24 September, 2020

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Weliweriya Killings: Military Should Make Inquiries From Soldiers And Not From The People – AHRC

On August 15 (yesterday) people from Rathupaswela, Weliweriya, were asked to go to the army camps in order to record evidence from them. The people did not want to go to the camps for obvious reasons. Previous reports revealed that the people are afraid that those who are witnesses to the events which led to the killing of three persons and assaults on many others would become targets of reprisals. Some people sought the help of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka which, it has been reported, has intervened and made arrangements for the statements to be recorded at police stations.

The military is supposed to be conducting an investigation into the events at Rathupaswela, Weliweriya. The military should first collect evidence from the soldiers and the officers who participated in these raids. They are the ones who best know what they themselves did. It is to be assumed that the officers will reveal the actual facts to the military inquiry. Even under normal circumstances it is the duty of the commanding officer and all others who participated in the raids to report on every matter accurately. It is on that basis only that the military can function as an organised force working within the framework of the law of the country.

Every gun that was signed out, every bullet issued is supposed to be taken only after the making of proper records in the prescribed registers. It is every soldier’s duty to report on the use of their weapons if they are, in fact, used. If the injuries were caused in the course of the use of their weapons it is the duty of the officers to report this to their lawful authorities. Therefore there should be no secret to the military about how any injuries that were caused by the use of their weapons came about and who was responsible. This is information that the military should gather from their own sources. If the military is unable to get this information from their own soldiers then there is a severe breakdown of military discipline. By now the military should have a clear record of the commands that were given and how they were carried out.

As for the assaults on the people, again the officers who carried out the assaults should have by now revealed the details of their actions to their authorities. If whatever they did was on the basis of orders given then there should be no difficulty for the soldiers to report on how they carried out their orders. There should be no difficulty for the commanding officers to report by now as to whether whatever orders that were given were properly carried out or whether there were excesses. If there were excesses what those excesses were and who was responsible.

There were at least three deaths. The military authorities by now should know who fired the guns which caused these deaths. Have the soldiers kept to their military regulations, particularly in terms of the use of minimum force in the use of their weapons? If they have, in fact, violated the rules what was the manner of such violations and who are the responsible officers that did such violations?

All these are matters that the military should resolve on their own. This is not a situation like catching thieves or challenging the people to say that if you have evidence show what wrong we have done. This is not a relationship between criminals and those are victims of crimes. This is a situation of the country’s armed forces and the nation’s citizens. Whatever function that the military has performed had to be on the basis of their official position. Whatever has been done in an official position should also be revealed as the official regulations require.

Trying to go behind the people to collect information about what the military has done is a farce. The military should find out from the military itself what they have done. If the military is incapable of doing that then the people have a right to ask what kind of military they have.

The Asian Human Rights Commission is aware that the witnesses are living in fear of reprisals. Their fear is well-founded on the basis of common experiences. If the military is trying to pursue them to find out who the witnesses are with a view to dealing with them in the future then that will only worsen the wounds of people who are already shocked by what took place and the deaths and injuries they have suffered.

It is also shocking if the military is trying to take over the functions of the police. Inquiries into complaints of civilians are a matter for the police. If the police functions are to be usurped by the army it is again a clear indication of the militarisation that is taking place in the country.

It is for the high command of the military to inquire into the reasons for the military to ask people to go to their camps. It is up to them to stop such acts which cause further fear and disturbance among the people.

*A statement from Asian Human Rights Commission

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    AHRC,

    How dare you insult our war heroes who conducted a Humanitarian Operation in Vanni with zero civilian casualty: We are teaching the world how to combat terrorism the fast and easy way – real short cut!

    We have home grown solutions for all problems, including the Weliweriya water problem. We are asking the people to tell our army their problems. This is how we do it in the North, and Tamils are happy there. They don’t demonstrate, you can come and see.

    Please don’t interfere in our internal affairs, let’s do the Asian way.

    Don’t gang up with the diaspora and bring bad reputation for our country.

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      The police stood by and watched as the saffron goons attacked the Grandpass mosque. The police are as bad as the army if NOT worse.

      The police of Colombo and elsewhere are the most corrupt and useless lot of public servents. When we complained recently to OIC of Cinnomon Gardens police station that valuable timber trees in Colombo 7 areas were being cut down for no good reason, he refused to take any action and said that we should complain to the Colombo Municipality. Since it was Sunday the tree was cut down and the police OIC in charge of Cinnomon Gardens Station did nothing.

      On numerous occasions we have made compliant but the environmental police refuse to take any action and pass the buck.

      The fact is that the HUGE police and the HUGE military need to be REDUCED AND DOWN SIZED AND MADE MORE LEAN AND EFFICIENT. The money wasted on maintaining hundreds of useless policemen need to be spent to EDUCATE and TRAIN a more lean and EFFICIENT and police force and military.
      There are too many police and military all over and NO ONE takes responsibility for anything. Like the gigantic Cabinet of Clowns which is a hindrance for integrated and effective policy making and implementation.

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    There are a lot of ridiculous assumptions made in this statement by AHRC. Are they suggesting that eyewitnesses and victims must not be allowed to make statements in this investigation, and that all conclusions must be based only on the statements of the accused? That is the most absurd suggestion I have ever heard. Is AHRC trying to reinforce a future claim by the Army that they received no eyewitness statements and had to rely on the statements of the alleged perpetrators?

    AHRC also seems to have assumed that statements haven’t been taken from the officers and soldiers, and that ammunition and weapons usage hasn’t been accounted for and recorded. Why has this been assumed?

    AHRC seems to be intentionally naive if it believes that those accused of a crime (in the event of being guilty) are going to be totally forthcoming about the incident.

    It is understandable that witnesses will be scared, and shouldn’t have to go to an Army camp to give a statement, but their statements must be recorded to get both sides of the story, and the police can do this. Also, there is no prohibition on Army investigators speaking to civilian witnesses, as long as interviews are conducted with the police present, or even lawyers, if the witness requests it. The Special Investigation Bureau and the Criminal investigation Bureau of the Military Police are there for investigations such as this.

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      ” interviews are conducted with the police present, or even lawyers, if the witness requests it”

      Is this America you are talking about or the “wonder of Asia”?

      As if the people are not aware of the state of the police service ….

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        So what is your solution? Don’t allow the eye witnesses to give evidence? Thanks for your brilliance.

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      Mr Blacker, the author does say that people went through the HRC of Sri Lanka and had their statements recorded at Police Stations as they were fearful of reprisals if they had gone as instructed to Army camps for the purpose.

      Assigning units such as the Special Investigation Bureau and the Criminal investigation Bureau of the Military Police to handle the civilian side of such investigations only beget legitimate concerns of conflict of interest and yet another despondent shrug of the collective citizens’ shoulder when culpability is wall-papered over and white-washed. Surely you cannot not have observed the rapid degradation in the basic law and order situation in Sri Lanka; and as someone who has previously served as a commissioned officer in the Sri Lanka Army who has no serving axe to grind, one would expect that you would do your bit to provide objective and value-added commentary to try and catalyse materially positive change in the situation rather than fling brick-bats at those who valiantly try to do so!

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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        “Mr Blacker, the author does say that people went through the HRC of Sri Lanka and had their statements recorded at Police Stations as they were fearful of reprisals if they had gone as instructed to Army camps for the purpose.”

        Yes, I know, but the article is criticizing the fact that the Army is asking for eye witness statements from civilians, and it is that point that I am addressing. I have also noted that the eye witnesses’ fear is understandable, but that AHRC is being idiots to suggest that conclusions must be based only on the statements of the alleged perpetrators.

        “Assigning units such as the Special Investigation Bureau and the Criminal investigation Bureau of the Military Police to handle the civilian side of such investigations only beget legitimate concerns of conflict of interest and yet another despondent shrug of the collective citizens’ shoulder when culpability is wall-papered over and white-washed.”

        You are assuming, and AHRC is suggesting, that this military investigation is the only investigation being conducted. How do we know this to be so? As far as I can see this is an internal military investigation, but that doesn’t mean it is or should be the only investigation. The Military Police conduct internal investigations within the SL Army, and do interview civilians if needed (in the presence of police). I am curious why AHRC wants to create an excuse for not conducting an internal military investigation.

        “Surely you cannot not have observed the rapid degradation in the basic law and order situation in Sri Lanka; and as someone who has previously served as a commissioned officer in the Sri Lanka Army who has no serving axe to grind, one would expect that you would do your bit to provide objective and value-added commentary to try and catalyse materially positive change in the situation rather than fling brick-bats at those who valiantly try to do so!”

        Firstly, I was never a commissioned officer in the SL Army, nor have I ever claimed to be. I am certainly being objective. That is why I am questioning AHRC’s attempt to prevent civilian eye witnesses giving their statements to an Army investigator. Witnesses must be protected, and AHRC can help with that, but to prevent investigation on the grounds of safety is ridiculous. If the AHRC’s advice is followed, the Army will say, “oh, no eye witnesses came forward and our soldiers said they didn’t mean to kill anybody”. Is that what you and AHRC want?

        I see no sign of AHRC valiantly trying to do anything other than ensure the baby is firmly chucked out with the bath water.

        The biggest assumption is that the military investigation is the only investigation. If this is true (is it?), AHRC should push for a civilian investigation instead of trying to scuttle the military one and helping the culprits with a loophole.

    • 0
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      PtondeAmaanaru;

      YOU also doing the Same thing.

  • 0
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    The statement of the Asian Human Rights Commission is
    an eye-opener for military authorities and Sri Lanka’s Human
    Rights Commission.

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    True to form the Rajapassa regime is employing DELAY TACTICS – the report on ARMY EXCESSES ON GOTA”S INSTRUCTIONS is to be released only on Aug 21, now!
    They’ll wait till Navi Pillai has come and gone!

    Rajapassa is hoping that the almost dead UNP, killed by Ranil Wickramasinghe will FORGET about Weliwariya…

    CT Editor – you really need to publish something on the other HOT ISSUE – PRIVATIZATION OF PEOPLE’A BANK which is a scandal!

  • 0
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    In a corrupt lawless Banana Republic with Jungle Law which protect and serve CRIMINALS only, what else can you expect? Do not forget that this is the only Country in the entire Universe where citizens tie themselves to trees, assault themselves, shoot to kill themselves as own punishment. God save former democratic Sri Lanka.

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    When ever I hear the name Rathupaswela inquiry, I hear it as “Puswedilla inquiry”. What authority has the military got to conduct an investigation by questioning civilians. Military is not in the judicial system of the country. It is illegal to conduct such an inquiry. The lawyers association should petition the courts on this. If at all the military wants it can only question the soldiers under command and not civilians. This inquiry is exactly the same inquiry that was conducted by the Chinese. Chinese are advising the regime and every single step taken by the regime is a carbon copy of what the Chinese government asks them to do based on the Chinese experience. We are fast becoming a state of China, similar to Hong Kong.

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    Everybody, please leave Basil fernando (The Mahadana Muththa) and the AHRC alone.
    He is singing for his supper.

    AHRC assumes all the time as they have nothing to do other than to appease their paymaster.

    AHRC have no clue how to engage people but just practice one track criticism.

    • 0
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      If Basil Fernando does not write this kind of Crap articles, he will have no income.

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    Do you belive that there will be an inbdependent and impatial report of the Army or Police will come out.According to Army spoksmen people were asked to go to police where as the Army will record thir statements.Do you think that people will give evidence wothout fear of Army and Police.Our forces and the Policice are really a threatening factores of people. This is a tactic used by MARAs regime to stop people giving statement freely. Finally the Regime will send their media and record some of the statement that are favourable to the regime and army and give wide publicity through state media and through stooges trade oriented private media to local and international communities.very thing is upside down in Sri Lanka.

    • 0
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      And the AHRC is supporting this strategy of preventing eye witnesses giving evidence.

  • 0
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    May be Army wants to find out who has given the shooting order from the Villager’s. Finally army will find out one of the Waliweriya water Terrorist has given the shooting order to the Ranaviru Army.

  • 0
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    He is writing in his own reality.

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    Excellent arrangement by the army which does the same in the north and east which has so far escaped the notice of all the southern citizens.
    In the northeast,the army also has judicial powers – to arrest and incarcerate citizens held incommunnicado in army camps.
    Now the south is tasting the ‘justice’ doled out in the northeast.
    Any hebeas corpus and ‘fundamental rights’ cases are conveniantly transferred to anuradhapura courts – to make it difficult if not impossible for lawyers and litigants to attend – and find the cases postponed umpteen times.

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    Since when did military Court of Inquiry (COI) deal with questioning civilians? Furthermore, ordering civilians to report to a camp is so arrogant and unprofessional, especially at a time like this. Officers go to the civilians with civil officers, police if at all.. It is a shame that such a good army is being used like sarong-clad estate watchmen to do the “hamo”‘s dirty work. Too bad these officers have to get their pension so they comply with the blackmail!

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    Voice of Justice ……… Could you tell this forum when where in the world have independent & imprtial reports have been submitted concerning such incidents.

    We human being are all born liars. We all begin to lie, deny from a tender age. its an inborn or developing trait.Thats a part of early childhood learning & parents are responnsible as they too have learnt the trade.

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    David Blacker
    Instead of beating about the bush, can you please list down the lot of ridiculous assumptions made in this statement by AHRC.
    You also state “Special Investigation Bureau and the Criminal investigation Bureau of the Military Police are there for investigations such as this.” What is the law that authorizes the CIB of the MP to undertake such investigations/inquiries that enables the MOTHER of the THIEF or ACCUSED to do the inquiry and dispose of it. You are suggesting that there is no prohibition on Army investigators speaking to civilian witnesses, as long as interviews are conducted with the police present, or even lawyers, if the witness requests it. Please let the readers know the Law/Rule/Regulation which guarantees this.

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      I have already stated what the assumptions are in my response above to Easton Scott. Read it, and if you have further questions, please ask instead of beating about the bush.

      I am not a lawyer, so I can’t quote the law or military regulation in question, but perhaps you can quote the law that prevents an Army investigator recording a statement from a civilian eye witness to a military crime.

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    If these SECTION OF Sri Lankan RUTHLESS ARMY KILLED innocent Sinhalese in Weliweria indiscriminately ,IMAGINE HOW MANY INNOCENT TAMIL CIVILIANS THEY MIGHT HAVE KILLED DURING THE WAR (Lets be honest to ourselves), .THERE IS something CALLED LAW OF KARMA.People who gave orders to this RUTHLESS ARMY will surely get it back..no point having “PIRITHNUL” AROUND THEIR ARMS..You will PAY for this..

  • 0
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    Pls visit the page ,CT’s

    northern Sinhaliztion -important new message included among the comments

  • 0
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    If the David Blacker type, the educated having served in the Forces, behave in this fashion, what can you expect from the very ordinary who constitute the rank and file in the Forces? What Hope will this nation have?

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      the educated having served in the forces ?

      what do you then think about PROFESSOR GLP ? He is the most unbearable person to my eye in the entire corrupted political outfit. If he has a straight backbone, he could advise MR and the idiots. His loyality to the roudy bunch is not comprehesible to me from the beginning on.

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      The hope of a nation should not be in its military, except in time of war. The problem here is that those of you who also consider yourselves educated don’t demonstrate that education when analysing a situation.

  • 0
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    days are numbered for our raja fucker who is trying to distroy our nation for his gain

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