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Six former Army personnel acquitted of all charges

Killing of 24 Tamils in 1996: Six former Army personnel acquitted of all charges

Six former Army personnel who were indicted over an incident where 24 Tamil civilians were killed, using firearms in 1996, were acquitted of all charges by Anuradhapura High Court Judge Manjula Thilakaratne on Wednesday, 27 of July.

The Jury consisting of six members returned unanimous not guilty verdicts. The final hearing continued for a month when it was taken for hearing after 20 years.

Six former Army personnel were accused of massacring 24 unarmed Tamil civilians of Kumarapuram in Kiliveddi in Trincomalee using automatic T56 weapons and LMG weapons.

The incident occurred on February 11, 1996. The victims included 24 adult men, women and children. Thirty nine villagers were also injured.

The initial hearing was held in Muttur Courts and the eye witnesses identified eight army personnel then serving in Dehiwatte camp in Trincomalee.

Because of the war situation in the country the case was transferred to Anuradhapura High Court where proceedings commenced after 20 years on June 27.

The deceased were ,

1. Subiah Savirajah, 76, Kinnan Kovinthan, 72, Sivakkolunthu Sinnadurai, 56, Vadivelu Nadarajah, 22, Sundaralingam Luxmy, 35, Arunasalam Kamaladevy, 35, Alahuthurai Parames, 30, Subramaniam Pakkiyam, 30, Arumaithurai Vallipillai, 28, Selladurai Pakkiyam, 26, Anandan Annamah, 26, Thurairajah Karunakaran, 15, Arumaidurai Santhyaluxmy, 15, Kanakarajah Subashinirajah, 15, Vinayakamoorthy Suthaharan, 14, Ramajeyam Kamaleswari, 13, Thangavel Kala, 12, Shanmuganathan Nizandan, 11, Sundaralingam Pirabaharan, 11, Amirthalingam Rasanighandi, 10, Theepan Patiny young, 9, Sivapakiyam Thiraiyampan, 6, Pakkkiyarajah Vasanthini, 6 and Sundaralingam Subasini, 3.

S. G. Nishantha, T. M. Ajith Sisira Kumara, M. P. Kapila Darshana, H. M. Abeysinghe, P. P. Upasena and H. B. Abeyratne are the accused acquitted yesterday.

The accused were indicted by the Attorney General on 101 separate accusations. The accused were expelled from the Army consequently.

Defendant’s council Attorney-at-Law Aravinda Habakkala in the last hearing said it is not ethical or not legal to pronounce the accused guilty merely based on the fact that several witnesses identified the defendants.

He further stated that the incident occurred 20 years ago and there are critical faults and contradictions of evidence provided by the complainant.

He also pointed out that the complainant was unable to prove beyond doubt that the respondents are guilty.

courtesy -  Daily News

- Melani


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