UK government responds to Tamil demands for probe into British mercenary war crimes

The British government has responded to a letter by Tamil diaspora groups calling on the Foreign Office to investigate alleged war crimes committed against Tamils by British mercenaries in Sri Lanka. The government has recommended referring the allegations to a special war crimes unit within the Metropolitan Police. Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth Lord Ahmad responded to the letter which was sent shortly following the publication of Keenie Meenie: The British Mercenaries Who Got Away with War Crimes by Phil Miller.

International justice only option - Tamil civil society on soldier release

The Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) has vehemently condemned the pardoning of a Sri Lankan soldier convicted for massacre of 8 Tamil civilians including a 5-year-old. “The conviction of Sunil Ratnayake was an exception in Sri Lankan judicial history. It is probably to date the only case where an army soldier was convicted for murder of Tamil civilians during war other than the Krishanthy Kumaraswamy case,” the umbrella body said in a statement on Saturday. “We trust that all concerned will hence forth stop asking the Tamil people to be patient and trust in Sri Lanka's judicial system to...

Global Tamil Forum calls for a consideration of universal jurisdiction

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has released a statement, in response to Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa’s decision to pardon Sunil Ratnayake, an army officer convicted of killing 8 Tamil civilians including children, calling for the international community to consider alternative avenues to justice including the invocation of universal jurisdiction. Ratnayake was convicted in 2015 by the Colombo High Court for the murder of 8 Tamils including children in Mirusuvil in the North and East of Sri Lanka. His was one of the rare convictions of war-time abuses as was touted as an illustration of...

Prisoners' rights group in Sri Lanka to challenge pardon of Sri Lankan soldier

The Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners (CPRP) announced it plans to file a legal challenge of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa's presidential pardon of Sunil Ratnayake, at Sri Lanka's Supreme Court. Ratnayake, a soldier who was convicted for the massacre of eight Tamil civilians in 2000 and sentenced to death in 2015, was pardoned by the Sri Lankan president this week. As reported by FT.lk, CPRP Chairman Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera said: We want to know from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on what grounds he pardoned Sunil Ratnayake. His death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court and there...

Civil Society urge Sri Lankan prisoner releases amidst COVID-19 pandemic

A wide cross-section of civil society in Sri Lanka and the North-East has called for the reduction of numbers of prisoners through releases and called on the authorities to implement better hygiene standards in prisons on the island in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. A letter from civil society organisations published on March 26 was addressed to Sri Lanka's President, Minister of Justice, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Commissioner General of Prisons, President of the Bar Association and copied to among others, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. The letter followed an earlier...

Justice Undone for Massacre Victims - HRW

Human Rights Watch has released a statement condemning the presidential pardon of former Sgt. Sunil Ratnayake, who was convicted for massacring 8 Tamil civilians including children.

Sri Lanka may be granted debt relief

(Photo Credit: World Bank) Following Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's call for debt relief, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have called on bilateral creditors to suspend debts from International Development Association (IDA) countries, which may benefit Sri Lanka. The Daily Mirror reports that Sri Lanka is likely to be eligible for bilateral debt relief as it has recently transitioned from an IDA status to an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) status, akin to Bolivia and Vietnam. Although Sri Lanka formally transitioned in 2017, it...

PEARL calls for international justice following pardon of soldier convicted of massacre

The pardoning of a Sri Lankan soldier found guilty of massacring Tamil civilians has proven the necessity for an international justice mechanism, said PEARL, the US-based advocacy group. The soldier, Sunil Rathnayake’s guilt “is undisputed”, the organisation said in a statement on Friday. “Several other credible suspects were not even charged, in one of many examples of the domestic justice system’s failure to effectively investigate and prosecute crimes against Tamils.” “This development is disappointing, but not surprising. Even on the rare occasion that Sri Lanka takes action against its...

Families of disappeared urge UN to back referendum following Rathnayake release

The families of disappeared expressed their deep concern at the “lack of justice in Sri Lanka as it fails to imprison murderers,” following the news that Sunil Rathnayake was released. The former Staff Sergeant of the Sri Lankan Army, was given a presidential pardon yesterday and released from Welikada prison, despite being convicted after a 13 year trial for the murder of eight Tamil civilians in Mirusuvil in April 2001.

Presidential pardon of former army officer a 'blow to the victims' says ICJ

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) condemned the Presidential pardon granted to Sunil Ratnayake, Former Staff Sergeant of the Sri Lankan Army, for the murder of eight Tamil civilians in Mirusuvil in April 2001. "The full pardon and extinguishment of serious punishment constitutes a blow to the victims of these violations," the ICJ said in a press release. "The prosecution of staff Sergeant Ratnayake for his involvement in the killing of civilians, including children, at Mirusuvil was a rare exception to the usual lack of accountability for human rights violations committed during...

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