Ratwatte to give evidence in election massacre case

[TamilNet, Saturday, 29 January 2005, 17:19 GMT]
General Anurudha Ratwatte, former deputy defence minister in the then People Alliance (PA) government and one of the accused in Udathalawinne massacre case on February 3 in the Trial at Bar. In this case General Ratwatte, his two sons Lohan Ratwatte and Chanuka Ratwatte and thirteen others are indicted on 72 counts including murder of ten Muslim youths and threatening valid voters to prevent them from exercising their franchise in 2001 December 10th general election, legal sources said.

anurudda_ratwatte.gifAt that time of committing the alleged offence, General Ratwatte was holding the post of Deputy Defence Minister.

The case is being heard before a Trial-at-Bar bench comprising three High Court Judges.

However, the President of the bench, Justice Eric Basanayake, has been promoted to the Court of Appeal. Hence, the case came up for hearing before the other two judges, Mr.Sunil Rajapakse and Mr.Deepali Wijesundera Friday, legal sources said.

President's Counsel Mr.Wijesdasa Rajapakse informed court that General Ratwatte who is the first of sixteen accused would give evidence on the next date of hearing. He will be sworn-in-as a witness and can therefore be cross-examined by the prosecuting counsel, Counsel said.

Counsel for the other accused at that stage made an application to court that the accused preferred to make dock statements avoiding cross-examination by the prosecution. Defence Counsel further requested the court to allow other accused to make dock statement after General Ratwatte's evidence is recorded, legal sources said.

The prosecution objected to this application and the court rejected the defence application. Accordingly, General Ratwatte would give evidence after other accused made dock statements, legal sources added.

 

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