WikiLeaks: STF Murdered Trinco Students Basil To US
The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is classified as CONFIDENTIAL and recounts details of a meeting US Ambassador to Colombo has had with President s advisor and brother Basil Rajapaksa on October 4, 2006. The cable was written by the US Ambassador to Colombo, Robert O. Blake.
Under the sub-heading President is Keen on Human Rights Blake wrote Basil told the Ambassador that the President genuinely seeks the help of the Co-chairs, and the US in particular, to improve Sri Lanka s human rights capability by lending experts, assisting with inquiries, and building up the indigenous Human Rights Commission (HRC). The Ambassador agreed that President Rajapaksa and Development and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe have strong reputations as human rights advocates, but noted the UNHCR lacked credibility.
Speaking with surprising candor, Rajapaksa explained the GSL s efforts to prove that members of the Security Task Force (STF) murdered five students in Trincomalee in January: We know the STF did it, but the bullet and gun evidence shows that they did not. They must have separate guns when they want to kill someone. We need forensic experts. We know who did it, but we can t proceed in prosecuting them, the Ambassador further wrote.
Ambassador Blake wrote, He said that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has been sufficiently trained in human rights, but that the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) has been credibly implicated in harassment and human rights violations. We have few complaints in areas of SLA presence, but we have a problem with the SLN, Rajapaksa explained. We did not expect them to work with civilians and they weren t trained. He said the President has prioritised human rights training for the Navy. Rajapaksa added that with a new law requiring that police notify the magistrate before they can detain a suspect for longer than 24 hours, We have minimised harassment by the police.
Placing a comment the Ambassador wrote The Ambassador s first meeting with Basil Rajapaksa sparked a candid response from the Presidential Advisor and laid the foundation for a pragmatic relationship with the embassy. Rajapaksa s frank discussion of the GSL s human rights struggles with its security forces and request for international assistance in human rights capacity building is welcome.