Sri Lanka Timeline - Year 2015
| January 5
The campaign for the upcoming
presidential polls in Sri Lanka ended with sporadic violence having
marred the final day. Three opposition activists were injured
when unidentified gunmen shot and injured them while they were
engaged in putting up a dais for the opposition leader, Maithripala
Sirisena, on the final day of campaigning in the southern town
of Kahawatte in Ratnapura District.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
called on the Sri Lankan government again to ensure a peaceful
election that is inclusive of minorities. Responding to a media
query on the election violence in the run-up to the election Presidential
election on January 08, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General,
said the Secretary General's call to the Government to ensure
that the elections are peaceful and that they're inclusive, including
for minorities is much more important now on the backdrop of the
A clash between supporters of
the UPFA and the NDF at Rambukkana in Kegalle District had left
four government supporters injured and one Opposition supporter
injured. The NDF supporter with cut injuries was admitted to the
Kegalle hospital while the four injured UPFA supporters have been
admitted to the Rambukkana hospital. Five persons have been taken
into custody in connection with the incident along with a firearm
they had in their possession, Police said. Three vehicles and
several shops were also attacked.
The CMEV said there had been a
rise in major incidents of election violence between November
20 and January 5 whereas the number of incidents of election violence
seemed to have dropped when compared to the previous elections.
The CMEV Coordinating Secretary D.M. Dissanayake said it had documented
420 incidents of election violence with 237 categorised as major
incidents while 183 as minor incidents. He said the highest number
of major incidents was reported from Jaffna District with 22 incidents
followed by Badulla, Kurunegala and Kandy with 19, 18 and 17 incidents
respectively. Dissanayake said CMEV had recorded 26 incidents
involving firearms and 03 incidents of petrol bombings. He said
CMEV had recorded 132 incidents of gross misuse of State resources
for election purposes with excessive use of State media by the
incumbent and very limited airtime for opposition candidates.
Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu from
the CMEV at a media briefing, said that concerns have been raised
that voter intimidation on election day will lead to a low voter
turnout, especially in the North. Saravanamuttu said that communities
and political leaders have raised concerns about the vote in the
north in particular and about the deployment of security forces
that could have an adverse impact on the voter turnout.
The victim of the shooting incident
at an opposition rally in Kahawatta on January 5, succumbed to
his injuries. The victim, one of the three people, who were shot
by the supporters of the Deputy Minister Premalal Jayasekara,
has been treated in the Intensive care Unit at the Ratnapura Hospital
for the past three days. The other two persons who received gunshot
injuries are still receiving treatment at Ratnapura hospital.
Sri Lanka's Commissioner of Elections
Mahinda Deshapriya said the Police are empowered to use maximum
force if anyone tries anything unlawful at the polling stations
during tomorrow's presidential election. Addressing a media briefing,
the Election Commissioner the Police had been given authority
to use maximum power, even shooting a violator, if any one tries
to intimidate or attempts to obstruct a voter using their right
The Sri Lankan government said
the UN recent call to the government to ensure that the elections
are peaceful and inclusive, is "gratuitous and inappropriate."
Issuing a statement, the External Affairs Ministry said Sri Lanka
notes with concern the recent remarks by the Spokesperson of the
Secretary-General of the UN recalling the Secretary-General's
call to the Government to ensure that the forthcoming Presidential
elections are peaceful and inclusive. "The Spokesperson's comments
are gratuitous and inappropriate," the statement said.
A high voter turnout was reported
at the just concluded 2015 Presidential elections, based on information
provided by returning officers in the Districts. Officials said
that Pollonaruwa recorded 80 percent voter turnout by 4pm as the
deadline to cast votes ended with Nuwara Eliya also recording
80 percent, Anuradhapura recording 76 percent, Trincomalee 72
percent, Kurunegala 77 percent, Puttalam 71 percent, Batticaloa
60 percent, Badulla 61 percent, Matara 73 percent, Kandy 75 percent,
Hambantota 70 percent and Puttalam 70 percent.
The local election monitor, CMEV
has received a report that ruling UPFA Deputy Minister Sarana
Gunawardena and a group of supporters have hit two women in Attanagalle
electorate of Gampaha District. The women were assaulted by the
Deputy Minster and his supporters at around 1.00 pm near the Yatiyana
Junior School polling center. The Deputy Minster and his group
of supporters have been roaming the area in 7 vehicles, the CMEV
Despite hospitals being alert
to possible emergencies during the Presidential polls that lasted
from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., no incidents were reported. Director of
the National Hospital, Dr. Anil Jasinghe when contacted said that
the hospital had not received any patients with injuries sustained
during voting. The Hospital had functioned normally despite large
number of its employees taking time off to cast their vote.
Sri Lanka's incumbent President
Mahinda Rajapaksa conceded defeat, said his official media unit,
following clear signs of his opponent Maithripala Sirisena's victory
in the presidential elections. Rajapaksa vacated Temple Trees,
his official residence, following a meeting with Opposition Leader
Ranil Wickramasinghe, assuring him of smooth transition. With
final result yet to be declared, Sirisena is expected to be declared
winner by around 4,00,000 votes.
CMEV has received a report that
North Central Chief Minister S.M. Ranjith and his supporters had
assaulted opposition supporters in Senapura, Mihinthale. The assailants
have carried wooden rods and guns. The victim, Wimalasiri A.H.M.
has been admitted to the Senapura Hospital. No complaint has been
lodged. The CMEV said three explosions have so far been reported
on the day of polls. The first was in Point Pedro reported and
a second incident involved an explosion from Beruwala targeting
a house of a Muslim businessman. No injuries were reported. The
third incident is from Vavuniya where a grenade exploded near
the Polling Station at Nelukkulam Kalaimagal Maha Vidyalaya. No
injuries were reported and the police are investigating. It has
been reported in Jaffna that the members of the government ally,
EPDP were intimidating TNA party members.
The winner of the 2015 Presidential
Election Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in, as the 6th Executive
President of Sri Lanka. Sirisena took oaths as the new President
before Supreme Court Justice K. Sripavan at the Independence Square
in Colombo. In his address to the nation following the swearing-in,
the new President said he has no intention to seek a second term
and said Sri Lanka will have friendly relations with every country.
Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe took oaths as the Prime
Minister of Sri Lanka before Executive President Maithripala Sirisena
at the same venue.
In Kandy District, after the swearing-in
ceremony, the seventh President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena
expressed his gratitude to those who voted for him and he was
thankful to everyone who assisted to hold a peaceful election.
He said it is time for a transformation society - to bring about
a humane society with good governance and respect to law. He also
said that this would be the only time that he would contest the
The former LTTE leader Kumaran
Pathmanathan alias KP, who was in Sri Lanka under protective
custody, rejected the reports that he fled the country after the
defeat of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at last week's elections.
Speaking over phone, from his orphanage at Kilinochchi in the
North, the former arms procurer for the LTTE said he is still
there and have no plans to leave the country.
Marxist party JVP filed a petition
in court seeking the arrest of a former top leader of the LTTE
Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP. The JVP filed the petition
in the Court of Appeals seeking to arrest KP, who was in protective
custody under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Government.
JVP parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said KP has to answer many
questions and he needs to be arrested for his activities. KP was
an international arms smuggler who procured massive loads of weapons
worth billions of dollars for the terrorist organization that
ravaged a deadly war for 30 years. He was involved in arms smuggling
operations across Asia, Canada, US and Europe.
Former Army Commander of Sri Lanka
Sarath Fonseka has been fully pardoned by the President Maithripala
Sirisena. The former Army general who led the decisive war against
the LTTE to end the terrorism in Sri Lanka was stripped off of
his ranks and rights by the previous Government. President's Media
Division said that "Fonseka has been acquitted of all charges
filed against him under the previous Government and has been granted
complete amnesty by President Maithripala Sirisena."It also said
that the President Sirisena pardoned the former General by the
powers vested in him under Article 34 of the Constitution. Accordingly,
Fonseka's rank will be restored and will be entitled to all military
and social privileges without any legal barrier. He will be awarded
back his medals and honors.
| January 23
The Chairman of the PCICMP, Maxwell
Paranagama has sought a time with the President Maithripala Sirisena
to discuss the future proceedings of the Commission. Paranagama
said that the Commission plans on making an interim report on
the inquiries they have currently completed. According to the
Chairman, the Commission is continuing to function without break
amid the election of a new President and currently investigations
into filed reports and received evidence are underway.
The new Sri Lankan Government
has decided to terminate a mandatory military style leadership
training program initiated by the previous Government for school
principals and university entrants. New Education Minister Akila
Viraj Kariyawasam said the Government is ending the program that
was compulsory for the students entering the country's universities
under the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration.
Report said that previous Government's mandatory leadership training
program for undergraduates was highly unpopular among the students
and parents, and has been seen by intellectuals as a militarization
of the education sector.
| January 25
The Court of Appeal in Sri Lanka
on January 27 will take up a Writ Application filed by the Marxist
party, JVP seeking an order to arrest and prosecute former LTTE
leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP. The petition was
filed in the Court of Appeal on January 19 and has sought Writs
of Mandamus to arrest KP and produce him in Court to investigate
the offences committed by him and to initiate judicial proceedings
against him. The petition demanded the arrest and trial of the
former LTTE leader who is believed to be the head of the international
wing of the terrorist organization. KP is currently operating
a NGO under military protection in the Northern Province.
TNA said that there is no need
to appoint new commissions with regard to the war in Sri Lanka
and the national question. TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran
said that rather than appointing new commissions, it is more important
to enact the recommendations made by the committees that have
been appointed so far. TNA has also said they do not expect a
new PSC to be appointed over the national issue. TNA is also a
stakeholder of the NEC and is engaged in implementing the 100
day programme of the new Government.
| January 27
The Appeal Court of Sri Lanka
issued notice on the Attorney General to appear before the Court
on February 5 in connection with the writ application filed by
the JVP against former LTTE Leader, Kumaran Pathmanathan alias
| January 28
President Maithripala Sirisena
said more attention would be paid to national security and a well-structured
plan would be implemented to ensure national security for the
welfare of the country and the people. The President said that
every effort would be initiated in strengthening the national
security within the democratic framework according to the constitution.
He added that precise understanding of issues that poses in various
faces nationally and internationally has to be addressed in a
constructive manner while formulating appropriate solutions. President
requested the Security Council to submit new proposals and recommendations
in addition to the programme now being implemented on national
security as it the expectation of the government to implement
a programme to strengthen national security locally and internationally.
A Government spokesman, Rajitha
Senaratne said that Sri Lanka is planning an investigation into
accusations of human rights abuses in the final stages of civil
war amid international frustration at the failure to look into
numerous civilian deaths. “We are thinking of having our own inquiry
acceptable to them to the international standards,” Rajitha Senaratne
said in Colombo, referring to the UN. “It will be a new local
inquiry. If we need, we will bring some foreign experts,” he added.
Rajitha Senaratne also said that the new Government was looking
at releasing political prisoners, mainly suspected members of
the defeated LTTE.
The new Government plans to return
private land seized by the military in the civil war-ravaged north
and release several hundred detainees in an apparent move toward
reconciliation with ethnic minority Tamils. Governemnt Spokesman
Rajitha Senaratne said that the Government of new President Maithripala
Sirisena will ease its military presence, and that unlike the
previous administration that was defeated in the January 8 election,
does not believe military action alone can prevent a resurgence
of the rebels. Rajitha Senaratne said, "We don't think you
can stop an LTTE resurrection (just) with an army, so spending
on security will be very moderate."
Rajitha Senaratne said that he
has sought an inquiry into information that former Defense Secretary
Gotabaya Rajapaksa is using two serving army officers to train
400 soldiers to whip up a bogey about an LTTE revival in the run
up to the April parliamentary elections. Senaratne said that this
army unit is being trained by two serving officers, Brig. Harendra
Ranasinghe and Col. Mahinda Ranasinghe of the Army Training School.
According to Senaratne, the idea is to get 400 Tamil speaking
Sinhalese soldiers to go to the North in disguise and provoke
the army. The ensuing clashes would help show people in the Sinhalese-speaking
South, that the LTTE have become active in the Northern Province
and that the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe Government
is unable to tackle it. The LTTE-revival card could help former
President Mahinda Rajapaksa win the elections. Senaratne said
that to ensure national security, the Sirisena regime would rely
on political engagement with the minorities and not on the military.
| January 29
Following the recommendations
of the LLRC, Sri Lanka's new Government at the Independence Day
celebrations this year prepares to expresses sympathy and reach
out to the victims of the country's three-decade long civil war.
Report said that the Cabinet of Ministers has approved a joint
proposal made by the acting Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera and
the Minister of Home Affairs and Fisheries Joseph Michael Perera
to make a statement on Peace at the 67th Independence Day Celebrations
to be held on February 4. The Ministers, taking into consideration
the LLRC recommendations, have proposed to express sympathy and
cooperation with the war-affected in the country and to pledge
that it will be dedicated in unity to prevent recurrence of such
situations in the country in the future.
| January 30
Sri Lanka appointed Justice K
Sripavan, an ethnic-Tamil, as its new Chief Justice, days after
his predecessor Mohan Peiris was asked to resign following an
uproar in the parliament over allegations he tried to help the
former President retain power illegally. The President’s office
said in a statement that Justice Sripavan took oath as the 44th
Chief Justice before President Maithripala Sirisena.
| January 31
Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith
P Perera said that the new Government has no intention of lifting
the ban imposed on the several Tamil Diaspora groups for their
alleged involvement with the LTTE and over attempts to revive
terrorism in the country. He said that the new Government hopes
to maintain the ban imposed on the organisations that were alleged
to have links with the LTTE. During the previous regime the LTTE
and 15 Tamil Diaspora groups including the TGTE, GTF and BTF were
banned in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Army said that it has
recently enlisted 34 Tamil youth from war-torn North as tradesman.
Report said that SFHQ-MLT recently enlisted 34 Tamil youth to
the SLAVF from Mullaitivu area in Mullaitivu District of Northern
Sri Lanka's new Government will
soon arrest LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP
and the decision will be available by the end of this week, a
reliable source informed. According to the report the file which
contains unpublished details of secrets revealed by KP is to be
presented to the Government by the intelligence units. During
his previous interrogations, it had been revealed that it was
KP who had provided weapons, aircrafts and other equipment for
the LTTE to attack the state armed forces. According to reports,
it has also been revealed that KP had purchased "Slime" type aircrafts
from a Bangladeshi agrarian company and has brought them from
Indonesia to Mullaitivu in Northern Province.
The JVP has filed a petition at
the Court of Appeal requesting the immediate arrest of KP as well
as urging the authorities to reveal what happened to the immense
wealth of the LTTE that was controlled by KP, under the Mahinda
| February 1
PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that
the new Government will investigate the LTTE activities over the
past few years including its funding and alleged links it had
with the previous Government. He said that the Government wants
to know what happened to the funds of the LTTE. He said “This
is part of our probe on corruption. The former Government always
accused us of having links with the LTTE but it was they who had
links with the Tigers.” He said that investigations will include
obtaining information on the LTTE ships, gold and money yet to
be found even after the war. The Prime Minister said that the
public in the North have said they have evidence to share over
the LTTE and so that evidence will also be obtained. “This is
a large scale investigation,” he added.
Wickremesinghe also said that
when the European court ruled in support of the LTTE the former
Government did not take steps to assist the EU to reverse the
court ruling. He said “We have said we will assist the EU to ensure
the ban on the LTTE in the EU remains”. He also questioned the
previous Government’s failure to handover Kumaran Pathmanathan
alias KP to India. KP is wanted in India over the assassination
of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Minister of State for Plantation
and Industry K. Velayutham said that the election of Maithripala
Sirisena as the Sri Lankan President has offered a hope to the
Tamils in Sri Lanka and they are able to move freely without the
Army’s interruption. After meeting DMK leader M Karunanidhi in
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, he said he had explained the situation
after change in leadership and efforts were on to withdraw the
Army from the Tamil areas and camps. Velayutham said one of the
priorities of the new Government was to rehabilitate the IDPs
and those who were in the camps.
Families of missing and detained
persons in war-torn Northern Sri Lanka staged a protest in Kilinochchi
in Kilinochchi District of Northern Province urging the new Government
to establish the whereabouts of their family members disappeared
during and after the war. Family members of missing Tamil youth,
carrying placards with names and photographs of the missing and
detained, staged a protest in front of the District Secretariat
The Secretary General of the Commonwealth,
Kamalesh Sharma said in Colombo that the Commonwealth is pleased
with the measures the new Government of Sri Lanka is considering
to address the accountability and reconciliation needs and it
extended support for the vital domestic processes. He welcomed
the new Government's intent to establish a credible domestic investigation
mechanism that respects international humanitarian law and assured
the practical Commonwealth support and expertise to implement
the necessary measures including fuller implementation of the
recommendations of the LLRC.
The protesters complained that
the new Government is occupied with changing the governance in
the south and neglecting the pressing issues of Tamil people in
the North. They appealed to the President Maithripala Sirisena
to take measures to address the issue and called authorities to
publish the details about the missing persons and the detainees
for the families to know about them. They also urged the new President
to release all Tamil political prisoners from the prisons if legal
action is not resorted against them.
TNA said it will not support a
domestic investigation launched by the new Government over the
war between the LTTE and State SFs that ended in May 2009. TNA
parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran, during discussions with
US US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian
Affairs, Nisha Biswal, has stressed that an international probe
is the only way justice will prevail for the Tamils who have suffered
the war. According to Premachandran, the TNA had also informed
Biswal that the newly elected Government of President Maithripala
Sirisena had not properly addressed the Tamil issue, especially
in areas such as resettlement as lands occupied by the army in
the north continued to remain vacant. He has added that the Government
is slow in releasing the lands of the Tamil people. However, the
TNA has expressed its gratitude to the Government's effort in
implementing the new Government's 100 day programme.
TNA officially participated in
a National Independence Day celebration after several decades.
According to reports, main Tamil political parties had not attended
a National Independence Day celebration since 1972. However, senior
TNA Leader, MP R. Sampanthan and parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran
participated in the 67th Independence Day celebrations held at
the Parliament grounds in Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte in Colombo.
A Sri Lankan Court issued an order
preventing the former LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias
KP from leaving the country. The Court of Appeal issued the order
barring Pathmanathan from traveling overseas. The Court granted
the motion of order as a sub decision based upon a petition filed
by the Marxist party, JVP. The Court had informed the Department
of Immigration and Emigration asking them not permit Pathmanathan
to leave the country until the end of the trial.
Sri Lankan Government presented
the regulation under the UN Act to locally ratify the ban on al
Qaeda as a global terrorist outfit. The Gazette notification had
been signed by former External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris on
December 14, 2014. According to the regulation, this organisation
is continued to be designated as a terrorist outfit. It is prohibited
for any individual to aid and abet the al Qaeda. The financial
intelligence authorities of Sri Lanka are authorised to seize
funds and assets of this terrorist outfit.
The Cabinet Spokesman, Minister
Rajitha Senaratne said that Cabinet has approved the setting up
of a special PTFR according to a cabinet paper presented by President
Maithripala Sirisena. The Minister said the President has decided
to appoint a special Task Force to cater to the need to build
a united and integrated nation, while healing the wounds of mistrust
and social and cultural stress generated from extended conflicts
and violence between different communities in Sri Lanka. The seven
members Task Force will inquire into issues related to ethnic
reconciliation and suggest remedial measures to bring about ethnic
The PTFR aims to identify the
immediate problems that required to be solved and recommend solutions
in order to achieve reconciliation and to alleviate the hardships
caused to citizens as a result of the conflict. It would study
and make recommendations with regard to persons under detention
as a result of the conflict, and all other matters relating to
rebuilding harmony and effective reconciliation. Senaratne also
said that according to the IG of Police, there are 275 Tamil prisoners
who have been in jail for long without being charged. The PTFR
would study these cases and determine whether they can be released.
TNA has welcomed the decision
to set up the PTFR. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that the
Government should see to it that the steps suggested by the PTFR
are implemented and that the PTFR does not become a devise to
delay implementation of measures already agreed upon.
| February 9
Families of missing persons in
Northern Province held a protest in the Jaffna town in Jaffna
District calling on the new Government to intervene in finding
out the whereabouts of their loved ones who had gone missing during
the civil war. Family members, carrying photographs of their missing
loved ones, held a march before holding a protest outside the
Jaffna District Secretariat in Northern Province. According to
reports, several politicians including representatives from the
TNA have taken part in the demonstration.
| February 10
The NPC adopted a resolution calling
for an international investigation into alleged acts of genocide
committed against the Tamils during the civil war. Northern Province
CM C.V. Wigneswaran presented an amended version of the resolution
calling for an international inquiry on genocide against Tamils
committed by the successive Governments since the country's independence
from the British in 1948. The resolution notes that the obligation
to prevent and punish genocide under the Genocide Convention is
not a matter of political choice or calculation, but one of binding
customary international law. In the resolution, the NPC has urged
the team appointed by the UNHCHR to investigate the war in Sri
Lanka, to comprehensively investigate and report on the charge
of genocide in its submission to the UNHRC in March 2015.
Minister of Housing and Samurdhi,
Sajith Premadasa said in the Parliament that there are illegal
armories in the Hambantota District in Southern Province. He said
that the illegal armories with weapons, ammunition and grenades
have been found in Beliatta and Weeraketiya in Hambantota District.
The Minister informed that a request has been made from the State
Minister of Defense to investigate the illegal armories found
in Hambantota. According to Premadasa, the illegal armories were
being operated by a MP representing the District.
| February 11
Sri Lanka is seeking a delay of
several months in the release of a UN report on the investigation
of alleged war crimes committed during the country's three-decade
long war. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera during
his visit to Washington said that the new Government is seeking
a delay in releasing the report of the UNHRC mandated investigation
by several months until the Government had time to establish a
mechanism to deal with the issue. Samaraweera said that "Once
the report is finalized, we are hoping they can refer it to our
domestic mechanism for action." "We are hoping they
could hold on to it until our mechanism is in place - maybe August,
you know, or so," he added.
Government has decided to release
lands extending to 1,000 acres in the Northern HSZs in several
stages to civilians. The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the
proposal presented by President Maithripala Sirisena as the Minister
of Defense. As a first step 220 acres of land in the Valalai Grama
Niladhari Division of the Valikamam East Divisional Secretariat
Division is to be released to establish a pilot village for the
resettlement of 1,022 families displaced by the Civil War. Each
family will get 20 perches of land and financial assistance to
construct a house. It has also been proposed to establish a school,
a pre-school, a hospital, religious places of worship, community
centers and build other infrastructure activities. The remaining
780 acres of land will also be used in the future to resettle
the people displaced by the war.
While a large extent of land from
the 11,639 acres were under the control of the SFs during the
period of the war, 6,152 acres in the Palaly area is being maintained
by the SLA and the SLAF as an HSZ. Cabinet has also decided to
release the lands under the control of the SLAF in the Panama
area in the Eastern Province to landless people in the area except
the land in an extent of 25 acres in which buildings are now being
| February 12
US Secretary of State John Kerry
told the visiting Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera
that the US is excited about the 100-day plan that the new Government
of Sri Lanka has put forward to move the country in a new direction.
Mangala Samaraweera met Secretary of State Kerry at the Department
of State for an hour-long discussion. "This is an exciting
moment for all of us here because Sri Lanka on January 8th had
an historic election in which there has been really a vote for
change, a vote to move Sri Lanka in a new direction, to open up
greater accountability and possibility for the preservation of
human rights, for democracy, for fighting corruption and putting
together a government that will speak for and to the people,"
Secretary Kerry said.
According to a leading survey,
Sri Lanka did not show any improvement in press freedom in 2014
although there were no journalists were killed and ranked among
the 20 worst countries in the world for media expression. The
annual World Press Freedom Index for 2015 compiled by Paris (France)
based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Sri Lanka 165th out
of180 countries. Although Sri Lanka's rank did not change from
that of last year score declined from 59.13 in 2014 to 60.28 this
year (2015), 100 being the worst. The RSF in its report said Sri
Lanka's Government attacks the foundations of journalism by systematically
obstructing the activities of NGOs that support the media.
| February 13
President Maithripala Sirisena
told the diplomatic community in Colombo that if “credible and
firm” evidence is found by the proposed inquiry into allegations
that Sri Lankan SFs committed human rights violations during the
fight against the LTTE, action would be taken against the guilty.
The President also invited the UNHCHR to visit Sri Lanka.
Sirisena said the Government needed time to bring about unity
and reconciliation as it had assumed office only a month ago.
Referring to Tamils living in the Northern Province, he said ‘doubts
and mistrust’ between ethnic groups should be removed.
Democratic Party (DP) Western
Provincial Councilor Susil Kindelpitiya handed over information
to the CID regarding 13 alleged disappearances and 'white van'
abductions that had allegedly taken place during the previous
Government. Kindelpitiya said that after Maithripala Sirisena
assumed the office of the President, several families in Colombo
had visited him and expressed their grievances over the alleged
abduction of their family members. In his letter to the Director
of the CID, Kindelpitiya had also requested for investigations
to be carried out based on the recent revelation made by former
Minister Mervyn Silva, alleging that former Defence Secretary
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was the architect of the 'white van' culture
in Sri Lanka.
TNA leader R. Sampanthan said
that the UNHRC report on the probe on alleged violations that
had taken place during the war should be released during the UNHRC
sessions in March as scheduled. Sampanthan noted that the UNHRC
probe would have been completed in an unbiased manner and the
report should be published in March as agreed in 2014.
UNHRC agreed to postpone the release
of report of war crimes committed during civil war by six months.
The report was scheduled to present the investigative report on
the investigation mandated by the UNHRC at its 28th session in
Geneva on March 25. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein recommended delaying publication of the
report from March until the council's 30th session in September
as Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera during his
visit to Washington on February 11 seek a delay in releasing the
report of the investigation by several months until the Government
had time to establish a mechanism to deal with the issue.
TNA expressed displeasure at the
UNHRC decision to postpone the submission of war report. The TNA
continuously called for the release of the report on the scheduled
date on March 25 while the Government sought support from the
international community to postpone the report. TNA MP Suresh
Premachandran said that the decision to postpone the report will
be a setback to resolve the Tamil issue in the island.
The PCICMP will conduct its next
public sittings to hear cases of missing in Trincomalee District
in Eastern Province from February 28 to March 3. According to
report, since the establishment of the Commission on August 15,
2013 by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Commission
to date has received in excess of 20,106 complaints inclusive
of approximately 5000 complaints from relatives of missing SFs
Australian authorities have returned
four Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lankan authorities
in mid-sea. The Australian Minister for Immigration and Border
Protection Peter Dutton said the Australian and Sri Lankan Governments
have worked together again to disrupt a people smuggling venture.
According to the Minister, a suspected illegal entry vessel (SIEV)
carrying four Sri Lankan nationals was intercepted by BPC North-West
of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands on February 9. The four Sri Lankan
nationals were transferred at sea from a vessel assigned to BPC
to Sri Lankan authorities last Tuesday (February 17), the Australian
Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe
ordered the release of copies of the Indian magazine, Frontline
detained at the Colombo airport by Sri Lanka's Customs Department
in January. The copies were of the special edition of the magazine
marking its 30th year, which republished a 1987 interview with
slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran, along with other interviews
and articles from its archives. An official statement from the
Prime Minister's office said that the interview with Prabakaran
would not create any threat to national security.
The Attorney General's Department
of Sri Lanka requested more time from the Court of Appeal to decide
on former LTTE Leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP. Deputy
Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath informed the Appeal Court that
the Attorney General's Department required more time to decide
on the nature of action to be taken against KP. He made this submission
when a petition filed by the Marxist party JVP seeking KP's arrest
was taken up for hearing. The case has now been put off till February
TNA has alleged that a secret
military camp, named Gota, in the naval base in Trincomalee was
in operation and held 700 Tamils and 35 Tamil families. TNA Jaffna
District Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran had told the BBC
Sandeshaya that the Tamil people are of the belief that there
were many more of such camps.
Chief Minister of the NPC C. V.
Wigneswaran has expressed concern over the delay in releasing
Tamil political prisoners by the Sri Lanka Government. Wigneswaran
said that he fears the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has
refused to release prisoners because he does not want to anger
the Sinhalese majority ahead of parliamentary elections. "I'm
talking of a history of not living up to promises in the past.
The prime minister wants to play for time because the elections
are coming," he claimed.
Member of NPC M. K. Sivajilingam has reportedly
written to UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein saying
the Tamils see the delay to release the report based on the probe
on the war in Sri Lanka as a failure of the UN system to protect
and listen to the victims of mass atrocities. Sivajilingam has
said the Tamil people hoped that the UN system will not victimize
the Tamils once again by delaying or denying them full and complete
justice. "The Tamil people are highly disappointed and dismayed
by your announcement on February 16, to delay the OHCHR Investigation
on Sri Lanka (OISL) Report until September 2015. The Tamil people
had been anxiously waiting with high hopes for the release of
the Report, but this unexpected delay has caused serious concerns
to the victimized Tamil population, and we strongly believe justice
delayed is justice denied," Sivajilingam has stated in his letter.
Thousands of Tamils in Jaffna city in the Northern
Province staged a massive protest against the UNHRC's decision
to defer the report of the UN investigation on alleged war crimes
in Sri Lanka during the war. Thousands of students of the University
of Jaffna along with the residents staged a protest march from
the University. At the end of the protest march, the president
of Jaffna University Teachers Association, A Rasakumaran handed
over an appeal on behalf of the organizers of the protest to Mannar
Bishop Rayappu Joseph requesting him to hand it over to the relevant
UN agencies. The appeal, addressed to the UNHCHR Zeid Ra'ad Al
Hussein, requested the UN official to have the findings of the
investigations published as scheduled. The appeal stressed that
the Tamils in the North have no faith in any domestic mechanism
that the current government may establish to investigate the injustices
caused upon them by previous governments and another domestic
mechanism will only waste time.
A Colombo Court has ordered Balendran Jeyakumari,
who has been searching and campaigning for the release of her
son, to continue to be held in detention custody till March 10,
as per the request made by the TID. Jeyakumari, who was arrested
on March 13 2014 on suspicion of harbouring former rebel cadres
at her home in Kilinochchi in Northern Province, was transferred
to the Welikada prison only last week, where she was allowed to
meet briefly her 13-year old daughter Vibushika, who is also in
the protective custody in Kilinochchi. According to the published
report, her son, Balendran Mahindan was alive and was going through
the government's "rehabilitation program" at an unknown 'rehabilitation'
centre. Several local and international human right organisations
have campaigned for her early release.
The UK based Amnesty International (AI) organization
has noted that several human rights violations have taken place
in Sri Lanka last year (2014). The organization in its annual
report has called on the new Sri Lankan Government to take measures
to address those violations. AI said that Sri Lanka faced a catalogue
of endemic human rights issues in 2014. "Unlawful detentions and
torture by SFs were carried out with impunity as the authorities
continued to rely on the Prevention of Terrorism Act to arrest
and detain suspects without charge or trial. Human rights defenders
and family members of people subjected to enforced disappearance
were threatened and arrested, and fatal attacks on religious minorities
went unpunished," the AI report said. Political violence and intimidation
- mainly against political opposition supporters and civil society
activists - were reported in the run-up to the snap presidential
election called for January 2015, it noted. It also said that
UN-led investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against
humanity during the conflict raised hopes for victims waiting
for truth and justice, but this will require the full cooperation
of the new Sri Lankan Government.
The UNHRC defended its move to defer the release
of a report into alleged war crimes committed during Sri Lanka's
civil war saying that it was a "very rational" decision taken
in a "relatively unique" case. The new President of the UNHRC
Joachim Rücker said that the decision to defer the release of
the report on the human rights violations in Sri Lanka by six
months to September was "very rational".
The AG of Sri Lanka requested six months to present
a comprehensive report to the Court of Appeal on former LTTE leader
and arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP. According
to the Attorney General's Department, the 193 incidents mentioned
in the petition against KP have to be examined properly and time
was required for the matter. The Court of Appeal at the last hearing
directed the Attorney General's Department to inform of its proposed
action on KP at today's hearing. However, the Department has now
sought more time.
Newly appointed Commander of the SLA, Lieutenant
General Chrishantha De Silva, during a visit to Kandy in Central
Province has assured that national security will be given highest
priority and will not be compromised at any cost. He said the
Army will maintain security even in the north. "I will give the
highest priority to National Security. The army has a responsibility
towards the National Security of the country," De Silva said.
The Army Commander said that discipline of the army will also
be given priority. However, he added that there is confidence
that Sri Lankan soldiers will not violate the code of conduct
in the army.
TNA has expressed the party's lack of faith in
a domestic probe into issues related to the war crimes. TNA leaders
met with UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey
Feltman, who is currently in Sri Lanka, and discussed several
issues including the proposed domestic investigation on the war
promised by the new Government. TNA Spokesperson MP Suresh Premachandran
said that the TNA had informed Feltman that the party did not
have faith in a domestic probe. Feltman however had told the TNA
that the Government had given an assurance that the domestic probe
will meet international standards. He had informed the TNA that
the UN is willing to work with the new Government on the investigation
and other issues.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka,
Ajith P. Perera said the domestic investigation into some of the
allegations over the war will not be completed by September, 2015.
The Deputy Minister said that it will be difficult to complete
the legal process before the September sessions of the UNHRC as
only the structure and laws will be in place before September.
The UNHRC has agreed to defer a report on Sri Lanka which was
to be submitted to the Council during this month's (March) session
Although there was no violence and there is an
apparent reduction of threats against journalists in Sri Lanka
after the January 8, 2014 election, significant challenges to
press freedom are still remaining in Sri Lanka, an international
media organization said. The international media mission, which
represents the IFJ, the International Press Institute and International
Freedom of Expression Exchange, said the continued surveillance
of journalists and media organizations in the north of Sri Lanka
must cease. The mission said all journalists acknowledged there
have been no cases of over violence since the January 8 elections
and that there has been an apparent reduction in threats, but
significant challenges to press freedom are remaining. These challenges
include the self-censorship due to uncertainty about the political
future of the country; restrictions on access to information;
and continued surveillance and monitoring of journalists.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the accusations
that Tamil youth were being held in secret detention camps were
baseless. Wickremesinghe emphasised that all those who had been
taken into custody were being held in legally run facilities and,
therefore, all detainees could be accounted for. He said instructions
had been given for preparing a full list of persons in custody
in a bid to dispel fears expressed in some quarters as regards
secret detention camps. According to the report, the Prime Minister
didn't mince his words when he declared that those missing but
not listed among those in government custody had either perished
during the conflict or were now living overseas. Authoritative
sources said that Sri Lanka's efforts to track down missing persons
living overseas hadn't been successful due to Western countries'
refusal to cooperate. Sources said that a joint effort was needed
to establish the whereabouts of those who had assumed new identities
and citizenship in other countries.
Police have questioned several Sri Lanka Navy
personnel of an investigation unit of the Navy on disappearances
of children. The Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said
that statements have been recorded from seven Navy personnel regarding
the disappearance of 10 children during the 2008-2009 period.
In 2010 the CID had commenced investigations into complaints received
over the disappearance of some youth and their parents between
the period of 2007 and 2009 in Colombo and in Trincomalee. Rohana
said the CID has interrogated the officer in charge of the investigation
unit of the Sri Lankan Navy, Commander D. K. P. Dassanayake, who
was also the former Navy spokesman, in this connection. It has
also been revealed that the officials of the investigative unit
had taken ransoms in large measure from the parents of the children.
The activities of the infamous unit were reported to have centered
on Trincomalee and Fort.
Police arrested a former leader of the LTTE Sea
Tiger Women's Wing, identified as Murugesu Jayaganesh Pakeerathy
alias Murugesu Bairahi alias Burugesu Pahiradiat
at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo while she
was about to leave for France. Police Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana
said that the TID of the Police had launched investigations over
reports that Murugesu Bairahi had arrived in Sri Lanka. The 41
year old former Sea Tiger was arrested by the TID when she was
preparing to leave the country and is currently held on detention
for 72 hours. Police informed that Murugesu Bairahi headed the
women's wing of the LTTE Sea Tigers from 1997-2000 and that she
had fled to France in 2005. Police further said the investigations
had revealed that she had returned to Sri Lanka last month and
was staying in Parathion in the North. The suspect has been produced
at the Colombo Magistrate Court.
Government has assured an international media
delegation visiting the country that the long-awaited Freedom
of Information bill would be tabled this month and passed in parliament
before the upcoming general election. The International Media
Solidarity Delegation during its five-day visit to the island
called on the Sri Lankan government to ensure that critical media
reform measures are made permanent and media freedom to be an
absolute priority of the new administration. The Government has
also assured the delegation a commitment to tackle impunity for
crimes against journalists, which according to the journalists,
is a long-running and festering blight on Sri Lanka's reputation
globally. Government representatives have said that they had already
requested the IG of Police, N.K. Ilangakoon to carry out thorough
investigations into journalist killings, with priority given to
the 2009 murder of Lasantha Wickrematunga and the 2010 disappearance
of Prageeth Eknaligoda.
South Africa had told the former Sri Lankan Government
that the LTTE was not operating in South Africa as was alleged
at the time, Al Jazeera said quoting a secret cable. According
to the report the previous Sri Lankan Government was told quite
plainly that, at least in the case of South Africa, the LTTE posed
no threat at all, according to a secret intelligence agency cable
(PDF) obtained by Al Jazeera's investigative unit. In the
cable, dated June 9, 2010, South Africa's State Security Agency
(SSA) replied to a request for information about several cases
of purported LTTE activity in South Africa, from a suspected "military
training camp" held in May 2010 to suspicions that local Tamil
organizations were raising money for the LTTE and allegations
that the LTTE was in contact with former members of the South
African military. In every case, South African intelligence concluded
that there was no sign of LTTE activity or support in the country.
"The LTTE does not have any offices or known representatives in
South Africa," the cable states. However, Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry
did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Al
Jazeera, by phone and by email, about the cable and the
statements made subsequently by government officials. The office
of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that the new minister
had not been briefed on the issue and could not comment.
In an interview ahead of Indian PM Narendra Modi's
visit to Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said that
Indian politicians might have developed "amnesia" over the fact
that India had assisted former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in
the LTTE war of 2009. Lankan Prime Minister said "Without the
help of India, President Rajapaksa could not have wiped out the
LTTE. He got that help and he agreed to give concessions even
beyond the 13th amendment ... But he did not do so ....". Asked
specifically about the UPA's denials of help to Sri Lanka, especially
because of opposition from its alliance partner the DMK, he said,
"Amnesia, you know is very common among politicians."
Wickramasinghe accused the TNA Government in the
Northern Province and Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran of being
"irresponsible" in passing a resolution for an international genocide
investigation to look into allegations dating back to the 1970s.
The Prime Minister said that in that case, not only would the
Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE had to be charged with killings,
but so would the IPKF that went in to assist in the late 1980s.
He said "Casualties took place under the Sri Lankan SFs, the IPKF
and also by the LTTE ... But to say that it was only the Government
of Sri Lanka is wrong."
The UNHCHR Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein urged the Sri
Lankan Government to design mechanisms that will work to address
the human rights issues and not repeat the failures of the past.
Delivering the Opening Statement at the 28th Session of UNHRC
in Geneva, Switzerland, the High Commissioner said the Member
States were due to consider his report on the implementation of
UNHRC resolution 25/1 on accountability and reconciliation in
Sri Lanka, including the findings of the comprehensive investigation
mandated by the Council at this session. The High Commissioner
said he will present the report on the UN mandated investigation
into the alleged human rights violations by Sri Lanka during the
war at the 30th Session of UNHRC in September.
Sri Lankan authorities have extended the detention
of a former Sea Tiger Women's Wing leader of the LTTE arrested
earlier this week. Police on March 2 arrested the former LTTE
leader Murugesu Jayaganesh Pakeerathy at the Bandaranaike International
Airport in Colombo while she was about to leave for France with
her eight-year-old daughter, a French national. The authorities
initially detained her for 72-hours pending investigations by
the Unit TID and the detention has been extended to 90 days under
the Prevention of Terrorism Act. SSP Ajith Rohana said "We have
now got a detention order under the Prevention of Terrorism Act
which means we can hold her for a period of 90 days." "We are
hopeful of completing investigations very soon," he added.
| March 9
The GTF has requested the British
Government to persuade the new Sri Lankan administration to lift
the ban on Tamil Diaspora groups imposed by the previous Government.
The GTF is among those groups included in the list of proscribed
organisations. GTF President Reverend Father S. J. Emmanuel has
requested the ruling coalition’s Secretary of State for Foreign
and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond, MP, to take up the issue
with the visiting Sri Lankan delegation led by President Maithripala
Sirisena. The President and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera
are scheduled to meet British PM David Cameron on March 10. GTF
spokesperson Suren Surendiran confirmed their request to the British
Government. Surendiran said that they strongly believed that the
gazette notification bearing the number 1854/41, dated March 21,
2014 should be repealed.
Filmmaker Callum Macrae who exposed
Sri Lanka's war crimes and took the famous picture of LTTE supremo
Velupillai Prabhakaran's son eating a snack just before he was
shot dead will release a new Sinhala version of his award winning
documentary "No Fire Zone" in the premises of the House
of Commons (UK). According to report, Britain's relation
with Sri Lanka may soon sour over the film. The launch will be
attended by director Callum Macrae and will have the presence
of British MPs - Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, Conservative MP
Lee Scott and others from Parliament. The documentary was nominated
for the prestigious Emmy award. The meeting will also be addressed
by exiled Sinhalese writer Bashana Abeywardane. The release of
the version will coincide with the visit of the new Sri Lankan
President Maithripala Sirisena to the UK and will take place a
day before he is due to have dinner with the Queen.
A group of pro- LTTE British Tamils
gathered at Westminster Abbey in London to protest the new Sri
Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's participation in the Commonwealth
Day celebrations held in London. According to the report, upon
seeing the protesters, President Sirisena, who is the current
Chair-In-Office of the Commonwealth, alighted from his official
motorcade and greeted the protesters waving at them. The protest
against the visiting President was organized by the British Tamils
Forum (BTF). The President was attending the Commonwealth Day
service held at Westminster Abbey. The event was attended by the
Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,
and representatives of Commonwealth Nations.
| March 10
A Sri Lankan court released the
Tamil woman activist, Balendran Jeyakumari who has been held in
detention for nearly a year for allegedly harbouring a LTTE fugitive.
Acting Police Media Spokesperson, ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said Colombo
Magistrate Court released Jeyakumari on conditional bail after
spending nearly a year in the Boossa detention camp. However,
the Additional Magistrate has banned her from leaving the country
as part of the bail conditions given to her by the Court. She
is also required to report to police station closest to her residence
every month, ASP Gunasekara said. The court also released six
other activists along with Jeyakumari. Jeyakumari along with her
13-year-old daughter was arrested on March 13, 2014 in Kilinochchi
for allegedly sheltering an LTTE cadre, named Gopi, who shot a
Police inspector in Kilinochchi during an arrest.
Housing and Samurdhi Minister
Sajith Premadasa said that TNA Parliamentarians do not stand for
a separate state and their purpose is to ensure fair and equal
treatment for Tamils. Minister Premadasa said some politicians
make allegations against the TNA claiming that they supported
President Maithripala Sirisena during the Presidential election
to divide the country. This is a political lie used to mislead
voters, he said. The Minister said that “LTTE activists in London
protest against TNA MPs Sampanthan and Sumanthiran by burning
their effigies. Even TNA MPs have accepted the unitary nature
of the state” "If Sampanthan and Sumanthiran wished to see
a separate State and supported Maithripala Sirisena to fulfill
this purpose, it is a big question for us as to why LTTE supporters
in the UK are protesting against them? The cat is out of the bag
and the truth is revealed. The TNA MPs do not demand for a separate
state. They only want equal treatment for Tamils," said the
TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran
claimed that there are about 300 political prisoners in Sri Lanka.
Sumanthiran was addressing the press following his meeting with
Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath on the issue of LTTE detainees.
However, Solicitor General Gamlath discounted this claim stating
that it is unfair to claim that those who were taken into custody
under the Prevention of Terrorism Act or under the Public Security
Ordinance as political prisoners. He emphasized those arrests
were made within a structured legal frame work and hence there
are no political prisoners in the country.
Sumanthiran said that the law
has taken a different course for those who helped the LTTE by
providing them with food and water, and they are still in detention
though 11,900 detainees have already been rehabilitated. According
to Sumanthiran, the group under custody could be divided as (1)
those against whom no legal action has been instituted (2) those
whose legal battle is completed and (3) those against whom legal
action continues."The Committee to be appointed by the Solicitor
General will conduct its first meeting on March 16," sources
UN Under-Secretary-General for
Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman who visited Sri Lanka from
February 28 to March 3, expressed confidence over Sri Lanka's
efforts towards reconciliation and cooperation. UN Political chief
said that following presidential elections in January, a historic
opportunity has now presented itself for Sri Lanka to set up a
domestic process that is credible, accountable and up to par with
international norms and standards for the benefit of the country's
people, with the help of the wider international community. "The
meetings and talks with the Government of Sri Lanka are so different
than they used to be, so that leads us to greater expectations.
There was suffering across all Sri Lanka, every community suffered
and accountability must address the grievances in the North, but
also allow that all [people] in Sri Lanka feel like all their
concerns are being addressed," he said.
| March 11
The CID of Sri Lankan Police,
as directed by the IGP on the order of the Mount Lavinia Magistrate,
will soon begin investigations into the murder of journalist Lasantha
Wickrematunga. Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that
preliminary investigations into the assassination of Wickrematunga
were carried out by the Mirihana Police and later by the TID.
As ordered by the IGP the CID has already sought the extracts
related to their investigations from the Mirihana Police Station
and the TID and CID would start its investigation after analysing
these investigations, the spokesman said. Lasantha Wickrematunga,
the chief editor of Sunday Leader, was assassinated on
January 8, 2009 by four assailants who stopped him on his way
to his office on Attidiya-Mt. Lavinia road, in a suburb of Colombo
and opened fire at him.
| March 12
President Maithripala Sirisena
said that Sri Lanka does not want "any outsiders" in
its domestic inquiry into alleged atrocities committed against
the Tamil Tigers during the last stages of the country's civil
war. "We are ready to get advice and their opinions for the
inquiry, but I don't think we need any outsiders because we have
all the sources for this," Sirisena said. This implies the
UN investigators will not be able to participate in the domestic
inquiry that the new government plans to set up within a month
into the alleged war crimes committed during the nearly three
decade-long military operations that crushed the LTTE in 2009.
Sirisena also said he hopes to
set up a special investigative commission within a month to inquire
into the alleged war crimes committed during the last phase of
the country's civil war. President Sirisena said an investigative
commission will be appointed legally and it will be tasked with
identifying what needs to be done to probe the alleged violations.
If the commission found anyone guilty of committing war crimes
they will be punished according to the country's law, Mr. Sirisena
British writer-filmmaker Callum
Macrae has urged Indian PM Narendra Modi to "show courage
and commitment" in pushing Sri Lanka to address war crimes
ahead of his visit to Colombo. Macrae said "(The Sri Lankan
Government should) allow a genuinely independent international
process of justice - something which can command support and trust
of all communities of Sri Lanka." The filmmaker, who took
the picture showing LTTE 'chief' Velupillai Prabhakaran's son
eating a snack before he was shot dead and helped expose war crimes,
said he wants to persuade Modi to intervene. Macrae recently released
a Sinhala version of his award winning documentary, 'No Fire Zone'
that has been nominated for the Emmy Award. India has refused
visa to Macrae and certification for his film for screening, explaining
in part it might "strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka".
Macrae called New Delhi's attitude a cause of concern. "The
refusing of a certificate on the openly political grounds...was
a shameful episode - as was, quite frankly, the refusal to grant
me visa,'' he said. "Now that both the Government in Sri
Lanka and the Government in India have changed, I hope that the
certification will be granted and that when I re-apply for a visa,
it too will be granted.''
| March 13
A Sri Lankan court released a
former leader of the LTTE Sea Tiger women's wing on conational
bail when she was produced in court. Police spokesman, ASP Ruwan
Gunasekara said Colombo Additional Magistrate Aruni Attigala released
the former LTTE leader Murugesu Jayaganesh Pakeerathy on a personal
bail of LKR 200,000. The suspected LTTE leader was ordered to
hand over her passport to the court and appear before a Police
Station once a week.
Indian PM Narendra Modi, who arrived
in Sri Lanka, urged the Sri Lankan Government to ensure early
and full implementation of the 13th Amendment and to go beyond
that when finding a political solution. "We believe that
early and full implementation of the 13th Amendment and going
beyond it would contribute to this process," the Indian Prime
Minister said at the Presidential Secretariat in the presence
of the heads of the Sri Lankan Government.
Narendra Modi paid homage to the
fallen soldiers of the IPKF in Colombo. He laid a wreath at the
base of the tall column on which was inscribed the names of all
the 1,500 Indian soldiers who were killed in the operations against
the LTTE between 1987 and 1990.
| March 14
Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in an International Conference on Education
in Dubai said that the whole country does not want an international
probe into the alleged war crimes committed during the 26-year
long war with the LTTE terrorists. Kumaratunga has said that both
the Sri Lankan people and its politicians found the calls for
a UN-led international investigation "insulting" by
implying that the country could not carry out its own. She said
that Sri Lanka is united against an international investigation
into alleged war crimes.
The PCICMP is to hand in an interim
report regarding the missing persons' cases to the President Maithripala
Sirisena on March 18, the Secretary to the Commission, H. W. Gunadasa
has said. According to the official, the report has already been
finalized and it will be handed to the President on March 18.
The Commission has recorded statements from witnesses regarding
303 cases of disappearance during the first week of this month.
The Commission has received 471 complaints. Since the Establishment
of the Commission on August 15, 2013, the Commission up to date
has received in excess of 20,106 complaints inclusive of approximately
5,000 complaints from relatives of missing SFs personnel.
The arrest at the Colombo Airport
last week of a former woman ‘Sea Tiger’, Murugesu Jayaganesh Pakeerathy
has exposed new global LTTE financing networks with continued
links in Sri Lanka. The husband of Murugesu Jayaganesh Pakeerathy
lives in France and is identified as the main financial controller
of the LTTE’s Diaspora-based global finance networks. The husband,
Subramaniam Jayaganesh, is suspected to be still maintaining close
ties with the former Tiger leader and key ‘banker’ Kumaran Pathmanathan
alias ‘KP’ who was the LTTE’s main global funds coordinator.
‘KP’ currently lives in Sri Lanka following his arrest in Malaysia
and controversial ‘rehabilitation’ by the previous regime despite
many serious charges relating to terrorism arraigned against him.
The sources said that the TID, which is currently questioning
Murugesu found these international financial linkages. This has
prompted a fresh probe into possible international LTTE financing
networks that may still be linked with Colombo, Police sources
The court case against former
LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP, arising out
of a petition filed by the JVP, will be taken up by Court of Appeal
this week. At the last hearing, Justice Vijitha Malalagoda,
asked for more information about KP’s global links.
Source:Compiled from news reports and