Sri Lanka military responsible for actions of paramilitaries – judge
[TamilNet, Friday, 22 October 2004, 11:27 GMT]
Vavuniya magistrate Friday observed that the Sri Lanka army should bear responsibility for the disappearance of Mr. Ariyathas Vijayakumar who was abducted by the paramilitary EPRLF (Varathar Faction) on 15 August 2000 in his findings forwarded to the Vavuniya High Court after preliminary inquiry into the Habeas Corpus application. The magistrate, Mr. Manickavasagar Ilancheliyan, said that the SLA’s position that it had no knowledge of the arrest and detention is untenable because paramilitary groups like EPRLF (V) worked with the military.
Mr. Vijayakumar’s mother filed the Habeas Corpus application in the Vavuniya High Court seeking his whereabouts after complaining to the Human Rights Commission office in Vavuniya.
In his evidence to the court on 15 June this year, Col. Don Manuelge Deepal Alwis, the commanding officer of the Sri Lanka army’s 21-1 in Vavuniya at the time, said that the military did not take Mr. Vijayakumar into custody and that he came to know from a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross that the EPRLF (V) had arrested the youth.
Referring to the military officer’s evidence, the magistrate noted that the EPRLF worked with the SLA and could not have kept weapons without the military’s permission.
Mr. Ilancheliyan said in his report that it was wrong on the part of the army for not taking action even after coming to know that the EPRLF (V) had illegally arrested Mr. Vijayakumar. He also noted that there was an affidavit by a witness that he had seen Mr. Vijayakumar (who was 22 years when he was arrested by EPRLF-V) in the detention cell at the SLA’s JOSSOP camp in Vavuniya.
He said that his preliminary inquiry showed that EPRLF (V) was primarily responsible for the disappearance of Mr. Vijayakumar.
None of the respondents were present in court when it was taken up Friday.