John Holmes, the UN Under Secretary General who oversees the United Nations' humanitarian operations said to media that it was unclear how many died in the months before Sri Lanka declared victory over the LTTE on May 18.
He said there would likely never be a reliable death toll. "I fear we may (never know), because I don't know that the government would be prepared to cooperate with any inquiry," Holmes said. He added that there was no doubt 'several thousand' civilians had died during the siege.
The UN Human Rights Council decided this week not to investigate the civilian deaths in the war, a decision that human rights groups have described as disappointing.