“On the LTTE, de Maio said that it had tried to keep civilians in the middle of a permanent state of violence. It saw the civilian population as a ‘protective asset’ and kept its fighters embedded amongst them. De Maio said that the LTTE commanders, objective was to keep the distinction between civilian and military assets blurred. They would often respond positively when ICRC complained to the LTTE about stationing weapons at a hospital, for example. The LTTE would move the assets away, but as they were constantly shifting these assets, they might just show up in another unacceptable place shortly thereafter.” the US Mission to UN informed Washington.
The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The “Confidential” cable discuses what had happened on the ground during and since the conflict. The cable was written by the US Ambassador to Geneva Clint Williamson on July 15, 2009.
After a meeting with Jacque de Maio, ICRC Head of Operations for South Asia on July 9, 2009, the US ambassador Clint Williamson wrote; “De Maio said it would be hard to state that there was a systematic order to LTTE fighters to stick with civilians in order to draw fire. Civilians were indeed under ‘physical coercion not to go here or there,’ he said. Thus, the dynamics of the conflict were that civilians were present all the time. This makes it very difficult to determine though at what point such a situation becomes a case of ‘human shields.’