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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
[see also "Disappearances were carried out as part of a plan approved by the highest political authorities" says Asian Legal Resource centre at 56th Sessions of UN Commission on Human Rights]
|Other related pages at the
website are -
(1) The charge
is genocide - mass graves in Chemmani, Jaffna - 13 July 1998
"Against partisans backed by the entire population, colonial armies are helpless. They have only one way of escaping from the harassment which demoralises them .... This is to eliminate the civilian population. As it is the unity of a whole people that is containing the conventional army, the only anti-guerrilla strategy which will be effective is the destruction of that people, in other words, the civilians, women and children..." (Jean Paul Sartre's Statement 'On Genocide' at the Second Session of the Bertrand Russell International War Crimes Tribunal on Vietnam, held in Denmark in November 1967)
"On the morning of Wednesday, 16 June 1999, Corporal Somaratne Rajapakse was brought into Jaffna Magistrate's Court under tight security. During the first hour of court proceedings, Rajapakse was confined to a room in the complex. He was handcuffed to a prison officer. That morning, Rajapakse was expected to reveal the places where he had buried people who had been killed by the army in 1996. Rajapakse had first made this revelation at the end of his trial in July last year where he was convicted in the Krishanthi Kumaraswamy rape and murder case along with four other soldiers. At around 11 am, Rajapakse, in a white shirt and grey slacks, was led into the courtroom in the company of three policemen. He revealed details of arrests, torture and murder that had taken place in and around Chemmani area where he served in 1996. Excerpts Rajapakse's confession in court::
|"I was at the Ariyalai camp doing civil administration. At
that time I worked under Captain Lalith Hewa. My job was to register family
names and the names of youth. We would prepare two lists.
Once, Captain Lalith Hewa and Lieutenant Wijesiriwardene brought soldiers from another section to work under me. We were given a list of people who they said were Tiger suspects. I was asked to show the places where these suspects lived. Thereafter they conducted cordon-and-search operations.
Major Weerakkody and Major Gunasekera brought people before two Tiger informants and the informants were asked to point out who the Tiger suspects were. The ones they had identified were separated from the rest. About 50 people were identified and were photographed.
At Ariyalai I can show how people were arrested killed and buried. At the beginning some people were arrested and brought to a camp and kept at the Jaya building. Some were kept at a school. The ones who ordered this were Captain Lalith Hewa, Lt. Wijesiriwardene and Lt. Thudugala.
They were also the ones involved in the arrest of the government servant Selvaratnam. He was brought to the camp. The next day his wife came and asked me whether I had seen him. I did not have the answer then. At that camp there was a building used to torture people. I can show it to you now. When I went to the camp, there were 25 people in that building. Selvaratnam was also there. His legs were tied. He pleaded with me saying he didn't have any Tiger connections. I asked Captain Hewa to release him. He agreed. But that night they killed him.
The next day when I went back I saw 10 more dead bodies. When I was working at the Jaya building, another man, one Udaya Kumara, was arrested. His family came and pleaded for his release. I went and asked Captain Jayawardena to do so. That afternoon he was taken to another camp. When I went there they got a radio message asking to release this man. He was hanging by his feet and his body was cut with blades. They couldn't release him. He was killed later. I know the weapons they used for torture very well and I can show them to you in that building.
There was a day when I was asked to bring a mammoty by Captain Lalith Hewa. When I got there, Captain Hewa was with a woman who had no clothes on. This woman and her husband had been brought to the camp earlier. Lalith Hewa raped the woman. Later, he attacked the woman and her husband with the mammoty I brought and he also used some rods. Both of them died. He tried to bury them there but couldn't. Then the bodies were brought to Chemmani. I can show you where they are buried.
Lots of people disappeared from Ariyalai. I can tell you how many were arrested. I also know how many people were buried. Although I was accused of murdering Krishanthi Kumaraswamy I didn't do it. I buried her body but didn't know at the time that it was her. My four colleagues who were convicted and I, all gave statements.
I can show you 10 places in Chemmani where bodies are buried. ASP Perera can show five places. D. M. Jayatilleke can show one place near a kovil where a number of people were buried.
There is also an area behind the Jaya building. I know of two workers in a garage owned by one Ravi who were taken to the main camp. They were killed. I know where they have been buried."
(Source: page 14, Tamil Times, 15 July 1999)