Protect witnesses in Trinco killings, Rights Group tells Colombo

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 01:28 GMT]
“Dr. Manoharan has courageously come forward to testify about the brutal killings of these five young men [in Trincomalee]...The Sri Lankan government should show a fraction of his courage and take urgent measures to control its security forces and protect the doctor and other witnesses who may wish to testify,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in a media release issued by the New York based Rights Group Tuesday, one day before Trincomalee court will hear eyewitness testimony against a dozen security force personnel implicated in the case.

PDF IconHRW: Murder of Five Youths Highlights Need to End Impunity

An unofficial report by the special investigator for Sri Lanka’s National Human Rights Commission alleges that the security forces were responsible for the killings.

"Human Rights Watch remains deeply concerned that the only prosecution witness willing to testify so far, Dr. Kasippillai Manoharan, has for months been the target of deadly threats. His son Ragihar was among those killed," the media release said.

"In Sri Lanka, widespread impunity for serious human rights abuses committed by both the security forces and the LTTE is a major, longstanding problem. A successful prosecution of the Trincomalee killings will require meaningful and proactive witness protection measures, Human Rights Watch said. The government must take necessary steps both to protect persons and their families who have agreed to testify, and to create an environment where other witnesses will be willing to come forward.

“Summary executions in Sri Lanka will only stop when those responsible are prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Adams said. “But this rampant impunity will end only when the government takes strong steps to ensure that witnesses can safely come forward,” the media release further said.



External Links:
HRW: Sri Lanka: Protect Witnesses in Trincomalee Killings

 

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