Parents and relatives of five Trincomalee students who were extra-judicially executed at a seafront in Trincomalee by Sri Lanka armed forces on the 2nd of January 2006 will be commemorating the eight anniversary of the death of their sons today, Thursday. Despite a determined and relentless pursuit for justice by Dr Kasippillai Manoharan, the father of Ragijar, one of the students killed, including campaigns by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, justice has eluded the families of the students killed. "Until the perpetrators of the crime, and the at Sri Lanka’s helm who issued the order to kill my son, are brought to justice, I will keep on fighting," Dr Manoharan told TamilNet, adding, "I remain grateful for the Rights groups and the organizations that campaigned and highlighted the need for international involvement to bring justice to us."
The names and the dates of birth of the five students killed at the big harbor town under the control of and heavily garrisoned by the Sri Lanka security forces are: (i) Manoharan Ragihar, DoB 22.09.1985, (ii) Yogarajah Hemachchandra, DoB 04.03.1985, (iii) Logitharajah Rohan, DoB 07.04.1985, (iv) Thangathurai Sivanantha, DoB 06.04.1985, and (v) Shanmugarajah Gajendran, DoB 16.09.1985.
"[T]he murder of the five young boys in Trincomalee became an early symbol of the legacy of impunity that would plague the Sri Lankan Government, both in its execution of the final war to defeat the LTTE and the continued suppression of legitimate dissent both during and after the war," Financial Times (FT) wrote on the murder.
2013 was a watershed year for the parents as the two UN Human Rights Council resolutions and mention of the Trinco-5 murder in the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s Report on Sri Lanka in March 2013, finally forced the Sri Lanka Government to move on the prosecutions. With CHOGM approaching in November 2013, the case that has been languishing in Trincomalee court for the last 7 years appeared to gain some urgency.
"12 Special Task Force personnel have been arrested and remanded. Among them is an Assistant Superintendent of Police. The senior Police official, witnesses and informants have indicated commandeered the operation, remains a free man, now promoted in the ranks of the Police force," according to Financial Times.
The official referred to by the FT is H.D.K.S. Kapila Jeyasekera. He rose in ranks as the Superintendent of Police (SP) from the Special Task Force (STF), and was also alleged to have been responsible for other killings in Trincomalee during 2006, including the ACF-17 killings, and has been appointed as the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) to the Ki’linochchi and Mullaiththeevu district.
"I have no doubt that Mr Kapila Jeyasekera is responsible for killing my son. Jeyasekera was the key Police operative receiving orders from the higher political positions in targeting key Tamil activists and witnesses, and once Jeyasekera was transferred from Trincomalee, the killings of Tamil civilians suddenly decreased remarkably," Dr Manoharan said.
Another Navy official who was implicated in Dr Manoharan’s affidavit, Udawatte Weerakody was promoted by Sri Lanka’s political hierarchy, from low-level lieutenant to Trincomalee town deputy commander, to currently the Town Commander, Dr Manoharan said.
Sri Lanka observers said that the March Geneva meeting of the UNHCR may add further urgency to Sri Lanka to make progress in the Trinco-5 case. However, Dr Manoharan and other families are not hopeful that Sri Lanka will seek punitive action against the responsible military personnel. "Only independent international inquiry and legal action will bring us justice," Manoharan said.