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USIS Washington File

10 December 1999

Text: Foley Statement on Sri Lanka Report on Mass Grave Investigation

(U.S. commends Sri Lankan Government for conducting investigation)
(430)
"The Department of State commends the fact that on December 6 the
Government of Sri Lanka submitted to a Magistrate in Jaffna its
forensic report on the results of an investigation into a multiple
gravesite at Chemmani in northern Sri Lanka," State Department Deputy
Spokesman James Foley said December 10.
"The Government of Sri Lanka showed courage in conducting a serious,
transparent investigation of alleged abuses committed by its own
forces during an ongoing conflict," Foley said.
"While the Government of Sri Lanka has made an excellent start, we are
hopeful that this week's report will lead to further government
efforts to identify the rest of the remains and prosecute those
responsible for abuses which may have been committed at Chemmani," he
said.
Following is the text of Foley's statement:
(begin text)  
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release
December 10, 1999
99/1107
STATEMENT BY JAMES B. FOLEY, DEPUTY SPOKESMAN
SRI LANKA: REPORT ON MASS GRAVE INVESTIGATION
The Department of State commends the fact that on December 6 the
Government of Sri Lanka submitted to a Magistrate in Jaffna its
forensic report on the results of an investigation into a multiple
gravesite at Chemmani in northern Sri Lanka. The report indicated that
the remains of two of the fifteen bodies discovered at Chemmani in
September 1999 had been identified and that eight of the bodies showed
signs of torture.
The Government of Sri Lanka showed courage in conducting a serious,
transparent investigation of alleged abuses committed by its own
forces during an ongoing conflict. We welcome the government's
decision to invite participation in the investigation by foreign
forensic experts, and international media and observers, including
State Department observers. While the Government of Sri Lanka has made
an excellent start, we are hopeful that this week's report will lead
to further government efforts to identify the rest of the remains and
prosecute those responsible for abuses which may have been committed
at Chemmani.
We also urge the government to fully investigate the fate of some
300-400 civilians who disappeared after the government regained
control of the Jaffna Peninsula in 1995-96, and who still remain
unaccounted for. It is our belief that, ultimately, justice in this
regard will be essential to achieving a lasting peace and creating the
trust that serves as the foundation for any democracy.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State.)



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