Sri Lanka:Atrocities without responsibility.The Muttur Massacre case

On Augutst the 4th or the 5th 2006, 17 aid workers were killed in Muttur, a town close to Trincomalee. At first the Sri Lankan army denied any involvement. But the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, an independent international agency with the mission of controlling the ceasefire. This body war formed after the Peace Talks and its members were primarily from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, difficult to image more neutral observers.

The Head of the Mission, Swedish Major Ulf Hericsson described the incident one of the most serious recent crimes against humanitarian aid workers worldwide”(source: Huggler, Justin (2006-08-31).” Europe accusses Sri Lankan army of assassinating aid workers”, The Independent, UK London) and clearly suspected of governmental forces. The Organisation >u>“University Teachers for Human Rights”, that distanced and criticized both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government for atrocities, released a report about the massacre. I strongly invite everybody to read it, because it is a vivid testimony of the struggle to bring justice in Sri Lanka and it is as well a good work of investigative reportage. The government maintained that the killing happened early in the morning, when the perpetrators should have been the LTTE. Patiently putting all the pieces together, the report is convinced that the massacre was committed later, in the evening of the 4th or in the morning of the 5th, when governmental forces were in control of the area.

Here I’ll quote the result of their investigation:

“On 4th August 2006 17 aid workers were extrajudicially executed in their Action Contre la Faim (ACF) compound in Mutur town. Through blatant cover up by the Sri Lankan authorities, their experts, Attorney General and diplomats overseas the facts of killings have been suppressed along with any potential association between this massacre and the killing of five students on the Trincomalee foreshore on 2nd January 2006.

Muttur Massacre.
From the Sri Lankan Guardian

With the support of individuals equally interested in bringing out the truth and finding justice we have uncovered information that reveals that the 17 aid workers were killed by at least one member of the Muslim Home Guard (Jehangir) and two police constables (Susantha and Nilantha) in the presence of the Sri Lankan Naval Special Forces. Four different types of guns were used. Evidence suggests that the killers had prior approval from ASP (Sarath Mulleriyawa) and OIC (Chandana Senayake) for their vile enterprise. But it is highly unlikely that the ASP and OIC would have taken a reckless approach or that they had any particular reason to want the aid workers killed and they had earlier received orders from Trincomalee to ensure the safety of the aid workers. We believe they may have received an instruction from their superiors in Trincomalee (namely the DIG Rohan Abeywardene and SSP Kapila Jayasekere) that the aid workers should be killed. The commandos must have been informed by their superior to let the killings take place and may be directly responsible for firing the bullets that killed at least one of the aid workers.”

The course of justice has been impeded many times, with disappearance of evidence, perjury down all along the hierarchy of the Attorney General’s Department, the Police, with the government promoting people involved instead of punishing them.

In September 2006 President Rajapaksa launched a commission to investigate the case, remember one the most “serious recent crimes against humanitarian aid workers worldwide”. The Sri Lankan government stated that they don’t need foreigners expertise to carry on this inquiry. They rhetoric of:

”We have our Supreme Court, our judges, our own Police Force, Attorney General, forensic pathologists and ballistic experts. We don’t need foreign help in investigations that are progressing well’.”(from the UTHR report)

This is really a lesson to be learnt and is that the commissions for reconciliation are dead tracks. The killing of 17 aid workers don’t have a responsible: Do you think that the massacre of 40 000 will?

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