17 October, 2021

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Continuing Crimes – Matale To Mullivaikkal

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, should explain in court why newly released government lists show hundreds of Sinhalese and Tamils went ‘missing’ in Matale in 1989 and Mullivaikal in 2009. Both men remain criminally liable under international and domestic law for enforced disappearances that occurred under their command and control. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was secretary of defence in 2009;  Shavendra was a key divisional commander, who is now designated by the US government for credible allegations of gross violations of human rights.  

Recently released data from Sri Lanka’s Office of Missing Persons (OMP) shows that more than 330 Tamils are classified as having gone ‘missing’ from the final days of the war when the country was fully under the government’s control. The data also shows 154 Sinhalese from Matale Distict are regarded as having gone ‘missing’ in the last half of 1989 when Gotabaya was the District Military Coordinator there, and Shavendra his junior officer. The ITJP believes that the OMP’s numbers while extremely large are nevertheless grossly underestimated. 

“Families have a right to the truth about the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones and the army officers in command in the Vanni at the war end and into whose control they surendered have a legal obligation to explain how they ‘misplaced’ hundreds of Tamils who surrendered, as an enforced disappearance is a continuing crime” said the ITJP’s Executive Director, Yasmin Sooka. 

“Furthermore is Gotabaya Rajapaksa going to explain to the Sri Lankan people why so many Sinhalese youths from Matale went ‘missing’ in 1989 when he was in charge there?,” she asked.  

“These government disappearance lists show that the Sri Lanka’s Army Commander can currently be prosecuted for hundreds of disappearances and the President too, one day when he steps down from office,” Sooka added. 

Missing or Disappeared? 

The lists published by the Office of Missing Persons (OMP)  blur the legal distinction between those who are missing and those who have been the subject of an  enforced disappearance. Mixed in with hundreds of people who vanished in army custody are missing-in-action combatants and people who died in shelling incidents in the final war in 2009 but whose corpses were likely never identified. Likewise in Matale there is detailed testimony showing hundreds of youth were in police or army custody when last seen alive. Each individual’s loss in war is a tragedy but an enforced disappearance is an ongoing crime for which there is no statute of limitations under international law. It can be prosecuted at any time but the published lists obscure this important distinction.  

Location of Disapearance

The published lists from the OMP also do not accurately specify the location where someone disappeared. This obscures patterns that would help identify those responsible for clusters of disappearances at specific times and places.Tamils from all the districts of the north east would have been present in the Vanni in May 2009 and could have disappeared in the final days of the war but the OMP data is tabulated by district of origin which obscures how many went missing or disappeared in the final days of the war. 

Underestimates and Cross referencing with other lists

The OMP lists for the north eastern districts show 335 people ‘missing’ between 16-20 May 2009. It’s likely the majority of those disappeared at Wadduvakkal or Omanthai. The OMP number is less than the data collected on the ITJP’s website, published in 2018, which had 390 names of people who disappeared after last being seen alive in army custody in Omanthai or Wadduvakkal from the same time period. 

It is also worth noting the OMP’s data, for example, for Matale District contains 235 names of the ‘missing’ from the second JVP uprising. While the Presidential Commissions of Inquiry into the Involuntary Removal or Disappearance of Persons had more than four times this – 1178 names. Though some of the complainants may have moved district or died in the last thirty years, this doesn’t explain the big difference. Again this highlights the need to display the data according to place of disappearance and to cross reference and triangulate with previous government disappearance lists. 

“The controlled and limited information on Matale is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Bashana Abeywardane of Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka. “The true magnitude of past crimes is much larger than many would imagine. That the very same alleged perpetrators, who allegedly later oversaw more atrocities, became the rulers of the entire island amply demonstrates how deep rooted the culture of impunity is in Sri Lanka”. 

Missing Information

There are some striking ommissions in the OMP lists. According to their information, nobody from Trincomalee went missing in the final days of the 2009 war, which is highly unlikely. Over the whole course of the war, the OMP list only 17 Tamils missing from Trincomalee district. Other districts have very few names like 6 from Badulla. This may reflect families’ reluctance to come forward but it’s important to note this. 

In Colombo, the OMP lists only 5 disappearances in 2008-9 when a large number of cases were reported by human rights groups. Among the most shocking names missing are those of the Trincomalee 11 – the emblematic navy case on enforced disappearance. One relative described being devastated on realising her loved one was not listed, having assumed data reported to other government bodies would be automaticlly passed on to the OMP. 

A Waiting Game?

A forthcoming book being released in Sri Lanka states that more than 73 relatives of the disappeared in the north east have died since 2017 and it profiles each parent who died waiting for news of their disappeared loved one. The book points out that valuable evidence regarding enforced disappearance is being ereased everytime a parent dies. 

“The families of victims can no longer wait for justice while the perpetrators are promoted with total impunity from Matale to Mullivaikkal, fuelling a sense of triumphalism that they will never be held accountable,” said Ms. Sooka. “The demand for justice was suppressed after the brutal crushing of the JVP uprisings fuelling impunity and resulting in another mass atrocity. Families need closure and society needs the truth to move on.”

*Joint Press Release by JDS and ITJP

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Latest comments

  • 29
    7

    When he killed innocents in Matale, Tamils and Muslim didn’t bother because the victims were Sinhalese.
    When he killed innocents in Mulaitivu, Sinhalese and Muslim didn’t bother because the victims were Tamils.
    When he killed innocents in Beruwala, Sinhalese and Tamils didn’t bother because the victims were Muslims.

    This is the problem. No one cares for other ethnic groups. They only care about theirs. It is easy for the killers! They know they have support from at least one quarter (two in most cases) for any killing.

    • 20
      11

      Correction When he killed innocents in Mulaitheevu , Chingkallams and Muslims did not keep quiet or bother but danced , celebrated , held parades and street parties and then Chingkallams and Thullkans went around the world and to the UN and lies through their teeth. Please post the truth Thullukan

      • 11
        16

        Yes like Tamils danced when Muslims were forced to move from Jaffna. We enjoyed the death of Prabagaran and not the death of Tamils. Your name indicates whom you are. Pandi Kutti

        • 13
          11

          Hiku Brainless mukkal

          Had Pirabakaran wanted he could have wiped out all the thoppi piraddys in the north for spying for the Sinhalese , you un grateful thoppy piraddy you have the audacity to call us Tamils names. You are a PANNDI NO DOUBT.

        • 12
          8

          Fake Arab South Indian origin Tamil Dravidian Thullukan. No Thamizh danced any when Prapakaran caught you northern Thullukans, spying for the armed forces and storing arms inside mosques and asked you backstabbers to leave. As usual we Thamizh treated you South Indian origin immigrant Thullukans well but you backstabbers as usual repaid us with treachery. However it is a well know fact that Muslim Thullukans in the east celebrated lit crackers and cooked Biriyani and feed the Thulukka Islamic home guards and the Sri Lankan STF , after they had finished massacring and ethnically cleansing a indigenous Thamizh Hindu village in the east. I can post many videos of Thullukans dancing on the streets , holding victory parades and street parties in May 2009 rejoicing in the death of more than 145000 innocent Thamizh civilians in Mullivaikal. Useless creatures worse than a Pandi immigrant South Indian Thamizh my ethnicity but keep on denying this in the name of Islam and for perceived political and economic benefits and shamelessly run behind Arab .

          • 4
            1

            Guys,

            Please stop fighting. You only show your extreme racism to the world.

            There is no use fighting. We should split SL into 3 mono ethnic nations and live separately. All problems will be resolved.
            Sinhala Only Elam
            Tamil Elam
            Muslim Elam

            Don’t be greedy. No ethic group can have the entire island. Accept what equitably belongs to your ethnic group and LEAVE the rest to the others peacefully.

    • 8
      10

      GATM
      All those who were killed were killers themselves.
      They were not INNOCENT
      Thank you

      • 3
        2

        Whim,

        All? That is a stupid generalization! You know it is not true.

    • 7
      11

      GATAM

      Small correction,
      Sinhala, Tamil, or Muslims that were killed were themselves, killers.
      Please delete – the word INNOCENTS.

      JVP killed people if someone in the village got a bit too drunk …
      or if the shop keeper did not close the shop when ordered to do so by the JVP….
      LTTE killed if anyone spoke against them….
      Few Muslims were killed because they provoked the Sinhala Buddhists…

      These killings could have been avoided if the Government intelligence and security services were on the ball and nabbed the culprits before they started killing civilians…

      The Easter Sunday Bombings could have been avoided if the terrorist ring led by Zaharan was nabbed before they did the bombings.

      Hope Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa will increase the resources allocated to the Terrorist investigation unit and the CID and keep the security apparatus on high alert so that a Bombing or atrocity similar to the Easter Sunday Massacre carried out by Islamist Terrorists – that killed and injured and orphaned may people. More than 250 people were killed in a single day!!!!!!

      The only way to prevent killings is to increase security services and policing.

      If the terrorists were apprehended before they carried out the killings many unnecessary killings could have been prevented.

      • 6
        0

        This is exactly what I am talking about, people only looking at one side, that is all they want to do. It is not only about a day, it is about the present and the future

  • 14
    6

    Here is a list of those LTTE cadres who surrendered to the armed forces on 17/18 May, 2009 but their whereabouts unknown.
    (1) K.V. Balakumar and his son Sooriyatheepan
    (2) V. Ilankumaran (alias Baby Subramanian) Head of the Thamil Eelam Education Department. His wife Vettrichchelvi and daughter Arivumathy.
    (3) Yogaratnam Yogi in charge of ’Institute for Conflict Research’ in Vanni
    (4) Poet Puthuvai Ratnadurai, Coordinator of LTTE Arts and Cultural Department
    (5) K. Paappa, Coordinator of LTTE Sports Department
    (6) Rajah (Chempiyan) Assistant Coordinator LTTE Sports Department and his 3 children
    (7) Ilanthirayan, LTTE Military spokesman
    (8) Veerathevan, Coordinator LTTE Bank
    (9) S.Thangkan, Political Wing Deputy Chief
    (10) Aruna, Thamil Eela Education Department
    (11) S. Naren, Asst. Executive Head of TRO
    (12) Kuddy, Head of the LTTE Transport Department
    (12) Piriyan, Head of Administrative Service Department and his family
    (13) V. Poovannan, Head of the Administrative Service Division of the LTTE
    (14) Thangaiah, Administrative Service Department
    (15) Malaravan, Administrative Service Department
    (16) Pakirathan, Administrative Service Department
    (17) Reha, Head of LTTE Medical Division
    (18) Selvarajah, Commander Manal Aru Head Quarters
    (19) Bhaskaran, Commander Manal Aru Head Quarters
    (20) Major Lawrance
    (21) Major Kumaran
    (22) Prabha, Batticaloa District Commander
    (24) Rupan, Coordinator of Supplies

    Cont…

    • 4
      16

      I’m against war crimes.

      But where is evidence that they actually surrendered to the armed forces? The surrender period (amnesty period) allowed by armed forces expired on May 15. Thereafter any surrender was at the discretion of the winner (army). If the winner (army) feared attack or the surrender (loser) is a sham surrender to attack, he can decide not to accept any surrender.

      Unfortunately the war crimes law was made by the biggest civilian killers in the world. So it allows these things for a government army.

      • 6
        3

        GATAM,
        I don’t know whether to laugh or cry to your comments. Can you tell me where do you need to produce the evidence? IS it to the police or army or courts or President? Do you think that there was no evidence for Lasantha murder? Why couldn’t you find the Lasantha murderers? You are right the law of this country are made by the biggest civilians killers of Srilanka. So, there is no war crimes or any other crimes in this island.

        • 2
          2

          Ajith,

          Are you capable of only those two – laugh and cry? Pity.

          Just have your evidence ready so when the trials begin you can present them. If you don’t have evidence it is case closed.

          • 1
            0

            GATAM
            Are you speaking for Mahinda Family? Just two is enough to tell the story. You can’t even answer to two. How you can answer for thousands.

    • 10
      17

      Nakkeran,
      .
      So what…..?
      You are asking pension benefits for them…..?
      Ask from the idiots who funded your LTTE.

    • 4
      8

      Thanga,
      Most of these names are not real. They are names given to LTTE cadres by Prabhakaran. All those who surrendered have been documented in their real names, they were rehabilitated and guided them to self-employment.
      ‘Missing Persons’ is another ‘Higannage Thuwalaya’ (Begger’s wound) used by Tamil Diaspora to create problems to the Government of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Armed Forces because they gave a humiliating defeat to LTTE Tamil terrorists.

      • 4
        4

        You fucking low life eagle

        The number of people who have been listed are my relatives, they are no fake they are real people whose families are still longing for their return .

        Stop writing bull shit and add insult to injury. I don’t have even a cent of respect for a arsehole like you . Should the CT want they can edit out my message but I call a spade a spade . You are a degenerate low life , who shouldn’t be allowed to express your rubbish here , let alone allowed to live on this planet .

    • 6
      2

      Now here is a list of my favourite foods:
      1. Fish ambul thiyal
      2. Kottu
      3. Kukul mas curry
      4. Parippu
      6. Lamprais
      7. Hoppers

      In my opinion, we should move away from polits as a country and join with the union of food. I like to call it foodanism. My idea would be where this concept revolves around socialism but there is a larger emphasis on food. Sri Lanka has always had great food,we need to share. It is actions like this which unite the country and bring a stop to these crimes.

  • 10
    22

    Any more lists Sooka…..?

    • 10
      7

      Ms SCP,

      best remedy to your pathological problems would be to get your GENOME be replaced with that of a donkey.
      I really dont want to insult donkey as animals, but being born as Homo sapiens to be servile as no others is beyond my bearing.
      .
      American Monsanto as GMO experts could do the job for you. If you are interested in, please get back to us without further delay. I can work as a mediator to get you back into tracks.
      :
      Unfortunately you the kind of donkeys would never see it right, literally the curse for SRILANKEN nation.
      :

      • 4
        7

        Mr. eLM (eternal Loose Motion),
        .
        You seems to know lot about donkeys.
        .
        That is typical of “Yahapalana” idiots.
        .
        Still worshipping cement columns…..?
        .
        Go on. No worries. We encourage people like you.

        • 7
          3

          Ms. SCP,

          Please drink that PANIYA from Maeniyo…. …. that can help you further… so that you would never grow up…. I really dont know whether laugh or cry. 😜😜😜😜😜😜😜😜😜

          I worship synagogues, churchs, mosques, temples of various nature. So am I . 😜😜😜😜😜
          .
          You the kind of donkeys (not insulding the 4-leg animals) but worship the toilet pits of Rajapakse criminals. Just tell me one single good thing bugger family achived for the benefit of the masses since Nov 2019.
          😜😜😜😜😜
          Nandasena is thousand time incapable of doing any simple things compared to POLONNARUWE Sirisena.:::
          😜😜😜😜😜
          You should better grasp this before they killers use you as next human offer.
          😜😜😜😜😜
          Get well Ms SCP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • 5
            3

            Are emojis used when one runs short of grey matter? Or when your child is allowed to play with the keyboard?

            • 3
              3

              Sonali@
              Emoji sare usually used to stand out the points – specially to donkeys of SCP nature.

  • 3
    7

    “The demand for justice was suppressed after the brutal crushing of the JVP uprisings fuelling impunity and resulting in another mass atrocity. Families need closure and society needs the truth to move on.”

    The perperators of the JVP killings are not in power right now. You probably know who they are. No talk of impunity at that time or ever, since the UNP was in power from 1977 to 1994.

    Bringing up disappearances and war crimes is a worthwhile thing, however the motives behind this are always highly suspect, and always used to attack the government in the hope of overturning it.

    You will not find patriots calling out for punishment of war crimes. Ask yourself why.

    • 2
      0

      Vanguard,
      “You will not find patriots calling out for punishment of war crimes. Ask yourself why”
      Mahinda Rajapaksa himself went to Geneva to complain about UNP crimes.
      So, was he a patriot or not?
      Does patriotism depend on who is being murdered?

      • 0
        2

        Just as FP/TULF systematically eliminated their opponents in Jaffna?

  • 7
    20

    The main reason for civilian casualties at the final stage of the anti-terrorist operation was the fact that the LTTE used civilians forcibly as a human shield.

    The accusation against Sri Lanka Government forces of war crimes is not reasonable.

  • 8
    2

    Supreme Court is burning. Now there is no records so there is no crimes to charge. Sircular seems to have closed pending cases at great speed. Welcome to virtuous lawful nation.

  • 7
    12

    Due to various reasons LTTE (and other groups) had killed many Tamils (cadres) who were with them, and killed many for not joining them and for various other reasons. All those numbers may have been taken as disappeared and put into the account of security forces.

  • 7
    4

    International Community take them to war crimes tribunal.

    • 3
      2

      Do you mean China?

  • 3
    1

    Great news to all Psudo flag bearers, MCC has cancelled and walked away from deal. Lanka is safe, extra prosperous and splendour now. Many self claimed Economist here in CT now can take victory laps

  • 2
    2

    Now here is a list of my favourite foods:
    1. Fish ambul thiyal
    2. Kottu
    3. Kukul mas curry
    4. Parippu
    6. Lamprais
    7. Hoppers

    In my opinion, we should move away from polits as a country and join with the union of food. I like to call it foodanism. My idea would be where this concept revolves around socialism but there is a larger emphasis on food. Sri Lanka has always had great food,we need to share. It is actions like this which unite the country and bring a stop to these crimes.

    • 1
      1

      Even cockroaches love them!

  • 5
    2

    Looking at the comments it is very clear that Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are divided and the ruling families exploit this division to their personal benefits and suffocating innocents, disadvantaged and vulnerable people. We all forget that the state has a responsibility to protect these people but they only protect criminals, bribers, drug dealers and murderers.

    • 1
      6

      So what is the solution?
      Sinhala Only Elam
      Tamil Elam
      Muslim Elam.

      Anything else fails. Don’t be too greedy. Accept what equitably belongs to your ethnic group and leave the rest of the island to others.

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