Mass graves cover up alleged

[TamilNet, Friday, 31 July 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Mr. M. Sivasithamparam, has appealed to the Human Rights Commission asking that foreign experts should be brought to excavate the mass graves at Chemmani. Between 300 and 400 people who disappeared whilst in military custody in Jaffna are alleged to have been buried in the graves.

The Ministry of Defence said last week that it had advised the Criminal Investigation Department of the Sri Lankan Police to launch investigations into the alleged mass graves.

A statement issued by the Defence Ministry said "the Government is fully committed to safeguarding human lives" and "the due legal process will be observed to bring to book the offenders".

The Human Rights Commission, however, said that there are indications that some interested parties would try to alter the topography of the location of the mass graves to remove clues or traces and urged the Sri Lankan Government to protect the areas of Chemmani.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Jaffna based Tamil daily Uthayan, Major General Sarath Munasinghe of the 51st Division assured the Jaffna public that they need not fear the mass graves at Chemmani would be dug up and the evidence destroyed by the Sri Lanka Army.

He said the SLA's objective was not to destroy evidence and in a cover-up, but help verify the truth.

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