OISL should not absolve Colombo from genocidal crimes: survivor of Mirusuvil massacre[TamilNet, Saturday, 11 July 2015, 13:52 GMT]
The United Nations should not commit – once more – a crime against humanity in the case of Eezham Tamils by absolving the Sri Lankan State from the ultimate crime of genocide through facilitating escape routes to Colombo through the OHCHR at Geneva and the Office of the General-Secretary of the United Nations at New York, Ponnuthurai Maheswaran, who is the sole survivor and prime witness of Mirusuvil massacre case, told TamilNet this week in Jaffna. Mr Maheswaran had narrowly escaped from his killers on 19 December 2000 at the age of 21 at Mirusuvil where he witnessed 8 of his close relatives being tortured and killed by a killer squad of the occupying Sri Lanka Army. Although he had identified several soldiers directly involved in the massacre in the identification parades, all of them, except one, have been absolved of the crime by Colombo's justice system.
Categorically stating that the massacre he witnessed at Mirusuvil was a genocidal crime, which was carried out by several soldiers, who functioned as a team, Maheswaran blamed Colombo's justice system for protecting the multiple perpetrators directly involved in the genocidal crime by selectively punishing only one of the soldiers, Staff Sergeant Sunil Rathnayake, who was one among those identified by him.
"You can imagine yourselves the kind of 'symbolic' justice one could expect from a domestic investigation for the genocidal crime of massacring thousands of civilians in Vanni in 2009 when you see how the investigations on our case of the massacre of 8 civilians, has been carried out throughout the past 15 years," Mr Maheswaran, now a father of three, told TamilNet.
Maheswaran refused to be photographed as he feared reprisals from the sections of Sri Lankan military and the extremist Sinhala Buddhists now involved in the campaign against the judgement in which the Colombo High Court sentenced Sunil Rthnayake with capital punishment.
Maheswaran, a hard worker, is running a timber depot in his struggle to look after his family. He is living at a village situated far away from Mirusuvil.
"If Mahesaran had not survived the massacre, there would have been nobody to record what had happened to our beloved ones who were slain on that fateful day," his mother says. "But, he is all what I got," Maheswaran's mother was pleading to avoid media focus on her son and his family, saying her family had gone through enough suffering already and there is no guarantee of a future where they could live without the fear of 'white vans' coming after them.
The people at the village, where Maheswaran is residing now, don't know his background. Maheswaran says he intentionally avoided telling the neighbours and villagers of what he had gone through. "There have been many abductions and killings here at this village. We have been living under constant fear. Even now, we fear reprisals from the military and the Sinhala extremists mobilising against the verdict. Look at the events in South. They are celebrating Rathnayake as a hero who killed Tamil Tigers," Maheswaran said.
25-year-old Uthayakumar Gnanachandran is the son and brother of two victims of Mirusuvil massacre. Uthayakumar was 10-year-old when he lost his father Gnanachandran Kathiran and brother Shanthan Gnanachandran.
Mr Uthayakumar and his family are living at their native village in Mirusuvil North, 200 meters way from the church situated near Mirusuvil junction on A9 highway. A military cantonment of the notorious 512 division of the SLA, recently relocated, is situated near the place, where the massacre took place. The SL military has been accused of illegally seizing the lands to put up the cantonment.
All the families of the 8 victims are languishing without proper livelihood or assistance.
"I have two sisters and two brothers. My mother was pregnant when we lost the two. We named the boy after our father as Gnanakumar. He is fifteen now. We have been languishing without livelihood or any assistance after our father was slain," Mr Uthayakumar says. He is also dependent on firewood cutting daily-wage work as his father.
"There have been no reparations to the victims. We were told that 100,000 rupees was to be given as a minimum assistance to the families that had lost a member in the war. But, we have not received any such assistance. The only monetary help provided to our families was from the EPDP leader and SL Minister at that time, Mr Douglas Devananda, who gave 50,000 rupees to conduct the funerals," Uthayakumar told TamilNet.
"The Sri Lankan justice system will always protect the genocidal culprits. It will never determine the crime as genocidal crime. That is why they only punished a single soldier," Uthayakumar said adding that there were 16 Sinhala soldiers including officers who were involved in the brutal massacre of his father and brother and 6 others.
"We use to visit the site of massacre, the pits where our beloved ones were slain and dumped by the military. Our family members were subjected to a genocidal crime because they were Tamils," Uthayakumar said.
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