COLOMBO: The N.K.Udalagama Commission which inquired into seven cases of grave violation of human rights at the beginning of Eelam War IV, has pointed an accusing finger at the Special Task Force (STF) of the Sri Lankan police in the case relating to the killing of six Tamil students at the Trincomalee beach on January 2, 2006.
In the case relating to the killing of 16 Tamil and one Muslim staff member of the French NGO Action Contre La Faim (ACF) at Mutur in Trincomalee district on August 4, 2006, it blamed the LTTE.
On the killing of the students, all between 20 and 21, it said: “There are strong grounds to surmise the involvement of uniformed personnel in the commission of the crime.”
The report, which was tabled in parliament on Tuesday, does not explicitly say that the STF had killed the students, but the narration of events clearly indicates the hand of the STF, possibly in collusion with the other armed forces personnel stationed in the highly guarded area.
Eye witnesses said that some men in camouflage uniform came in a three-wheeler and had an altercation with the boys. Suddenly there was an explosion followed by gun fire. The men in camouflages then went towards the Trincomalee Fort, past a number of military checkpoints without let or hindrance.
Condemning the killing the panel said: “ If the killings had been part of a strategy of weakening the LTTE, it is ill-judged and depraved, and those responsible should have the courage to admit that they have erred and tender an apology which could be a catharsis for reconciliation.”
On the “execution style” killing of the 17 aid workers of the ACF, the needle of suspicion pointed at the LTTE, rather than the Lankan army or navy. The panel found that at the time of the day on August 4, 2006 when the killings took place, it was the LTTE which was present in the area and not the army.
“There was indisputable evidence of the LTTE’s presence in the area,” the panel said, and added that the LTTE could have done the killings to blame the army.
Only LTTE Supporters Oppose UNHRC Resolution, Says Ranil
Speaking in parliament here on Friday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said that only “local extremists and LTTE sympathizers” are against the UNHRC resolution calling for a domestic judicial mechanism to try war crimes cases.
Wickremesinghe said that his government’s aim is to “unify all communities, heal broken hearts, and propagate love and compassion in place of anger and hatred.”
Lanka was isolated internationally due to the failure of the previous government to follow a balanced foreign policy but his government has restored international confidence in the country, Wickremesinghe said.
Turning the tables on Rajapaksa supporters, who oppose any probe into war crimes, the Prime Minister pointed out that it was Rajapaksa who had first taken the Lankan human rights issue to the UN, and it was Rajapaksa who had promised the UN Secretary General in 2009, that he would inquire into war crimes charges.