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'Collapse of Joseph Pararajasingham murder case a failure of justice' - Amnesty International

Amnesty International called the acquittal of Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, alias Pillayan, over the assassination of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP a "failure of justice". 

The rights group responded to the decision by Sri Lanka's Attorney General Department to drop the charges against the suspects involved in the murder of Joseph Pararajasingham:

" The collapse of this case marks yet another sorry milestone in the Sri Lankan authorities' continued failure to ensure justice for crimes committed during the armed conflict. The Attorney General's Office has not indicated any interest in re-opening the investigation into the murder," David Griffiths, Director of the Office of the Secretary General at Amnesty International said.

"Those aligned wih the state must not continue to enjoy impunity for historic abuses. Without accountability, Sri Lanka will never be able to turnn the page on this dark chapter. The authorities must immediately launch a new thorough, effective and impartial criminal investigation and bring those responsible for Joseph Pararajasingham's murder to justice," he added. 

However, given the repeated failures of past domestic accountability mechanisms, we are not holding our breath. The international community must step up to end the cycle of impunity and advance accountability for human rights violations in Sri Lanka."

Pillayan, leader of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), a government-aligned paramilitary group is accused of killing Pararajasingham. Pararajasingham was shot dead on Christmas Day 2005 as he was attending midnight mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Batticaloa. Pararajasingham's wife, Sagunum, was severely wounded alongside seven other civilians who were injured in the ambush. 

Amnesty International has called on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to "launch a new process or mechanism to pursue the objectives of resolution 30/1" at the upcoming session in March.

Last year, Sri Lanka wiithdrew from its commitments to resolution 30/1 which it co-sponsored in 2015 to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights. The Rajapaksa regime have stated that they will pursue accountability through a domestic mechanism.

In the past, domestic mechanisms have failed to ensure justice and accountability, Since Gotabaya Rajapaksa took office as Sri Lanka's president, he has repeatedly promoted individuals credibly accused of war crimes to senior positions and pledged to protect "war heroes", 


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