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13 STF members acquitted of Trinco Five killings

Trincomalee Chief Magistrate, M.Hansa, delivered the verdict today acquitting 13 Special Task Force members who were suspected of executing five Tamil youth whilst they spent an afternoon at Trincomalee beach on 2 January 2006.

Fifteen charges were filed against suspects and they were released due to the lack of evidence.

The case- known as the ‘Trinco 5’- remains one of the highest profile killings in Sri Lanka to receive international attention, listed in 2014 by the then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on the island as one of four ‘emblematic cases’ of the government’s failure to ensure accountability.

In February 2018, then High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein told the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council that the killings were among several on the island that demonstrate ongoing impunity. His report said,

"As mentioned in the previous reports of the High Commissioner, the failure to show major progress in these emblematic cases strengthens the argument for the establishment of a specialized court to deal with the most serious crimes committed by State actors… staffed by specialized personnel and supported by international practitioners.”

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