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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
Impunity: Sri Lanka Attorney General obstructs justice says Sinhala judge
De facto impunity for security forces - Bolgoda Trial Collapses
When the case against 22 members of the STF including senior officers of the Intelligence Unit for involvement in dumping of bodies in the Bolgoda Lake was taken up in Courts on March 13, the judge commented that the relevant parties were not present in Court and that the absence of representatives of the Attorney General's Department in such a situation was an obstruction to justice. Saying that continuing with the trial in such a case was a waste of time, he added that he would not sit again in this case.
The Bolgoda case was one which had received a great deal of prominence both locally and abroad since it was a blatant situation of extra-judicial execution of those in state custody. However, ever since the case first broke in mid-1995 and STF officers were found to be involved in the matter, there have been a series of delays in the legal process. (LacNet Colombo Calling - No. 10 - March 19, 1997 - An Independent News Analysis from Sri Lanka) (see also Tortured Tamil bodies float in Bolgoda Lake)
"The case relating to the 1995 murder in custody of 21 Tamils, whose bodies were found in Bolgoda and other lakes around Colombo, was struck off the court roll by Colombo Chief Magistrate Munidasa Nanayakkara on 13 March as neither the accused nor the Attorney Generals representative were present. The 22 Special Task Force (STF) members arrested in connection with the killings in September 1995 and released on bail three months later had allegedly returned to active duty. Those killed included Naresh Rajadurai, a video shop owner in Colombos Wellawatte suburb.
The Magistrate said that the absence of the Attorney Generals Department was an obstruction of justice. Human rights agencies say the manifest reluctance on the part of the states law enforcement authorities in such an important case encourages impunity.
Over 300 Tamils were arrested in Colombo on 2 April in search operations. ... Tamil MP Joseph Pararajasingham says 1,700 Tamil youths are currently in detention suspected of LTTE links. Eighty eight youths arrested in May 1996 in Jaffna were recently found to be held at the Youth Rehabilitation Centre in Wiravila in Hambantota District, 85 miles south of Colombo. The youths say in a letter to Mr Pararajasingham that they were assaulted after arrest and forced to sign confessions in the Sinhala language. None of them has been produced before a court.
Eighty nine others also arrested in Jaffna and sent to Colombo in December 1996 are expected to be produced before the Anuradhapura courts in early April. In late March, a Colombo magistrate ordered the release of Mariyanayagi Peter arrested on 24 February and detained. She had come to Colombo from the north to join her husband abroad.
Addressing the 53rd Session of the UN Human Rights Commission in March, Tamil Congress leader Kumar Ponnambalam said there was total disregard of the principles relating to arrest and detention in Sri Lanka and Tamils were tortured and confessions manufactured. There has been a startling increase in gang-rape, involuntary disappearances in the north-east and in Colombo and in cases of extra-judicial executions. Mr Ponnambalam was detained briefly at the Colombo airport on his way to the UN Sessions in Geneva and documents on torture removed from him. (British Refugee Council - Sri Lanka Monitor, March 1997)