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Sri Lanka: Action Contre le Faim report on the Muttur masscre of aid workers

4 December 2013

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Execuitive summary

On 4th August 2006, 17 humanitarian aid workers of Action contre la Faim (ACF) were brutally assassinated in the Sri Lankan town of Muttur – the aid workers were lined up and summarily executed on the organisation’s premises. The Muttur massacre is one of the most atrocious war crimes ever committed against humanitarian personnel.

ACF has closely followed the domestic investigation only to become convinced that the Sri Lankan justice system is incapable of investigating the case. Several domestic mechanisms dealing with the Muttur massacre arrived at no conclusion: the Magistrate Court (from 2006 to 2008), the National Commission of Human Rights (from 2006 to 2008), the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) (from 2007 to 2010) and the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (from 2010 to 2012).

Meanwhile, a lot of information has leaked into the public domain, including the names of the alleged murderers. ACF has also collected information which reveals that the 17 humanitarian aid workers were likely assassinated by members of Sri Lankan security forces and the criminals must have been covered up by Sri Lankan top authorities.

This report brings together publicly available information on the Muttur case, combines this with information obtained by ACF directly (from witnesses, diplomatic contacts and other sources close to the matter) and offers several arguments in support of this allegation. The report begins with the results of independent investigations and individual testimonies which implicate Army, Navy and Police personnel in the killings and continues with a description of how the security forces attempted to destroy the evidence in the days immediately after the massacre. The report then explores the multiple irregularities of the official investigation which have helped the killers avoid justice and the role that the top Sri Lankan authorities have played in providing impunity.

Facing growing pressure by the international community for an effective investigation, Sri Lankan authorities are attempting to deflect public attention by claiming that another investigation into the Muttur massacre has been opened. However, deliberate subversion of the investigative process over the past 7 years and continuous harassment of witnesses and journalists who have raised the case have demonstrated that no effective legal action can be taken in today’s Sri Lanka in relation to the Muttur massacre. ACF believes that only an independent international investigation can effectively lead to prosecution of the killers.

With no prospects of an effective domestic investigation today, ACF has decided to publicly say what it knows about the Muttur massacre

READ THE FULL REPORT (Click on the cover image to download document)

JUSTICE FOR MUTTUR: The truth about the assassination of 17 aid workers in Sri Lanka
a report by Action contre la Faim (ACF) | December 2013