Liveblog: Sri Lanka Case Hearing - The People's Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists
The case of Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge was heard at The People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists, organised in partnership with the Center for Justice and Accountability. The hearing was convened on 12 and 13 May in The Hague from 09:00-17:00 on both days. Re-read key highlights and re-watch the livestream below.
To find out more, you can visit the Tribunal website.
© Graciela Rossetto
“The silence of witnesses too afraid to come forward, the fear of retaliation- present a stark example of how devastating the repression in Sri Lanka has been. Lets hope that current events will also change that and empower people to make their voices heard for justice.”
"We also pay tribute to the Al Jazeera journalist and the three Mexican journalists who were killed this week, and who have fallen in the exercise of their profession."
"As a consequence of a lack of sensitivity and knowledge of basic economics, as a consequence of total denial of human rights and tremendous violations of human rights, Rajapaksa's regime has brought this country to its knees." - Dr.Paikasothy Sarvanamuttu, testifying on Day 1 of the Sri Lanka Case Hearnig of The People's Tribunal.
“First it’s for countries to acknowledge that we are in crisis, and that the independence of the media is part & parcel of a society that we endeavour to live in. To talk about it through efforts such as The People's Tribunal and making sure that the world knows what is happening around the world. Second, to think broadly about national and regional accountability mechanisms because it is not possible to achieve domestic accountability."
- Catherine Amirfar, Member of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom
Day 2 of the Sri Lanka Case Hearing of the People's Tribunal on the Murder of Journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge took place on Friday 13 May 2022.
"I consider myself to be a creative protester and i have sacrificed myself to achieve a goal: I seek justice and truth. I am a woman who seeks justice and truth. I am a creative protester, because throughout the acts of protests, i incorporated different cultural and religious aspects into my struggle in order to portray the pain, suffering and vengeance." - Sandhya Eknaligoda on the dissapearance of her husband Prageeth Eknaligoda.
"The abduction of my husband and the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunge are similar in that they were both responsible journalists. The duty and responsibility of any journalist should be bringing to light all crimes and corruption that occur in society. The entire society has a right to know. There has to be free flow of information in our society and these journalists were fulfilling their duties. And the Rajapaksa's destroyed that."
"I feel that I am the most harassed woman in the country."
- Sandhya Eknaligoda provides her witness testimony.
"The Sunday Leader was a place where there was space for divergent viewpoints. It was also published during an extremely difficult period in Sri Lankan history. But no other Southern newsroom had gone through what the Sunday Leader had gone through - not only the loss of property - but thinking about the human cost the Sunday Leader had to bear." -The second witness of Day 2 of the Sri Lanka Case Hearing: Dilrukshi Handunnetti.
"The Sunday Leader was a place where there was space for divergent viewpoints. It was also published during an extremely difficult period in Sri Lankan history. As we all know there were regular threats and attacks. But no other Southern newsroom had gone through what the Sunday Leader had gone through - not only the loss of property, but thinking about the human cost the Sunday Leader had to bear." - The second witness of Day 2 of the Sri Lanka Case Hearing: Dilrukshi Handunnetti.
A cell tower analysis was conducted, in which individuals who were tracking journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge at the crime scene were matched with SIM cards used by individuals identified as members of the Tripoli platoon, commanded by current President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fell.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa was Secretary of Defense at the time of Lasantha's assassination, and therefore implicated in the assassination - in the US civil suit brought by the Tribunal's co-organizer (discontinued to date due to his immunity as head of state).