Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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WikiLeaks: “STF murdered Trinco students” Basil to US

by Colombo Telegraph, January 30, 2012

“We know the STF did it, but the bullet and gun evidence shows that they did not. They must have separate guns when they want to kill some one. We need forensic experts. We know who did it, but we can’t proceed in prosecuting them.” President’s advisor and his brother Basil Rajapaksa told US Ambassador Robert O.Blake.

 

Basil Rajapaksa Rajapakse

Basil - They must have separate guns when they want to kill some one

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and recounts details of a meeting US Ambassador to Colombo has had with President’s advisor and his brother Basil Rajapaksa on October 04, 2006. The cable was written by the US Ambassador to Colombo, Robert O. Blake.

Under the subheading  ”President is Keen on Human Rights” Blake wrote “Basil told the Ambassador that the President genuinely seeks the help of the Co-chairs, and the US in particular, to improve Sri Lanka’s human rights capability by lending experts, assisting with inquiries, and building up the indigenous Human Rights Commission (HRC). The Ambassador agreed that President Rajapaksa and Development and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe have strong reputations as human rights advocates, but noted the UNHCR lacked credibility.”

“Speaking with surprising candor, Rajapaksa explained the GSL’s efforts to prove that members of the Security Task Force (STF) murdered five students in Trincomalee in January: ‘We know the STF did it, but the bullet and gun evidence shows that they did not. They must have separate guns when they want to kill some one. We need forensic experts. We know who did it, but we can’t proceed in prosecuting them.’” the ambassador further wrote.

Ambassador Blake wrote “ He said that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has been sufficiently trained in human rights, but that the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) has been credibly implicated in harassment and human rights violations. ‘We have few complaints in areas of SLA presence, but we have a problem with the SLN,’ Rajapaksa explained. ‘We didn’t expect them to work with civilians and they weren’t trained.” He said the President has prioritized human rights training for the Navy. Rajapaksa added that with a new law requiring that police notify the magistrate before they can detain a suspect for longer than 24 hours, ‘We have minimized harassment by the police.’”

Placing a comment the ambassador wrote “The Ambassador’s first meeting with Basil Rajapaksa sparked a candid response from the Presidential Advisor and laid the foundation for a pragmatic relationship with the embassy. Rajapaksa’s frank discussion of the GSL’s human rights struggles with its security forces and request for international assistance in human rights capacity building is welcome.”

Below we give the relevant part of the cable;

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001622 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/04/2016 TAGS: PREL PTER PHUM PREF MOPS CE SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR BASIL RAJAPAKSA SPEAKS FRANKLY ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS AND KARUNA FACTION REF: A. COLOMBO 1617 AND PREVIOUS

B. COLOMBO 1604 AND PREVIOUS Classified By: Ambassador Robert O. Blake for reasons 1.4(b,d). "President is Keen on Human Rights" -----------------------------------

5. (C) Basil told the Ambassador that the President genuinely seeks the help of the Co-chairs, and the US in particular, to improve Sri Lanka's human rights capability by lending experts, assisting with inquiries, and building up the indigenous Human Rights Commission (HRC). The Ambassador agreed that President Rajapaksa and Development and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe have strong reputations as human rights advocates, but noted the UNHCR lacked credibility.

6. (C) Speaking with surprising candor, Rajapaksa explained the GSL's efforts to prove that members of the Security Task Force (STF) murdered five students in Trincomalee in January: "We know the STF did it, but the bullet and gun evidence shows that they did not. They must have separate guns when they want to kill some one. We need forensic experts. We COLOMBO 00001622 002 OF 002 know who did it, but we can't proceed in prosecuting them."

7. (C) He said that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has been sufficiently trained in human rights, but that the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) has been credibly implicated in harassment and human rights violations. "We have few complaints in areas of SLA presence, but we have a problem with the SLN," Rajapaksa explained. "We didn't expect them to work with civilians and they weren't trained." He said the President has prioritized human rights training for the Navy. Rajapaksa added that with a new law requiring that police notify the magistrate before they can detain a suspect for longer than 24 hours, "We have minimized harassment by the police." Comment -------

11. (C) The Ambassador's first meeting with Basil Rajapaksa sparked a candid response from the Presidential Advisor and laid the foundation for a pragmatic relationship with the embassy. Rajapaksa's frank discussion of the GSL's human rights struggles with its security forces and request for international assistance in human rights capacity building is welcome.

BLAKE