Sri Lanka — Leading Rights Groups Slam Outcome of 'Trinco 5' Case

7/16/2019

Two leading international human rights groups have slammed the outcome of a case on the murder of five youth in Trincomalee.

A magistrate had last week acquitted all 13 defendants in the execution of five ethnic Tamil students on January 2, 2006, known as the “Trinco Five” case. On July 3, 2019, the magistrate acquitted 12 members of the police Special Task Force (STF) and a police officer due to a “lack of evidence.”

The global notoriety of the Trinco Five killings has made it a test case for the commitment of successive Sri Lankan governments to ensure accountability for grave crimes carried out during the three-decade-long civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

“Sri Lankan authorities have proven unable to obtain justice for the murders of five young people and the resulting cover-up despite the considerable evidence available,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The failure to convict anyone in this emblematic case after 13 years demonstrates the need for a court with international participation that can properly protect victims and witnesses,” he said.

A consensus resolution on transitional justice for Sri Lanka, adopted by the Human Rights Council in October 2015, calls for an accountability mechanism involving international judges, prosecutors, and investigators. Little progress has been made on this or other elements of the resolution.

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