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Matale court rejects objections

2013 Nov 05

The Matale Magistrate today rejected objections raised to send the skeletal remains found at the Matale mass grave to China for tests, lawyers who appeared in the case said.

Appearing on behalf of the aggrieved party, the lawyers had raised objections to the Court granting approval to a request by the CID to send the skeletal remains to China on the basis that in the past Sri Lanka sought assistance from Commonwealth countries or America for such tests to be carried out.

However the Magistrate rejected the objections and postponed the case to May 2014 while further investigations continue.

Over 150 skeletal remains and human bones had been unearthed from the mass grave in Matale. Forensics had determined that the remains were of those killed sometime in the late 1980′s and the area has now been marked as a crime scene.

At least 10 skeletal remains were first found from the site near the Matale hospital in November last year by construction workers when land near the hospital was being dug-up to construct a new building. Following police investigations excavation work began to look for skeletal remains at the site and more remains were found.

The JVP had demanded that the government carry out investigations on the mass grave following fears the remains maybe that of JVP members or supporters killed during a 1987-89 insurgency.

The UNP, which was in power during the 1987-89 period, said it will back an independent investigation into the mass grave. The UN had also been called to assist in the investigations into the mass grave.

In a written statement submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, ahead of the 22nd session last March, the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a nongovernmental organization, had said that the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances should, through their experts, study the situation and the conduct of inquiries relating to the remains of the 200 or more persons found in Matale and assist the Sri Lankan government to ensure that these inquiries meet international standards. (Colombo Gazette)

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