Wednesday, March 27, 2013 2:44 pm
Sri Lankan mass grave dates back 25 years
The Associated Press
Magistrate Chathurika de Silva told a court in the central town of Matale that tests show the skeletal remains found inside the premises of a government hospital dated to between 1987 and 1990. During that period, thousands of men and women suspected of having ties to the rebels disappeared after being arrested by security forces.
De Silva did not explain the cause of death but declared the mass grave a crime scene.
The military could not be contacted immediately for comment.
Workers found human remains while doing construction on part of the hospital land last December. The skeletons had been buried in neat rows, five or six stacked on top of one another totaling 154.
Claims were made initially that the bodies belonged to those killed in an epidemic in the 1940s or a mudslide. However, hospital authorities did not have any records off bodies buried on the premises.
The Marxist group People's Liberation Front, which led two uprisings, claimed that the bodies may belong to comrades killed by security forces. The bodies of many young men and women arrested by paramilitaries were found burning by the roadside or floating in rivers at the time.
The Marxists were mostly Sinhalese, the country's majority ethnic community.
Sri Lankan forces are also accused of killing scores of civilians and captured rebels at the end of a quarter-century civil war with ethnic minority Tamil separatists.
The United Nations Human Rights Council last week passed a resolution urging Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes allegations against both government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels.