14 May 2017
A demonstration took place in Pungudutivu on Thursday, with dozens of Tamils protesting against a move to transfer the case of the rape and murder of a Tamil schoolgirl to a court in Colombo, in front of three Sinhala speaking judges.
The rape and murder of schoolgirl Sivaloganathan Vithya set off massive protests across the Tamil North-East, with demands that the perpetrators be held accountable. Two years on, and a trial is yet to begin.
Relatives of the murdered schoolgirl, alongside other locals, protested against an attempt to move the case to Colombo, instead of letting the trial take place in Jaffna, before Tamil speaking judges.
Not only would the transfer of the case mean that judges will have to listen to evidence and testimonies in translation, but it would also mean that “entire non summary inquiries will have to be translated into Tamil leading to further delay in the commencement of the trial” said the protestors.
A letter addressed to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka also added that “the conduct of the case in Colombo would also be in violation of the language rights of the affected party enshrined in the Constitution”.
“But more importantly, the transfer of the case… will greatly affect public confidence in the judiciary,” it added.
See the full text of the letter below.