Navy strangulated the Tigers - Commander
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Despite the lack of latest high-tech super vessels the
Sri Lanka Navy according to its Commander Admiral
Wasantha Karannagoda has gone on record asserting that
the SLN succeeded in effectively combating the LTTE
without destroyers and combat ships that are used by
many developed countries at sea battles.
Commander said the newest vessel owned by the SLN was 19
years old while the oldest one was 44 years old. "There
is one gun used in one of the craft that was used during
World War II," he said.
of the SLN boats carry 30mm weapons while the normal
guns used in sea combat is 75mm or larger than that, he
Nevertheless, despite these terrific constraints,
Karannagoda said the navy's constant patrolling of the
seas had prevented top LTTErs, especially Tiger Leader
Velupillai Pirapaharan from escaping from the country.
said the SLN established five security circles around
the country to prevent any Tiger leaders from moving out
and thus paralysed the Sea Tigers completely.
SLN therefore managed to thwart attempts made by the
LTTE on several occasions to smuggle LTTE leaders out of
corroborate his statement, Karannagoda said the SLN was
in possession of photographic evidence as video cameras
with night vision were installed in all navy boats and
According to Karannagoda, it was the destruction of the
weapons-laden ships that reduced the LTTE's fire power
as it tried to conserve its remaining arms and
ammunition. The reduced resistance from the LTTE had
then helped the army to move forward, he said.
Karannagoda insists the combined actions of each armed
force complemented the other during the battle.
Quoting LTTE's Daya Master on the LTTE's sudden fall
back eight months after Madhu, Karannagoda said had been
attributed to the destruction of the LTTE's weapons
have LTTEers who were captured who also say the fallback
was after the ships were destroyed," the Commander
Karannagoda said the LTTE's weapons procurer in the
international market, KP, had called the LTTE on January
15, this year and requested for a period of three months
to send weapons. However, till the end of the war, KP
was unable to send the promised weapons shipment.
to counter the Sea Tigers' dinghy boats, the SLN had
developed its own small craft in Welisara. These small
crafts had then helped the SLN engage in successful sea
battles against the Sea Tigers.
400 Black Tigers, the SLN had managed to eliminate 295
Tigers, Karannagoda said.
CID raids CPC Chairman's offices
By M. Asgar
Criminal Investigations Department (CID) raided the
Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Chairman's offices late on
sensational development, they also questioned the
Secretary of the CPC, Priscilla Samarasingha, who served
under the former Chairman, Ashantha De Mel's tenure.
Documents and a computer from the CPC Secretariat used
during the same period by the former Chairman were taken
into the possession of the CID.
move is believed to have been connected to the
investigations surrounding the "Oil Hedging Contracts"
scenario and the allegations of bribery where public
officials are said to have been improperly induced in
the performance of their duties.
raid commenced late on Friday afternoon at the Rotunda
Towers offices just before the offices closed at
4.20 p.m. and carried on till approximately
placed sources confirmed the action saying that the CID
were focusing on the allegations of impropriety and
fraud and that the investigators were looking for
evidence and information related to the financial
same sources commented that this action was
long-awaited, expected and may well have benefits to the
country though they were unhappy that unlike the former
Chairman who immediately resigned, others have not done
so and continue to be on paid leave at grave cost to the
Attempts to reach Petroleum Ministry Secretary, K.
Ganegala proved futile.
Sunday Leader contacted Karunarathna the former Finance
Manager at the CPC, who confirmed that he was unaware of
this development and that he was still waiting for the
CPC to have an investigation in terms of his continued
Justice in retreat
By R. Wijewardene
the nation celebrated a great victory only a fortnight
ago, a report published by the˜ International Bar
Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) claims
that justice in Sri Lanka is still˜ actively˜ in
International Bar Association, the foremost association
of lawyers in the world voiced its concern that the
country's legal system was under severe threat.
damning 155 page report the association details the
threats faced by lawyers in Sri Lanka and accuses the
state of working deliberately to intimidate lawyers who
do not conform to the government's political agenda.
report singles out a page on the Ministry of Defence
website which implies that lawyers appearing on behalf
of terrorist suspects are linked to terrorist activity
and in its long list of recommendation the report
article entitled 'Who are the human rights violators?'
must be withdrawn from the website of the Ministry of
Defence with immediate effect (It must also be removed
from its archive)."
IBAHR's report states explicitly that lawyers arguing
cases against the state have been subjected to
harassment by the police and concludes that far from
being isolated incidents, attacks against human rights
lawyers "form part of a pattern of intimidation" and
that a "climate of fear had been created among lawyers
in the country."
much as physical intimidation the report argues that the
politicisation of the judiciary poses a threat to the
justice system, and claims that counter terrorist
legislation and emergency regulations have severely
undermined the legal system in Sri Lanka.
report states that every aspect of the legal system in
Sri Lanka has deteriorated severely since 2001 and noted
that political interference and presidential
interference regarding judicial appointments had
undermined confidence in the entire judicial system, as
had the excessive influence of the Chief Justice.To
rectify the situation the report concluded with a long
list of recommendations chief amongst which was the
re-establishment of the Constitutional Council in
accordance with the 17th Amendment.
report also urged that the appointment, transfer,
dismissal or retirement of judges at all levels be
determined by a transparent and accountable system and
called on the government to expedite the police
investigations intoÿthreats and attacks upon lawyers.
Ultimately the report stressed the urgent need for the
government to phase out the Emergency Regulations and
the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which it cites as being
chiefly responsible for the deterioration in the
country's legal environment.
No breakthrough in Lasantha's murder
police are still probing the telephone calls received by
the slain Sunday Leader Editor-in-Chief Lasantha
Wickrematunge but have failed to make any breakthrough
yet. Wickrematunge was brutally assassinated four and a
half months ago while on his way to office at Attidiya
in the high security zone close to the Ratmalana Airport
and the Air Force Base.
four police investigation teams appointed to investigate
into Wickrematunge's murder, have failed to make a
breakthrough for the past four and a half months.
However Police Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekera told
The Sunday Leader that the investigation process has
'progressed' but declined to give details.
police are investigating on the details of the telephone
calls received by Wickrematunge moments before his death
and also the Government Analysts report. The police
teams who conduct the investigations do not wish to give
me the details as in case of an exposure in the media
all their efforts to make a breakthrough could be
I know is that still they are probing to make a
breakthrough at the earliest," the SSP said. However SSP
Gunasekera said that the police are 'waiting' to produce
considerable details of the investigations conducted so
far to the Mt. Lavinia courts at the next hearing date.
The murder trial of Wickrematunge will be taken up on
June 11 at the Magistrate's Court, Mt. Lavinia.
Health authorities issue dengue red
By Nirmala Kannangara
Epidemiological Unit (EU) of the Colombo National
Hospital has advised the general public to get
themselves tested for dengue immediately if they
experience fever, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Pabha
Palihawadena told The Sunday Leader.
Following the recent outbreak of dengue five months
ago, the number of deaths has increased to 85, which is
a two fold increase compared to 2008 according to Dr.
dengue menace is alarmingly on the increase with more
than 6100 patients recorded in the country. Twelve
districts have been recognised as high-risk areas while
Colombo, Gampaha, Kandy, Kurunegala, Trincomalee,
Hambantota and Matale have recorded the most number of
patients. The situation has therefore to be monitored
very carefully," Dr. Palihawadena added.
According to Dr. Palihawadena the increase in deaths was
mainly due to the negligence of patients. He claimed
that unless the general public keeps in mind that they
have to exclude dengue at the first instance when they
experience fever, the number of deaths could further
Epidemiological Unit has advised people to get
themselves tested for dengue the moment they experience
fever. Most people do not heed our advice and delay
taking proper medicine. Delaying to administer the
proper medicine and also neglecting to take the
required rest when infected with dengue, would result in
patients reaching the dengue shock stage, which could be
considered the last stage," Dr. Palihawadena said. He
meanwhile requested patients to go to the nearest
government hospital if diagnosed with dengue and advised
the public not to delay in taking the proper medicine
from a qualified medical doctor.
RSF frowns on media restrictions
Journalists Without Borders (RSF) last week said there
was no reason for the military to impose restrictions on
the media after the war, and expressed its concerns over
the statements made by senior government officials that
journalists who had visited areas controlled by the LTTE
would be prosecuted.
"Reporters Without Borders is extremely worried by
statements by Sri Lankan officials, including Army
Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka, that journalists who
visited areas formerly controlled by the Tamil Tiger
rebels will be prosecuted."
further stated, "The war is over. There is no longer any
reason for the army to impose so many restrictions on
media working in the Tamil areas, including restrictions
on access to refugee camps."
further stated that access to refugee camps and Tamil
areas in general is still severely regulated, preventing
the press from obtaining information about the fate of
the Tamil population . "Journalists and witnesses who
dared to speak out have been intimidated and arrested."
organ-isation added that the press had only managed to
get into these areas during official visits of Sri
Lankan and foreign officials.
"Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for the
release of three Tamil doctors - Thangamuttu
Sathiyamorthi, Thurairaja Varatharajan and V.
Sunmugarajah - arrested for providing the international
media with information about the humanitarian situation
in the Wanni District."
statement also added that the government was in the
process of identifying Tamils who provided information
to the foreign media.
"Reporters Without Borders condemns the way Vavuniya-based
journalist Mahamuni Subramaniam, a stringer for various
news media including Reuters, has been treated. He was
arrested on May 14 while covering the Justice
Minister's visit to the Ramanathan refugee camp."
Access to camps better - UN
By Arthur Wamanan
last week said access to IDP camps in the north still
'needed improvement' following the government's decision
to relax restrictions and that it expects the access
level would improve in the coming days.
Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne at a press briefing last
Friday stated that access to IDP centres had improved
during the latter part of the week but has not been
fully addressed. "There has been progress on access.
Menik Farm is broken into five zones. We have pretty
good access to Zone-4," Buhne said.
Humanitarian agencies last week stated that restrictions
in accessing the IDP sites made their activities more
However, Buhne said that the UN had access to all the
camps and some of the restrictions had been eased. He
said vehicles were allowed into camps during the latter
part of last week and that had improved the situation.
were limitations on vehicle movements. It did have
limitations on our efficiency. However, the restrictions
were relaxed by Wednesday (27)." He said the UN hoped
the access level would improve this week.
ICRC in Geneva had said that the organisation was not
allowed access into the camps. ICRC Spokesperson, Sarasi
Wijeratne however said the distribution process was
subsequently carried out for 2350 families.
Will never know final body count -
Under Secretary General John Holmes has said the world
will probably never find out how many innocent civilians
died during the bloody final phase of Sri Lanka's war
against Tamil Tigers rebels.
has told Reuters in an interview on Friday that it was
unclear how many died in the months before Sri Lanka
declared victory over the LTTE on May 18.
also disputed a death toll reported in The Times of
London that had cited a "UN source" to support an
estimate that at least 20,000 people were killed during
the months-long final siege. "That figure has no status
as far as we're concerned," Holmes has said. "It may be
right, it may be wrong, it may be far too high, and it
may even be too low. But we honestly don't know. We've
always said an investigation would be a good idea."
said it was based on an unofficial and unverified UN
estimate of around 7,000 civilian deaths through the end
of April and added on roughly 1,000 more per day after
that. According to Holmes, there would likely never be a
reliable death toll. "I fear we may (never know),
because I don't know that the government would be
prepared to cooperate with any inquiry," Holmes has
said, adding there was no doubt "several thousand"
civilians had died during the siege.
Referring to reports on aerial photographs showing
evidence of mass graves, Holmes has said the appearance
of makeshift cemeteries was no surprise. "A lot of
people were killed, several thousand, so you would
expect to see a lot of graves there."