Mirusuvil massacre accused remanded, warrant on witnesses

[TamilNet, Thursday, 30 January 2003, 01:00 GMT]
The trial-at-bar comprising three judges of the Colombo High Court in the Mirusuvil massacre case Wednesday ordered remand for the five accused soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and issued warrant on four vital witnesses who had intimated through the State Counsel from Jaffna their inability to attend the trial due to fear, legal sources in Colombo said.

The trial was put off for February 10, and the court directed the Jaffna Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) to produce the witnesses including a sole survivor in the massacre incident on the next date with adequate protection, legal sources said.

Six soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army including a lieutenant were indicted by the Attorney General accused of the murder of eight Tamil civilians in December, 2000 at Mirusuvil, in the southern part of the Jaffna peninsula, prosecution said.

The massacre took place when eight residents of Mirusuvil, but who were displaced due to the military occupation of the area, went to visit their old homes. They were accosted by the military and were killed and the bodies dumped in a lavatory pit, prosecution said.

When the case was taken up for trial before the three member bench comprising High Court judges Messrs S.I.Imam, Sarath Ambepitya and Kumar Ekaratne Wednesday the state counsel informed court that regional co-ordinator of the Human Rights Commission in Jaffna had informed the inability of four key witnesses attending proceedings in Colombo as their lives were in danger.

Thereafter the court ordered warrant on the witnesses through the DIG in Jaffna to arrest them and produce in courts on February 10. The lawyers appearing on behalf of the victims informed court that they should not be arrested as they are prosecution witnesses and as they did not attend courts due to fear of their lives in Colombo.

The court said summons were issued on them to appear in courts Wednesday and as they failed to appear the court has to issue warrant for their arrest, legal sources said.

All the accused pleaded not guilty when the charges on nineteen counts were read out to them by the Registrar of the court, legal sources said.

Attorney-at-Law Mr.K.S.Ratnavelu with Attorney-at-Law Mr.K.Shanmugalingam watched the interests of the victims. Attorney-at-Law Mr.Anil Perera appeared for the accused.


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