Ariyalai skeleton find may lead to more human graves - Judge

[TamilNet, Saturday, 05 July 2003, 11:45 GMT]
Jaffna High Court Judge, R.T.Wignarajah, Friday visited the site in Ariyalai Nedunkulam junction, west of Jaffna-Kandy road, where human remains were found recently, and said that there is visible evidence of the existence of three more human graves in the same area, local reports from Jaffna said.

Members of Halo Trust who are clearing mines in Ariyalai area recently discovered human skeletons near Nedunkulam junction. Jaffna Police on notification of these findings informed the Jaffna High Courts of the matter. Jaffna High Court, led by Judge Wignarajah, is setting up the procedures to conduct the investigations.

Director of Halo Trust who accompanied the Judge on the site visit informed the Judge that they will need approximately two weeks to clear the area of mines for the investigations on the additional graves to proceed.

The Judge then directed the Jaffn Police to inform the Forensic expert from Galle General Hospital, Dr. Ruwanpura, the details of the schedule and to inform the Courts the date excavations can begin, local press reported.

Human rights activists and civil society members say that the Ariyalai graves may be connected to the mass graves discovered in Chemmani which is in close proximity to Ariyalai.

Amnesty International said in 1997 that as many as 600 people who "disappeared" in the Jaffna peninsula after the Sri Lankan Army moved into the area in 1996, "died under torture or been deliberately killed." A soldier involved in the crimes alleged that Chemmani was where bodies of those disappeared were clandestinely buried. However, the Chemmani mass grave investigation has become a victim of the judicial limbo common in Sri Lanka when powerful interests are implicated. Ethnic politics and the fallout of an active war have also contributed to the lack of forward movement in the case.

 

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