Sri Lanka: Allegation of Mass Grave of About 400 Bodies – No Investigations


Urgent Appeal Case: UA980825
ISSUES: Enforced disappearances and abductions,

Former Lance Corporal Somaratne Rajapakse has received severe injuries after being attacked by his prison guards at Colombo’s Welikade jail for alleging revealing the existence of a mass grave in the northern Jaffna peninsula according to the AFP report dated 23 August 1998.

A former soldier, he revealed in July 1998, that there is a mass grave in Jaffna peninsula. In July, Rajapakse and four other soldiers were sentenced to death by a civilian court for the rape and murder of a teenage schoolgirl, Kirishanthy Kumaraswamy at an army checkpoint in Jaffna town.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The government promised investigations of the mass graves and the National Human Rights Commission (a statutory body) was expected to investigate the matter. However there had been no real attept so far to dig the grave and to have forensic investigations. Instead, according to an the complainant has been assulted and brought to hospital.

Meanwhile, a military inquiry has been launched and the Sri Lanka army has sealed off the area. There are fears that the army may destroy the evidence. There is no information on whether independent international experts will participate in the investigation.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Unless there is international pressurre the investigation into the mass grave in unlikely. Please send letters, faxes and emails to:

G. P. S de Silva Honourable Chief Justice of Sri Lanka Office of the Chief Justice The Supreme Court Complex Colombo, Sri Lanka Fax: 94-1- 437-534 94-1- 437-530

Chairman National Human Rights Commission

Suggested letter/faxes

Re. Reports on the Mass Grave in Jaffna- Sri Lanka

The subject of a mass grave in Jaffna- Sri Lanka, in July 1988. At the time the government of Sri Lanka promised to investigate the matter and it was expected that the National Human Rights Commission would be under taking this matter. However, up to date there are no reports of such an investigation. Sri Lanka, may follow the example of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission which is condulting investigations into a mass grave in Sumatra. As the disapperances in Sri Lanka remain a matter of serious concern to the international community , we urge you to take suitable action to investigate this matter and to provide protection to the persons who give information about these matters.

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA980825
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Enforced disappearances and abductions,