The Lanka Academic

MARCH 27, 2008 EST, USA
VOL. 8, NO. 356


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Headline Summary
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Sri Lankan probe into civilian killings has few results after 18 months of work
Associated Press, Thu March 27, 2008 08:43 EDT . RAVI NESSMAN - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Nearly 18 months after Sri Lanka - launched an independent investigation into a wave of civilian killings during its renewed civil war, not a single case has been resolved and some human rights groups and lawyers fear no one will ever be held accountable. Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona said the government was working to allay witness' fears with a protection bill currently in Sri Lanka - 's parliament. The commission also recently allowed some witnesses to testify by video link from abroad, he said.

``The government established this commission, so it's in its own interest to see that this commission succeeds,'' he said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa created the commission in November 2006 after months of renewed fighting between government forces and ethnic Tamil minority separatists to look into 16 well-known human rights cases, many involving civilian deaths.

Rajapaksa also appointed an International Independent Group of Eminent Persons, 11 foreign experts, to advise the commission and give it international credibility.

Little progress has been made in any of the cases over the past 1 1/2 years, however.

Earlier this month the international advisory panel announced it was resigning in frustration, accusing the government of lacking the political will to investigate the incidents and saying the probe fell far short of international standards.

The commission was not properly funded or staffed and was marred by conflicts of interests, the panel said in a statement. It said the hearings were poorly organized and security officials refused to cooperate.

Ratnavale, the lawyer representing the slain aid workers, said that the security forces have taken advantage of key witnesses' reluctance to testify by producing meaningless witnesses to waste time and further bog down the investigation. He said no one may ever be held accountable.

``These are all diversionary tactics by the government to cover up,'' he said.

Commission Chairman Nissanka Udalagama said that it took time to establish the infrastructure for the investigation and that he does not believe the delays have damaged its credibility.

``The people who understand the time-consuming legal process won't comment like that,'' he said. ``An inquiry takes a long time.''

With hard work and full government support, the investigation could be brought up to international standards and reach a credible conclusion, said Darusman, the member of the departing international panel.

``So far, according to us, they've fallen short of that,'' he said.Discuss this story
Published: Thu Mar 27 10:15:05 EDT 2008

Sri Lanka's wounded Tigers growl at Delhi, Mar 28, 2008 . BANGALORE - India's hosting of Sri Lankan Army chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka in Delhi this month has evoked an angry growl from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Castigating India for giving the Lankan army chief a "state welcome", the LTTE has warned India against committing "the historic blunder" of propping up "the Sinhala war machine".

India would be responsible for "the ethnic genocide of the Tamils [in Sri Lanka]" that a Lankan army, "re-invigorated" by Indian support, would carry out, an LTTE statement said. "While pronouncing that a solution to the Tamil problem must be found through peaceful means, it [India] is giving encouragement to the military approach" of the Sri Lankan government, the LTTE said. "By this historic blunder it will continue to subject the Eelam Tamils to misery." More...Discuss this story
Published: Thu Mar 27 10:16:12 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka campaign to discourage suicide bombers, Mar 27, 2008 8:59am EDT. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka has launched a mystery poster campaign inviting would-be Tamil Tiger suicide bombers to phone a government helpline in exchange for 10 million rupees ($92,000) and a new life overseas.

"Why should you die with a scattered body?" the red-and-yellow posters, placed in Tamil-dominated areas of the capital, Colombo, asked readers contemplating becoming members of what the rebels call elite "Black Tiger" suicide squads.

"You also were born to live. Why should you carry bombs?" the posters said alongside a fuzzy black-and-white photograph of a suicide bomber's severed head. More...Discuss this story
Published: Thu Mar 27 10:17:19 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Pro-LTTE activists assault Lankan director in Chennai, March 26, 2008. CHENNAI: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam supporters attacked a Sri Lankan film director in Chennai and prevented him from taking back prints of his film from a laboratory for allegedly portraying the banned outfit chief, V Prabhakaran, in a poor light... Back to the top

Sri Lanka military says fighter jets bomb rebel camp as infantry clashes kill 29 in north
Associated Press, Thu March 27, 2008 06:13 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets bombed a Tamil rebel camp Thursday while scattered battles across the country's war-torn north killed 23 rebels and six soldiers, the military said... Back to the top

Military: 3 civilians killed in crossfire in northern Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Wed March 26, 2008 09:31 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Three Sri Lankan civilians who had been taken captive by Tamil rebels were killed Wednesday when they got caught in a battle between government forces and the guerrillas, the military said... Back to the top

Violence claims 22 in Sri Lanka: government, 26 march. COLOMBO, March 26, 2008 (AFP) A roadside blast in Sri Lanka's restive eastern region on Wednesday killed two policemen while fighting in the north left at least 19 rebels and one soldier dead, the government said... Back to the top

Two Sri Lanka police killed escorting Japanese, 26 march. COLOMBO, March 26 (Reuters) - Two Sri Lankan police were killed on Wednesday while escorting Japanese aid workers and three civilians were killed in crossfire between the military and Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

Sri Lanka beats West Indies by 121 runs for first test win in Caribbean
Associated Press, Wed March 26, 2008 17:46 EDT . CRAIG COZIER - Associated Press Writer - GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) Chaminda Vaas took five for 61 to lead Sri Lanka - to an historic first win in the Caribbean, defeating West Indies by 121 runs with 6.4 overs left in the opening test on Wednesday... Back to the top

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