Sri Lanka rejects evidence tampering in massacre probe

Aug 3, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka on Friday rejected charges that it had tampered with evidence in the investigations into the massacre of 17 workers employed by a French charity. The fighting raged despite a Norwegian-arranged truce which is monitored by independent observers. The government said that an Australian expert who raised doubts about the probe had withdrawn his initial report which alleged that two types of bullets were found lodged in victims of the August 2006 massacre.

Australian expert Malcolm Dodd told Colombo Friday that eight bullets recovered from seven bodies during tests in October 2006 were of 7.62 mm calibre, Disaster Management minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said.

Dodd’s initial report was taken up by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) which said that a 5.56 calibre bullet was removed and substituted with another type in evidence submitted to local magistrates.

“Dodd admitted he made a mistake in his earlier report and we admire him for being honest with it,” Samarasinghe told reporters here.

Sri Lanka invited Dodd to be present during the second post-mortem to share his forensic experience with local authorities, but Dodd was