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Kumarapuram massacre remembered 23 years on

Tamils gathered in Jaffna and Kilinochchi today to mark  23 years since the Kumarapuram massacre, when Sri Lankan army corporals went on a murderous rampage through the Trincomalee village, raping and killing 26 Tamils.

The victims included two young girls who were raped before being murdered. 

Survivors of the massacre identified the soldiers, who reportedly screamed "Death to the Tamils", as they drunkenly proceeded towards the village in 1996.

Though six former Sri Lankan army corporals went on trial for the killings in 2016, they were all acquitted of the 101 indictments they each faced. The High Court judge overseeing the case decided the soldiers could not be prosecuted.

In a detailed report, US-based advocacy group PEARL examined the failure of successive governments to ensure justice for the massacre. 

“While Sri Lanka continues to claim that it is capable of domestically prosecuting atrocity crimes without international involvement, the Kumaprapuram case is an illustrative example of the many problems that make it incapable of credibly prosecuting these crimes. These barriers are endemic to every stage of a domestic prosecution of atrocity crimes, particularly those committed by Sri Lankan state security forces against Tamil communities," PEARL’s former Human Rights Director, Dharsha Jegatheeswaran, said in March 2017. 

The victims were remembered today at Kumarapuram in Muthur, by families and survivors.

The Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) also held a memorial in Jaffna.