Killing of Five Tamil Students in Trinco Town: Emblematic Case of Impunity

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

A solemn, low key memorial event was held in Trincomalee town on Sunday January 2nd. Relatives and friends laid flowers and lit candles and lamps in memory of five Tamil youths killed in Trincomalee town on Jan 2nd 2006. The incident that happened sixteen years ago for which justice was not done is widely known among human rights circles as the “Trinco – 5” case of Sri Lanka. It is regarded as an emblematic case of impunity. So much so that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Michele Bachelet mentioned the incident under the section on “Impunity in emblemtic cases” in her Annual report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2021.The relevant excerpt is as follows –

“In previous reports to the Human Rights Council, OHCHR has tracked the investigation and prosecution of emblematic cases as a key measure of Sri Lanka’s commitment to ending impunity. These include the killing of five Tamil students in Trincomalee and of 17 humanitarian workers in Muttur in 2006; the assassination of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge in 2009; the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda in 2010; the killing of protestors by army personnel during a demonstration at Weliwerya in August 2013; the anti-Muslim riots in Aluthgama in 2014 and Digana, in 2018, as well as others. Despite investigations over the years by domestic Commissions of Inquiry and the police, and the arrest of some suspects and trials at bar, not a single emblematic case has been brought to a successful conclusion or conviction.”

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