Published on - 8/31/2006
SRI LANKA'S TWO EMINENT and most respected senior lawyers, in a comprehensive legal analysis of the evidence that related to the murder of 17 Aid Workers of the French NGO, Action Against Hunger in Muttur strongly criticize the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) report which held the Security Forces responsible for the killing.
Here is the full analysis;
Sri Lankan lawyers expose Henriccson\'s \"false report\" on the murdered aid workers S. L. Gunasekera and Gomin Dayasiri, two leading lawyers of the Sri Lanka bar have pieced together the available evidence on the murdered 17 aid workers of the French NGO and exposed Major General Ulf Henriccson\'s (outgoing Head of SLMM) accusation that the crime was committed by the Security Forces as \"demonstrably false\". They have dismissed the conclusions of Henriccson as a product of a \"Diseased mind\". Here is the full legal analysis of the evidence presented by the two lawyers.
Henriccson\'s Parting Gift Major General (Retd) Ulf Henricsson\'s parting gift to the LTTE on the eve of his departure from Sri Lanka is a demonstrably false report, which he necessarily knew to be false, that the Security Forces murdered the 17 Aid Workers of the French NGO named Action Against Hunger (ACF). The pivotal questions at issue in respect of this matter are : - a What was the time of death ?
b Who was in control of Muttur Town at the time of death ? According to the Judicial Medical Officer who performed post-mortem examinations on the bodies, the probable time of death was between the night of the 3rd August and the 4th August 2006. According to Henricsson\'s report the ACF office at Trincomalee was in radio contact with the Muttur Office (wherein the 17 deceased were employed) every 30 minutes from the 1st August, and the last contact was at 06.10 hrs on the morning of the 4th August.
Henricsson goes on to say that after 06.10 hrs on the morning of the 4th August all attempts to contact the Muttur Office by radio, mobile phone and fax were in vain. It would thus follow that the murders took place at sometime between 06.10 hrs and 06.40 hrs on the morning of Friday the 4th August 2006.
The overwhelming probabilities would, therefore, be that the murderers were those who were in control of Muttur Town in the early hours of Friday the 4th August. This would be in accord with both the opinion of the JMO and the evidence of the ACF Officers.
Henricsson could not have been unaware of these facts. Accordingly it is evident that Henricsson has sought to make out falsely that the LTTE had vacated Muttur Town \"during the day of Thursday August 3rd bringing the GOSL troops back into town.\" Henricsson has therefore made a strenuous and equally dishonest effort to contend that the Security Forces were in control of Muttur Town from during the day of Thursday August 3rd. Not only is there not an iota of evidence to support this contention, but both the Security Forces and the LTTE are (for once) unanimous in their contentions
that it was the LTTE and not the Security Forces that were in control of Muttur Town during the day of Thursday 3rd and 4th August.
According to the LTTE\'s propaganda machine, namely, TamilNet, the LTTE was in control of Muttur Town from around 02:35 GMT (i.e. about 9.00 p.m.) on the 1st August until midnight on Friday the 4th August (see TamilNet news items of 02:35 GMT on 2.8.06; 19:18 hrs on 2.8.06 and 11:04 GMT on 5.8.06).
Indeed TamilNet (August 5, 2006 11:04 GMT) states \"the Military Spokesman of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Irasaiah Ilanthiayan, told TamilNet that the LTTE troops by midnight Friday, returned to their original positions as per February 22, 2002 Ceasefire Agreement.\" The position of the Security Forces is that they succeeded in regaining control of Muttur Town only in the course of the 5th August 2006. This shows that the LTTE was in control of Muttur Town not only between 06:10 hrs and 06:40 hrs on the morning of Friday the 4th August when the murders would most probably have been committed but throughout at least the entirety of that day.
On what basis then does Henricsson conclude that the Government was in control of Muttur Town from daytime on the 3rd August? He could only have founded that conclusion on the dishonest desire of his diseased mind toinsult and defame the Government of Sri Lanka.
Other evidence of the fact that it was the LTTE and no other which murdered these poor Aid Workers is to be found in no less a source than the LTTE\'s own propaganda organ TamilNet. The ancient Sinhala saying \"Kata boru kiwwath diva boru kiyanna naha\" (i.e. \"even if the mouth lies the tongue does not\") is pertinent in this regard.
TamilNet in its bulletin datelined 14:28 GMT on 5.8.06 states that the Sri Lanka Army had killed 15 Tamil Aid Workers. Their bulletin datelined 07:26 GMT of 8th August 2006 however states that the bodies of these unfortunate people were found by an organization known as The Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies on Sunday, namely the 6th August 2006. How could the LTTE have been aware of these murders more than one day before the discovery of the bodies unless they themselves committed the murders?
These matters, which point the finger of guilt at the LTTE, have obviously not even been considered at best; or considered and ignored at worst by Henricsson. There are only three purported grounds on which Henricsson founds his findings of guilt against the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka in respect of a crime of the most abhorrent nature. The first is the patently false ground that the Security Forces were in control of Muttur Town from during the day on Thursday the 3rd August. The second is his contention that the SLMM was denied access to Muttur by the Armed Forces on both the 5th and 6th August 2006 while journalists were taken there. It is a manifest and undeniable fact that journalists reporting armed conflicts willingly take risks of their own accord as a part of their professional duties to report such conflicts. The Government however, by the Ceasefire Agreement, undertook responsibility for the safety and security of members of the SLMM. In accordance with that duty the Government could not possibly have taken members of the SLMM to this scene of fierce fighting on the day its forces re-entered Muttur or on the following day. Moreover Muttur was at that time, approachable only by sea.
The Navy was then stretched to the maximum and its vessels sailing to Muttur were always at risk of being sunk by terrorist fire from Sampur. How then could any person with a modicum of common sense have expected the Government to do otherwise than to refuse to take members of the SLMM to Muttur on those days? Thus, Henricsson has perversely distorted the responsible act of the Government in fulfilling its obligations under the Ceasefire Agreement to guarantee the safety of the members of the SLMM into a circumstance indicative of guilt in a horrendous crime.
The third limb on which Henricsson purports to found his finding of guilt of the Government is some reports which he says he received from some unnamed and unidentified persons. Clearly no value of whatever nature could be placed on such material to come to a conclusion of guilt of any crime ranging from stealing a slice of bread to murder against any person. Yet this is the type of rubbish on which a retired Major General of the Swedish Army heading a Nordic Monitoring Mission founds a finding of guilt of mass murder against the armed forces of a Sovereign State! He is, indeed, a colossal disgrace to Sweden and the Swedish Army. (Courtesy: Asian Tribune)