Mirusuvil massacre case inquiry to resume

[TamilNet, Thursday, 28 October 2004, 02:09 GMT]
The stalled inquiry into the Mirusuvil massacre case is to resume before the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar (TAB) on the instruction of the Supreme Court that TAB could continue its proceedings although the confession made by one of the accused soldier Mr.R.M.S.Ratnayake was declared inadmissible, legal sources said.

The five member bench of the Supreme Court which held recently the appeal made by the accused Mr.Ratnayake that the confession made by the appellant was inadmissible as the military police officer who recorded the confessions was not a "police officer" within the meaning of Section 23 of the Evidence Ordinance, legal sources said.

However, the Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath Silva and Justices P.Edussuriya, H.S.Yapa, Asoka de Silva and T.B.Weerasuriya instructed the Trial-at-Bar that it could proceed with Mirusuvil massacre case inquiry with other available material evidence including that of an eye-witness to prove the charges against the accused soldiers, legal sources said.

The Chief Justice Mr.Sarath N Silva thereafter directed the Registrar to fill the vacancies created in the three-member TAB of the High Court with the promotion of Justice Mr.S.I.Imam to the Court of Appeal and the suspension of another Justice Mr.Kumar Ekaratna on disciplinary grounds enabling the resumption of the Mirusuvil massacre case inquiry, legal sources said.

The court cited the Rita Sebastian rape and murder case in which all the accused were found guilty for the offence and sentenced to death based on circumstantial evidence despite confessions of the accused were not admitted during the course of inquiry, legal sources said.

The inquiry into the Mirusuvil massacre case commenced before a three member High Court Trial at-Bar during the middle part of last year and all witnesses were brought to Colombo from Jaffna and kept in safe custody.

However the inquiry came to a halt in September last year after some witnesses completed giving evidence. Included among them were a vital eyewitness who miraculously survived the massacre and a military officer who recorded the confession of Mr.R.M.S.Ratnayake of Mahiyanganaya, an accused soldier.

In this case, Sri Lanka's Attorney General indicted five SLA soldiers, Sunil Ratnayake, Senaka Munasinghe, T.M.Jayaratne, Pushpa Saman Kumara and Gamini Munasinghe on 19 charges in the murder of eight Tamil civilians, Gnanapalan Raviveeran, Sellamuthu Theivakulasingham, Vilvarajah Piratheepan, Sinniah Vilvarajah, Nadesu Jeyachchandran, Kathiran Gnanachchandran, Gnanachandran Santhan and Vilvarajah Prasath in Mirusuvil on December 19, 2000.

According to the prosecution, the accused had killed the civilians when they were visiting their houses and lands in Mirusuvil after the military operation of the SLA, legal sources said.

 

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