Sri Lanka court orders burial for mass grave victims

Jan 28, 2008 (AFP) – A Sri Lankan judge Monday ordered the state to carry out dignified burials for 16 people who had been killed execution-style and dumped in shallow graves within a government-controlled part of the island. A magistrate in the area where the bodies were found asked the top district administrator and the police to carry out the burials at the main cemetery in Anuradhapura, 206 kilometres (128 miles) north of here.

The judge, Shivantha Manchanayake, asked police to accord a proper burial for the victims and mark the graves to allow any exhumation that may be necessary later.

Autopsies showed that six of the men had been killed just over two weeks before the discovery of the bodies on Thursday. The other 10 were thought to have been killed a week to 10 days before the gruesome discovery.

The victims had been blindfolded, tied up and shot, officials said, adding that forensic tests would continue to try to establish their identity.

The discovery of the bodies came amid renewed concern over Sri Lanka’s rights record and an increasingly dirty war between troops and Tamil Tiger rebels, both of whom are accused of killing civilians.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have already