HRW, AI demand Justice on Trinco murder

Two leading human rights groups Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) are calling for the perpetrators of the assassination of the five youth in Trincomalee seven years ago, to be produced in court and charged over the crime.

The five young boys, who had gathered for a chat in Trincomalee close to the beach, in January 2006 were found shot dead minutes after a grenade explosion in the area.

Following growing pressure a Commission of Inquiry was set up to investigate the incident but the final report was never made public.

Amnesty International, a human rights group headquartered in London, is carrying out an intense campaign on behalf of the five victims.

Jim McDonald, Sri Lanka Country Specialist of Amnesty International USA says after seven years of campaigning by family members, no action has been taken by the Sri Lankan authorities to bring the killers of the Trincomalee youth to justice.

“The failure to properly investigate this case despite a recommendation by a Presidential Commission of Inquiry established in 2006 and repeated in the 2011 report of the LLRC, clearly shows that Sri Lanka is either unable or unwilling to ensure accountability for human rights violations, leading victims and their families to seek justice at the international level,” McDonald told the local media.

Amnesty International has an online petition demanding justice for the Trincomalee victims while street campaigns have also been held in the US.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), a US based human rights advocacy group, says there is little reason to believe the government when it assures accountability.

“Seven years after the execution-style slaying of five Tamil students on Trincomalee beach, the Sri Lankan government has taken no real action to apprehend the perpetrators, despite compelling evidence of involvement by the security forces. The government has claimed this case is a priority, including it in the now forgotten presidential commission of inquiry and in its response to the UN Human Rights Council, but actual progress in this case is sadly nonexistent. There is little reason to believe government promises of accountability so long as highly publicized cases like the Trinco 5 and the killings of the 17 ACF aid workers go without arrests or prosecutions,” Brad Adams, the Asia Pacific Director of Human Rights Watch told The Sunday Leader.

Report by Easwaran Rutnam