Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Ministry of Defense Gives Financial Rewards for Killings of Civilians

“Concerning any of these killings, it is useless you people contacting anyone in Sri Lanka! These killings are carried out on direct orders from President Mahinda himself. They (security forces and the paramilitary forces) are given orders to kill anyone in order to bring fear among the community and now they have the license from the EU as well!”

Ref : lX093/PR/2006
12 June 2006

Ministry of Defence gives financial rewards for killings of civilians

“You killed civilians, children…. old people, pregnant women, saying all the time that you were fighting terrorism.”, said by Mahmut Bakalli, former Communist leader of Kosovo, during the trial of the late Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic, at the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

After a genocide, world leaders who are GENUINELY committed to peace and justice will understand the pain and suffering not only of the Kosovans, but also of the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka.

We wonder what language is most suitable for us to use in informing the international community of the catalogue of ongoing killings of innocent Tamil civilians, including rape and murder of women and children, in the North East of Sri Lanka. It is the duty of every human rights activist and peace-loving citizen of the world to be aware of who provided the motivation and support for these killings.

Since the new President Mahinda Rajapaksa took office, we have heard nothing but the killing of innocent people. Rajapaksa's own brother, an ex-Sri Lankan military official, Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who is an American citizen, is the Secretary of Defence. The Rajapaksa brothers and their schoolmates and kith and kin from the South are the present military top brass and decision makers in the Defence Ministry in Sri Lanka. Also, the key ministerial positions are dominated by people from the deep South.

The whole defence structure, including the paramilitary forces working with the Sri Lankan military intelligence, is directly under their command.

Last week TCHR officials contacted a well-reputed human rights activist in Colombo, concerning the many recent killings in the North East of Sri Lanka. The activist who does not want to be identified told us that : “Concerning any of these killings, it is useless you people contacting anyone in Sri Lanka! These killings are carried out on direct orders from President Mahinda himself. They (security forces and the paramilitary forces) are given orders to kill anyone in order to bring fear among the community and now they have the license from the EU as well!”

We were told the surprising fact that the Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence has a special rate/allowance/price list for the Paramilitary forces. These re-numerations, fixed by the Sri Lankan Ministry, include the following: A person planting a Claymore successfully in the North East is paid twenty thousand (20.000 SL Rs) rupees, throwing a Grenade at an important target earns fifteen thousand (15.000 SL Rs) rupees and killing a prominent person is rewarded with one hundred thousand (100.000 SL Rs) rupees. There are various other cost lists, which TCHR could not obtain.

In addition to the paramilitary forces being paid to kill, it is now widely known that Sri Lankan security forces can kill and rape anyone of their choice in the North East with impunity.

On 10 May 2006 we published a detailed list of more than three hundred killings. Now we would like to draw attention to some of the brutal killings including rapes of women and children, which have taken place in the very recent past.

On 8 June 2006, Sri Lankan soldiers in Vankalai, Mannar, brutally tortured and murdered a family of four including two children. The wife was raped before she was stabbed to death. The soldiers forced entry into the victims' house at midnight and used knives and the tools of the occupant’s carpentry trade to stab the members of the family to death. The children and their father were left dead and hanging by rope from the roof of their own home.

Mannar Additional Magistrate who visited the scene found a Sri Lankan military badge with star and soldiers bootprints.

Neighbours told the Additional Magistrate that they could identify the soldiers who are involved in this brutal killing and rape.

The victims are, Moorthy Martin (35), Mary Medaline (Chitra), 27, and their children – daughter Ann Luxica (9), and son Ann Nilxon (7).

Mannar Bishop, members of the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM), Parliamentarians and human rights activists have visited the scene. As a result of this massacre, the villagers from Bastipuri, Sukanthapuri and Thomaspuri have fled from the area.

On 13 May 2006, a similar method of massacre of eight innocent civilians took place in Allaipiddy in the Jaffna peninsula. Soldiers and the EPDP paramilitary cadres from the Mandaithivu Sri Lanka Navy camp, forced entry into a house at night in the adjoining village Allaipiddy and fired mercilessly on the sleeping innocent civilians killing eight members of two families including a small child and a baby.

A few days before this massacre Sri Lankan Navy personnel had harassed the residents of this house, demanding use of the premises. The victims had turned down the request of the Navy personnel.

Joseph Anthonymuttu (64), Kanesh Navaratnam (50), Abraham Robinson (28), Sellathurai Amalathas (28), Palachamy Ketheeswaran (25), his wife Anex Ester (23), their son Thanushkanth (4) and their baby Yathursan (4 months) were the massacre victims. Three others were seriously wounded and admitted to Jaffna Hospital.

Amnesty International issued a report about this massacre on 16 May 2006 stating that “In separate incidents over the past weekend, 13-14 May, at least 18 civilians were reportedly killed in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Thirteen Tamil civilians were reportedly killed in a spate of incidents on Kayts Island, a small islet off the north-western coast of the Jaffna Peninsula that is strictly controlled by the Sri Lanka Navy, which has a major base there.”

“……….However, Amnesty International has received credible reports that Sri Lanka Navy personnel and armed cadres affiliated with the Eelam People’s Democratic Party, a Tamil political party that is opposed to the LTTE, were present at the scene of the killings.”

On 7 June 2006, A pressure mine planted by the Sri Lankan Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP), known as the Deep Penetration Unit (DPU), killed ten civilians, including five women and three children in a border village at Nedunkal in Vadamunai in Batticaloa. In this incident nine other wounded were admitted to Batticaloa hospital. Amongst the wounded were two babies of 3 and 8 months old. The paramilitary forces work very closely with Sri Lankan Deep Penetration Unit (DPU).

The names of the victims are: Sivanesan Sinthujan (6 months), S. Chandrakumar (10), S. Dineshkumar (11), T. Kavitha (20), S. Mathiyalakan (22), S. Mathimalar (24), I. Srima (33), K. Komathi (40), T. Thangaladchumy (48) and P. Sinnathamby (56)

On 30 May 2006, Paramilitaries entered the Sinhala settlement in the village of Rantharathenna in Omadiyamadu in Polonnaruwa District and hacked thirteen people to death and seriously wounded another two. This village was earlier used as a base by one of the paramilitary groups working with the Sri Lankan military intelligence.

On 4 May 2006, Sri Lanka Army soldiers at Navindil in Nelliyadi junction in Vadamaradchi opened fire on two three-wheelers killing all seven youths inside the vehicle on the spot.

All seven victims were from Karaveddy and are as follows : Selvarajah Suman (22), Veluppillai Vimalan (21), Navaratnarajah Nathanna (19), Subramaniam Subash (19), Palachandran Krishanthan, (18), Nagaratnam Naguleswaran (18) and Thamotharampillai Sharmilian (17).

On 7 May 2006, Eight missing young men including four students in Manthuvil East in Thenmaradchi in Jaffna peninsula are feared dead. According to the villagers, every evening at 7.00pm, the Sri Lankan army soldiers come to the temple area when the temple festival is in process. On that fateful day soldiers came to the temple area also at around10.00pm, where the missing young men were staying as guards to protect the temple property. To the surprise of the villagers, a military truck came to that spot at about around 1.00am and a few minutes later the villagers heard the firing of gunshots. Since then the young men who were on guard have been missing.

The villagers who went in search of the missing young men in the bushes near the temple, found three identity cards, six empty cases of bullets and also blood stained cloths.

The names of the young men, all from Kelakkai, Manthuvil East, feared dead and reported missing are: R. Sivananthamoorthy (35), K. Parimelalakan (29), M. Pushpakanthan (26), R. Rasakumar ( 24), S. Sivananthan (22), R. Thayaroopan (22), P. Parthipan (22) and V. Vaikundakumar (22).

The Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM), has expressed fears, based on inquiries on the ground, that Sri Lankan government forces were involved in extra-judicial killings of civilians.

Amnesty International stated in their communiqué of 16 May 2006 that “Regardless of who is responsible for the attacks, the Sri Lankan government has obligations under international law to take steps to prevent such killings, to ensure that those who commit them are brought to justice, and that the families of those killed are able to obtain redress”.

While the killings are taking place, the Sri Lankan security forces are also carrying out round up and search operations of Tamil youths in all parts of Sri Lanka.

On 8 June 2006, twenty-one youths from Kaluvanachikudy, Eravur public market and its surrounding area were arrested in a roundup search conducted by the Sri Lanka Army.

Furthermore, an economic embargo to the Tamil area has been introduced and people in the North East are undergoing severe hardship without sufficient food, medicine supplies and other essential items.

We submitted information recently, for the consideration of the international Community, particularly EU officials, requesting the EU to carry out an impartial independent inquiry into these killings, in order that they might understand who is clearly behind these killings.

Prominent human rights activist, Ian Martin, once said, “The political killings are one of the most serious human rights issues, but the key problem there is to identify properly where the responsibility lies and that’s why I think an impartial mechanism could be of assistance.”

Article 2 of the Genocide Convention, defines the meaning of genocide as certain acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. These acts include: a) Killing members of the group; b) Causing serious or bodily harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

The horrific rate of massacres of Tamils civilians over the decades and over these past months, points to the unfolding of precisely such deliberate and calculated actions. According to the definition in the Convention, genocide of Tamils is occurring in the NE of the island.

Therefore, there is an urgent moral imperative for the international community (IC) to look these facts squarely in the face. If not, the IC will be trampling on every human rights norm that exists, and will be complicit in genocide. Turning a blind eye, or taking action which exacerbates the situation, amounts to condoning and encouraging these brutal crimes against humanity.

We have documented catalogues of massacres over the years. We appeal to the IC to recognise, and to name the actions of the Sri Lankan government, for what they truly are. Wise and prompt action must be taken immediately.

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