THE actions of the Sri Lankan army at the end of the country's brutal civil war face new scrutiny with the release of photographs allegedly showing a child was executed in cold blood by soldiers.
The Sri Lankan government rejects the allegations.
Pictures released by Britain's Channel 4 and examined in a new documentary show 12-year-old Balachandran Prabhakaran, the son of the Tamil Tigers leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, safe and apparently in the captivity of the Sri Lankan army hours before he was killed in May 2009.
The government has maintained Prabhakaran's family were killed in fighting at the same time as the Tigers leader died in an ambush. The bodies of his wife and daughter have never been found.
In the photographs the boy is shown wearing shorts and under a blanket, sitting in a military bunker. In one picture he is eating a snack, in another he is looking out of the bunker.
Another photo shows Balachandran, in the same shorts, lying on his back, dead from five bullet wounds in his chest. Digital analysis is said to show it was taken two hours after the first two pictures, with the same camera.
Callum Macrae, the director of the documentary, No Fire Zone, said the new photos were important evidence ''because they appear to rule out any suggestion that Balachandran was killed in crossfire or during a battle. They show he was held, even given a snack, before being taken and executed in cold blood.''
The release of No Fire Zone next month will bring renewed focus on the government's human rights record. The film will be screened at the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival, running concurrently with the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which will examine human rights in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan government said the release of the pictures was designed to discredit the nation. A military spokesman, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, said the allegations were ''lies, half-truths and numerous forms of speculation''.
''This is not the first time such unsubstantiated allegations have been levelled against the Sri Lankan forces,'' he said.
''Interestingly, these come up as we near a UNHRC meeting and die down thereafter. No substantive evidence has been presented.''