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Fifth Anniversary of Trincomalee Students execution

[TamilNet, Sunday, 02 January 2011, 01:18 GMT]
As relatives of the five Trincomalee students, who were shot dead execution style by Sri Lanka soldiers on January 2nd 2006, prepare to remember the fifth anniversary and mourn the death of their children, Dr. Kasipillai Manoharan, the father of Ragihar, one of the students killed, appealed to international rights groups including the UN Human Rights Commission to investigate the crime and to provide justice to his lost son and his friends who were killed. Information, recently made public, from the US embassy in Colombo, which has highlighted that ruling Rajapakse family sanctioned extra-judicial killings in the NorthEast, adds further obligation to international human rights watchdogs to take steps to advocate independent international investigations into war crimes.

PDF IconPost-Trinco-massacre photo album
Journalist Sugirdharajan who took photographs showing that students were killed at point-blank range was gunned down on the 23rd January near the Governor's Secretariat.

Dr. Manoharan, speaking to TamilNet from his UK residence, said he would not rest until he obtains justice for his son. Ragihar would have qualified as a doctor, like his father, had the Sri Lankan soldiers resisted from pulling the triggers on the highly accomplished students on that fateful day in 2006.

Dr. Manoharan said that after failing to bribe him into not pursuing his son's case, Colombo derailed the video-based remote witness statements fearing incriminating evidence before the Government appointed "Commission of Inquiries." Amnesty faulted the independence of the CoI and accused attorney general, C.R. de Silva for actively undermining the independence of the CoI that was tasked with investigating allegations of serious human rights violations by the security forces.

CoI prematurely closed the file on Ragihar's (Trinco-5) case . The case in Trincomalee Magistrate's court (DR-11/1-2006) is also a sham as the magistrate postpones the case on a monthly schedule for the last five years, asking the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) to produce reports of investigations, and the CID responding with excuses. Dr Manoharan added that even his requests for court records are refused as these records have reportedly being held in the Magistrate's custody.

Dr. Manoharan said that with Amnesty's postcard campaign on his son's case there is renewed focus on the matter, and that he is hopeful that 2011 may be the year when his son may finally receive justice.

US-based pressure group Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) submitted an affidavit containing the personal testimony of Dr Manoharan and two detailed reports of evidence collected on the killings by a Rights Group whose members are in self-exile due to threat to their lives, as record of evidence to the Dublin war-crimes tribunal hearing in January 2010.

Trinco executions crime scene
Trinco executions crime scene
The names and the date of birth of the five students killed on 2nd January 2006 in Trincomalee, a big harbor town under the control of and heavily garrisoned by the Sri Lanka security forces are:
  • Manoharan Ragihar 22.09.1985
  • Yogarajah Hemachchandra 04.03.1985
  • Logitharajah Rohan 07.04.1985
  • Thangathurai Sivanantha 06.04.1985
  • Shanmugarajah Gajendran 16.09.1985
Dr. Manoharan's efforts drew death threats from Sri Lanka military, widely acknowledged to be responsible for the crime, forcing the family to flee Sri Lanka, and seek safety in the U.K.

Investigations by the Sri Lanka President appointed Commission of Inquiries (CoI) were suspended when witnesses appearing remotely in video conferencing system threatened to expose Colombo's complicity in rights violations. In addition, Sri Lanka President intervened to force the resignation of a Tamil member of the committee citing conflict-of-interest, rendering the CoI ineffective.

Amnesty International (AI) has embarked on a postcard campaign "to use this case as an example of the ongoing lack of accountability in Sri Lanka," according to the U.S. Director of Amnesty Jim McDonald. AI researchers plan to use the campaign as the focus of a broader effort to highlight the need for an independent international investigations into Sri Lanka's war crimes.

Related Articles:
14.10.10   HRW, ICG, Amnesty reject invite, slam LLRC
20.06.10   Alston assails Sri Lanka's "Reconciliation" commission

External Links:
Amnesty: Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation


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