s War Crimes Unit. The complaint relates to alleged war crimes commited by British mercenaries in Sri Lanka.

The MPS has completed a scoping exercise into the allegations and detectives from the War Crimes Unit are now proceeding with a full investigation. This comes after PILC, acting for TIC, sent a detailed dossier of evidence to the MPS last month.

The complaint is supported by copies of declassified Foreign Office files and other documents relating to Keenie Meenie Services (KMS), a mercenary company that worked for Sri Lanka’s military during the 1980s.

We allege that helicopter gunships manned by KMS personnel were involved in attacks on Tamil civilians. KMS also trained Sri Lankan paramilitaries and commandos, as well as giving operational advice at the highest level, during a period in which repeated atrocities were committed against Tamils.

Paul Heron, senior solicitor at PILC, told the Sunday Times: “This is the first investigation that we know of into British mercenaries operating overseas and alleged to have committed war crimes. KMS was involved in covert activities across the planet, from Nicaragua to Sri Lanka.”

“Our clients are appalled by the activities of these mercenaries and the tacit approval given to them by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”

Earlier this year TIC also submitted a complaint about KMS to the United Nation’s Working Group on Mercenaries.

PILC has instructed Shanthi Sivakumaran from No.5 Chambers in the current matter.

PILC is also working closely with the journalist Phil Miller, author of Keenie Meenie: The British Mercenaries Who Got Away With War Crimes.