Court seeks Chemmani report

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 28 August 2002, 14:42 GMT]
The Colombo Chief Magistrate has directed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to submit on November 26 a full report regarding the investigation into the mass graves at Chemmani. The court issued the directive when the case against six Sri Lanka Army suspects held in connection with the Chemmani graves was taken up for inquiry Tuesday.

The CID submitted that the full report of the Chemmani mass grave investigation has been forwarded to the Attorney General seeking his advice. The CID official who appeared on behalf of the prosecution further told court that he had not received the DNA report on the human skeletons exhumed from the Chemmani mass grave. The CID is yet to receive the Government Analyst's report also, he said.

The Chief Magistrate thereafter directed the CID to furnish the full report on the Chemmani mass grave investigation in court on November 26.

The existence of the Chemmani mass grave in Jaffna came to light in 1998 when Somaratne Rajapakse, a soldier of the Sri Lanka Army, made the disclosure in courts after being sentenced to death in the Krishanthy Kumarasamy rape and murder case.

He had said that several civilians alleged to have been killed by the SLA were buried in a mass grave at Chemmani in Jaffna and that whilst he had helped bury victims, he had not been responsible for any of them. Thereafter the Missing Persons' Guardians Association took up this matter and launched an agitation demanding full investigation.

The then People's Alliance (PA) government came under considerable pressure from local and international human rights group and ordered full investigation into the mass graves. Later several human skeletons were exhumed in the presence of a judicial officer, forensic experts and international human rights activists.

The case has dragged on for several years, held up by bureaucratic delays and, according to rights activists, foot dragging by the government.


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