Investigations will begin next week into the human remains exhumed so far from a mass grave in Mullaitivu.

That is to determine the sex and ages of the 40 suspected female LTTE members, whose remains were found from the site near Kokkutuduvai central college.

Forensic archaeologist Prof. Raj Somadeva said a preliminary report would be submitted to courts by 31 December.

After a court hearing yesterday (14), lawyer V.K. Niranjan told the media the JMO informed the judiciary the probe would take place on 21 and 22 of December. “Discussions took place about the excavation to commence in March 2024. The budget required for the next phase of exhumation including digging the road and relaying it by the Road development department was discussed”.

Excavations were suspended after it was found the grave extended across the main road between Mullaitivu and Kokilai.

The first stage of excavation under the supervision of Forensic Expert Vasudeva was suspended on 29 June by the court after ground-penetrating radar (GPR) found the huge mass grave extending along the Kokkilai-Mullaitivu main road.

The accountant of the Mullaitivu secretariat and the officials of the Road Development Authority (RDA) were present during the discussion.

During the discussion held on 29 November at the Mullaitivu court, it was decided that the excavation be restarted from the first of March in 2024.

Mullaitivu Magistrate Dharmalingam Pradeepan scheduled the next hearing to 22 February, the lawyer further said.

When the excavations were suspended on 29 November, at least 40 complete human skeletons had been recovered.

The exhumed remains are suspected to be that of LTTE female cadres. Certain evidence recovered seems to confirm that.

An interim report to the court on the excavations so far will be presented in the court on the 31st of December, forensic archaeologist Prof. Raj Somadeva had said earlier.

“Now we have excavated an area of 3 meters in breadth and 14 meters in length. When we came here the mass grave was quite long and wide. So after removing 40 skeletons, we have to dig at least another 3X2 square meters with a depth of 1.5 meters to take out the remaining skeletons. For that, we estimate 6.63 cubic meters of sand needs to be removed”

When the mass grave was initially found on the 29th of June while laying water pipelines human body parts and bits of clothing, in particular what appeared to be women’s undergarments were found. During subsequent digging identity number plates of LTTE cadres, dog tags, a mini water filter, a watch, and a marker pen along with other artefacts were recovered. They are held under the custody of the court, according to Prof Somadeva.


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