Calculated move by Military to avoid releasing names of surrendered in Mullivaikal ahead UN session in June
With the United Nations (UN) scheduled to discuss the implementation process of last year’s resolution in June, the Sri Lankan army’s 58 Division today informed the Mullaitivu magistrate courts that it needs more time to submit the details of persons who surrendered to the military during the final phases of Eelam war in 2009.
When the case of a Writ of Habeas Corpus was taken up today after postponed twice as military requested in recent months, neither the lawyer representing military’s brigade or the Commanding Officer Major General Chanakya Gunaratna as named in the petition were not presented at the courts.
The courts was told by a representative from the brigade that Major General Chanakya Gunaratna could not attend the court sessions as floods condition in South got worsened and his lawyer was abroad.
Lawyer appearing for the petitioners noted that his clients who are living in far way places from Mullaithivu appeared to the courts while the top military officer gives ‘silly’ reasons to avoid releasing names on time to courts.
Mullaitivu Magistrate M. S. M. Samsudeen ordered the Major General to be present to the courts along with the details of the surrendered on July 14 and warned if he failed, an arrest warrant would be issued to arrest him immediately.
The last time Major General Chanakya Gunaratna appeared before the courts was on February 17 this year where he revealed that there is a list of all those who surrendered to the military and it has been under army’s custody. When he was testified before the courts, he revealed that none of the names mentioned in the Habeas Corpus case were not in the list.
Following a request from the lawyers of the relatives, the magistrate ordered him to submit that list for consideration in the case but the military has been giving excuses to delay it.
A writ of habeas corpus was filed by Northern Provincial Council (NPC) Councillor Ananty Sasitharan and five others, who are still searching for the missing relatives. Ms Sasitharan handed over his husband Sinnathurai Sasitharan alias “Major Ezhilan” who was a senior leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Two catholic priests, who had been summoned by the Army to witness the surrenders and to prepare the lists, too, are missing.
Lawyers and activists noted that this kind of calculated moves to drag the cases for long time has been the practice of the State and this move came ahead of a UN evaluation of Sri Lanka’s implementation process of UN resolution 2015 in coming June.