Tamil Judge sought for Mylanthanai Case

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 December 1999, 18:45 GMT]
A landmark murder trial involving 21 Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers attached to the Punanai Army camp indicted for massacring 35 Tamil civilians, has been postponed until January 19, 2000 until a judge proficient in Tamil is appointed to try the case.

Colombo High Court Judge Chandra Ekanayaka said that it was preferable for a judge proficient in Tamil to hear this case as the proceedings of the inquest, and the notes relating to the identification parade, are in Tamil.

Senior State Counsel S. Thurairaja representing the Attorney General (AG) submitted that the prosecution had forwarded Sinhala translations of these records, and therefore the problems would be minimal.

Mr. Thurairaja continued that the Attorney General had already exercised the fiat on two occasions. Once it was to transfer the case from Batticaloa upon a request by the defence.

The Attorney General will now have to forward an application to the Chief Justice through the Judicial Service Commission to appoint a judge on the basis suggested by Court.

Senior defence Counsel Daya Perera (PC) submitted that his clients have asked for a trial before a Sinhala speaking jury. Therefore, the judge has to be proficient not only in Tamil, but must also be able to address the jury in Sinhala. There ought to be a compromise, somewhere, he concluded.

In the case, 21 SLA soldiers are indicted for massacring 35 Tamils, including a one-year-old baby, men and women at Mylanthanai on 2 August, 1992.

Initially there were 23 suspects at the non-summary proceedings. Thereafter, 21 of them were committed to High Court for trial. Now, 19 of them stand trial as two of them are believed to be dead.

P. Kiri Banda, K.Weerasinghe, R.Bandara, Sunil Dasanayaka, S.Ratnayaka, K.Ranawera, A.Ranjith, J.Herath, Lal Samarawickrama, R.Janaka Priya, Nimal Karunaratne, K.Luxman, Priyantha Jegath, Nimal Edward, S.Rathnakara, A.Bandara, W.Kalagedera, L.Amerasinghe, Ajith Upali Bandara, Mudiyanalage Dasaratne are the accused in the case.


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