Amnesty International's 2010 report documents abuses in 159 countries and shows how powerful governments are blocking advances in international justice by standing above the law on human rights, shielding allies from criticism and acting only when politically convenient.
Between January and May 2009, some 300,000 Sri Lankans were trapped on a narrow strip of land between the retreating Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the advancing Sri Lankan military. As reports of abuses by both sides increased, the UN Security Council failed to intervene. At least 7,000 people were killed – some have put the figure as high as 20,000. The Sri Lankan government dismissed all reports of war crimes by its forces and rejected calls for an international inquiry, while failing to hold any credible, independent investigations of its own. The UN Human Rights Council convened a special session, but power plays led to member states approving a resolution drafted by the Sri Lankan government, complimenting itself on its success against the LTTE. By the end of the year, despite further evidence of war crimes and other abuses, no one had been brought to justice.