Rights Group condemns Bindunuwewa acquittals

[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 June 2005, 10:55 GMT]
"These acquittals show a shocking failure of the police and judicial system in Sri Lanka to find justice for the dead and injured from this horrific incident," said Brad Adams, Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, a New York based international rights group. “As the victims were all Tamil, the government needs to move quickly to start fresh investigations and to prosecute the perpetrators, some of whom were police officers, or it will only further distance aggrieved Tamils,” Mr Adams added.

hrw logo"Last week’s acquittal by the Sri Lankan Supreme Court of all defendants in the mob killing of 27 Tamil detainees at the Bindunuwewa detention facility in October 2000 demonstrates the failure of the Sri Lankan justice system to address crimes against alleged Tamil Tiger members," Human Rights Watch said.

"On the night of October 25, 2000, following days of rumors in the local community that detainees were armed and dangerous, an angry mob stormed the detention facility. In spite of the presence of armed police, the mob killed 27 of the inmates, hacking and clubbing them to death. Some victims were burned to death. The remaining 14 detainees were seriously injured.

"Though there were approximately 60 police officers stationed around the camp, not a single officer arrested any member of the attacking crowd. Subsequent independent investigations revealed that not only did the police not do anything to prevent or stop the killings, but some police officers also participated in the attack, the report by Human Rights Watch said.

Saying , "Impartial observers of the Supreme Court hearing said the justices were openly hostile to the prosecution, and seemed to have decided beforehand that the accused were unfairly sentenced. One justice publicly reminded the courtroom to remember that the inmates who had died were members of the LTTE, suggesting that this might mitigate the guilt of the accused," the Rights Group questioned the independence of Sri Lanka's Supreme Court.

“The judgment of the Supreme Court calls into question its impartiality in dealing with cases related to the Tamil Tigers,” said Adams. “The Court must put aside politics and personal feelings when dealing with criminal offenses involving Tamils.”


External Links:
HRW: Sri Lanka: Failure of Justice for Victims of Massacre

 

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