Is the State complacent?
By Gihan Indraguptha and Santhush Fernando
“There is a zone of impunity with regard to extra judicial
killings in Sri Lanka. There is a serious investigative vacuum
in relation to all actors involved in Sri Lanka. The police
appear to have lost the appetite to sustain investigations and
there is a serious lack of confidence in the police ability to
investigate.” Phillip Alston – UN Special Rappateur on Extra
Several serious violent incidents which occurred in the country
during the last few months remain unresolved casting a shadow
over the law enforcement authorities and their ability to uphold
the rule of law. The credibility of the police and the
government is at stake. If Sri Lanka is to prevent getting
isolated as it did in the early 1980s, then the government needs
to act earnestly and the many branches of the law need to show
that justice is still alive and functioning.
January 2, 2006.
Five youth were brutally assassinated in Trincomalee. The finger
of responsibility for the deaths was directed at the STF
despatched to Trinco. To this day not a single individual has
been produced for this crime. (See AG’s letter to IGP above).
When there’s a will to resolve a crime, the police have done so
in remarkably quick time. They uncovered the details leading to
the murder of High Court Judge Sarath Ambeypitiya. Chief Justice
Sarath N. Silva, Solicitor General C. R. De Silva and others
expedited the probe.
In the Hokandara murder case, new technologies were used to link
the murderers to the scene of the crime.
05 headless bodies- April 27
Five decapitated male corpses were found in Kaduwela and
Avissawella. It is alleged that the bodies are of Tamils who
have been arrested during searches conducted after the
assassination attempt on Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka.
They are learnt to have disappeared from Colombo. Five headless
bodies found were only partially clothed, belonged to males, and
have serious cut injuries to the bodies. Later one body was
handed over to Sandanam Mahalingam, who claimed that it belonged
to his son, Mahalingam Narendran. The Avisawella Magistrate
ordered the police to hand over the body to be cremated at
Madampitiya cemetery in Colombo. Meanwhile, the Ruwanwella
Magistrate ordered a DNA test on another body. Relatives have
identified him as Sivasamy Sukumar of Grandpass.
Kayts massacre - May 13
Gunmen suspected to be from the Navy from the Mandaithivu camp
surrounded a civilian house in Allaipiddy in Mandaithivu islet,
and opened fire killing 08 civilians. Three seriously wounded
persons were rushed to Jaffna hospital where one of them
succumbed to his injuries. Jaffna Magistrate ordered the police
to provide security to the ambulance from Jaffna hospital. Later
the same day three civilians belonging to another family were
massacred. Kayts District Court Judge, Mr. Jeyaraman Trotsky had
reprimanded the CID for attempting to cover up the
investigations. Close relatives of the murdered, had told Judge
Trotsky during the deposition they gave on May 19, that they can
identify the two sailors.
Vankalai- June 8-
Unidentified persons armed with guns and knives kill four
members of the same family Bootprints and a miltary badge with
star were reportedly found at the massacre site. Eyewitnesses in
the area, Thomaspuri Ward No 10 in Vankalai, have told Mannar
Additional Magistrate that they could identify the soldiers
involved in the massacre. Villagers alleged the mother was raped
before the massacre. Local residents and eye witnesses told
Mannar Additional Magistrate Mr. T. J. Prabakaran who went to
the scene of the murders that they had seen three Sri Lanka Army
(SLA) soldiers in uniform around 10 a.m.
Pesalai- June 17
Sailors of the Sri Lanka Navy allegedly shot and killed four
fishermen at the shores of Pesalai in Mannar and lobbed grenades
into the Church of Our Lady of Victory in Pesalai, killing a
woman and wounding at least 44 persons. This followed a naval
battle with the Sea Tigers.
Lakmal Sampath de
Silva- July 2
Two intelligence officers, a lieutenant and a private attached
to regular forces were arrested for the abduction and killing of
defence correspondent Lakmal Sampath but so far investigations
have yielded nothing. During questioning of the suspects it
transpired that the journalist had stated that he knew the
identities of the perpetrators of the Avissawella killings,
which is thought to be the reason for his killing. Meanwhile
many influential persons had attempted to tamper with the
investigations the police had stated. The original team which
carried out the investigation was removed and a new group was
put in charge. Furthermore, a former head of the Directorate of
Military Intelligence (DMI) was also blocking investigations,
police sources said.
The mother of the journalist Rupa Silva was been intimidated by
certain interested parties that wanted their names exonerated
from the killing, The Nation learns.
Amnesty International has castigated the Sri Lankan government
as having a record of “disturbing pattern of incomplete or
ineffective investigations” of the “widespread extrajudicial