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INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA
The Charge is Ethnic Cleansing
Sri Lanka's Undeclared War on Eelam Tamils...
in the Shadow of a Ceasefire
This report is an update on our last report issued 8 April 2006. The deteriorating situation demands some elaboration of the data in the attached Table. Thus this report provides descriptions of the overriding aspects of the deteriorating situation that is essential reading for anyone who wants to or needs to understand the situation.
Tamil civilians murdered by, and under the supervision of, the SLAFs since the Geneva talks on 24 February are given in a Table in this report. The modes of their extrajudicial killings fall into the following categories.
The violence in fact started immediately after the Geneva talks. The first Tamil civilian killing was on February 27. This was followed by further Tamil civilian killings on March 5, 6, 9, 20, 22, 24, 25, and 28. On April 7, respected Tamil community leader, Vigneswaran, was killed very close to a military checkpoint in Trincomalee. It is indeed dificult to understand why anyone cannot study this pattern of killing to determine the cause of the escalating violence.
Following all such face to face killing, police is brought in to remove the bodies, a judge is also usually present at the scene, and the bodies are taken to the hospital for a postmortem report and the bodies are released to the family. The case is brought to the courts. As is now the hallmark of the Sri Lankan justice system, it stops here.
Another facet of this dysfunctional justice system is the innumerable inquiries being ordered by the President into the killing of Tamil civilians which serves only to fool the international community and has lead to no where. We have marked the “inquiries” ordered by the President as reported in the international media for the events listed in the Table. Readers will be enlightened if they cared to follow up on the fate of these “inquiries”.
Attack on civilians (child right?) Allaipiddy 13 May, 30 April
On 30 April, in Allaipiddy, an islet off Jaffna, a 74 year old man was killed point blank by the Sri Lankan Navy as he begged the Navy not to shoot him. His daughter gave evidence to the judge. The executions of 13 civilians carried out by the Sri Lankan Navy on 13 May in the same islet crowns the death squad like murders that have been ongoing in Northeast. Imagine the terror in people’s mind.
People in Allaipiddy were in fact sleeping in numbers hoping for protection. This was to be a vain hope as the events on 13 May has shown. The gunmen did not even spare two very small children sleeping between their parents. Even the family’s pet dog was not spared. When the church priest Fr Amalathas tried to take the injured to the hospital, the Navy bared him. After the incident, people took refuge in public places including the PhilipNeri church. When SLMM went to investigate the murders, people fell at the feet of SLMM and begged to protect them.
From this same PhilipNeri church in Allaipiddy, scores of young men were arrested in the 1990s by the SLAFs and later disappeared. NESOHR (North East Secretariat On Human Rights) has recently issued a report on these disappearances. Near this PhilipNeri church in Allaipiddy inside the military zones, are several covered wells that contain the bodies of nearly 300 young men. Two of these wells were excavated and close to 100 bodies were recovered in the early 1 990s when the military withdrew from this area for a short time. This excavation was done, surreptitiously, without GoSL permission, by some Jaffna University staff. Before the remaining wells could be excavated Sri Lankan military had moved back and the wells remain covered.
Manthuvil on 7 May
What has happened to the eight bodies of the men shot and abducted from a Hindu temple on 7 May? Villagers say that they have seen the bodies in the bushes. They wanted SLMM to come with them so that they can show it. SLMM refused their assistance, went on their own, walked just along the road and declared there were no bodies. Where are the bodies? Why can’t 50,000 military personnel (1 for every 10 civilian) locate the bodies?
Attack on media (press freedom?)
There was the attack on the Uthayan Press office on 2 May, the International Day for media freedom. Two employees were killed. The attackers were looking for the editors and outraged at not finding the editors destroyed everything in sight. At the celebrations in Colombo on that day, to mark the international day for media freedom, the President tries to blame the LTTE for the attack on the Uthayan Press office. When the Uthayan editor at the meeting challenged him, the President promises to “investigate”. Attack on Tamil press by the Sri Lankan military has a very long tradition.
Attack on people’s representatives (democracy?)
As stated above the attacks continued, incessantly, from Geneva talks onwards leading up to the murder of respected Tamil community leader, Mr. Vigneswaran. Vigneswaran from Trincomalee was to be announced as a TNA member of parliament, to replace Mr. Joseph Pararajasingam. Pararajasingam, another respected people’s representative, TNA parliamentarian for Batticaloa, was also murdered in December 2005 by SLAFs. Vigneswaran’s murder was followed by the murders of two more people’s representatives in local government. Vilvarasa from Jaffna, TNA candidate for local government election, was killed on 20 April at his home as he came out to lock the door for the night by white-van paramilitary. Senthilnathan from Vavuniya, also TNA candidate for local government election was shot in his shop by helmeted motorbike paramilitary on 27 April.
Pararajasingam from Batticaloa, Vigneswaran from Trincomalee, Senthilnathan from Vavuniya and Vilvarasa from Jafna, that spans the entire Northeast.
Attacks in LTTE area (declaration of war?)
Eight claymore mine attacks carried out by SLAFs inside LTTE area has claimed the lives of seven civilians and injured many more. On 15 May a claymore mine attack in Semamadu in Vavuniya injured two. SLAFs has also shot and killed villagers who have gone into the forest area in LTTE region to hunt or collect wood. Five civilians have been murdered in this style in two separate incidents.
Tamils discuss, ask, and are outraged (are they fools?)
The current situation in the Northeast is nothing new to the Tamil people. For almost fifty years starting from 1958, they have faced the genocidal violence of the SLAFs, its paramilitaries and Sinhala mobs. Throughout this Genocidal history, Tamils have continued to discussed among themselves, asked questions and got angry about the flippant manner in which the international media and the international community ignored their plight.
This 50 year history of Genocide has been poorly documented due to the on going devastation of the community, loss of skill due to displacement, and terror among people living in GoSL controlled areas. This is a point that must be strongly registered in the minds of the SLMM and others from the international community who have come to help to resolve the situation. Without a heightened awareness of this past Genocidal history the helpers could naively make the situation worse for the Tamils.
The current context of SLAFs committing extrajudicial killing, initially using the paramilitary while SLAFs provided the backup for the activity, and lately taking direct part in these executions have been ignored by the international community. This despite the LTTE warning from as early as 2003 and despite the presence of an international monitoring mission (SLMM) stationed in the Northeast.
After the Geneva talks 174 Tamil civilians have been killed. Unless the SLMM becomes more proactive in ruling these extrajudicial killings for what they are, a heavy burden will be on SLMM shoulders and on the shoulders of the international community for failing to stop the slaughter of Tamil civilians by SLAFs. Tamils continue to discuss among themselves, ask questions why the international community is so flippant about their plight and they become outraged. Are the Tamils fools?
Headquarters, Political Division Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam