A German interest group said that Scientific evidence based on the findings of Beta Analytic Institute of Florida, USA, had determined that the samples of skeletal remains sent from the Mannar mass grave site for carbon dating, goes back to a period between 1499 and 1719 AD, and it was a happy finding for many but not for those trying to pin Sri Lanka on war crime charges.
The statement said experts on the process of carbon dating have now expressed an opinion, which has come as a big relief to many. But, not everybody is happy about the findings of the experts as, perhaps, an opportunity was lost to shout themselves hoarse about alleged “war crimes”, the German Interest Group in Sri Lanka, said in a statement.
“It may be recalled that a section of the local and foreign media spearheaded a high-profile campaign on the Mannar mass grave site. Some Colombo-based diplomats also supported the project, the Group’s spokesman Dr. Dietmar Doering said.
The German Ambassador in Colombo, Joern Rohde was one of the first diplomats to inspect the site on November 27, 2018. He was accompanied by a big group of foreign and local journalists. The German Ambassador’s visit was followed by a British team on December 11, 2018, the statement recounted.
The British visit took place close on the heels of the discovery of two pieces of human bones bound by a cable on Dec 7, 2018. The recovery prompted some ‘experts’, as well as those engaged in excavating the mass grave, to speculate whether some of the people buried there had been tortured before being killed, it said.
The interest shown in the Mannar mass grave site by some countries pushing for full implementation of the Geneva Resolution, co-sponsored by Sri Lanka in October, 2015, strengthened the campaign directed against the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). A section of the Catholic clergy also toed the line that the SLA was to be blamed, the statement further noted.
The damage done to Sri Lanka as a result of the international exposure was considerable, particularly with some Heads of Missions in Sri Lanka, spearheaded by the German envoy, visiting the mass grave site, it said.
Not only in many Western countries, but also in Asia and Australia, the print and electronic media exposure led to speculation that Sri Lanka was again involved in atrocities on a genocidal scale, Mr. Doering said.
Whenever or wherever a head of a foreign mission, particularly from a leading European or Western country is actively involved, the media provides coverage. As a result, the damage caused to the image of a country, particularly on a matter of this nature, is enormous, the statement continued.
The expert opinion on the Mannar mass grave has cleared Sri Lanka of a crime, which had happened during a time period when Western colonial parties had a say in this country, it said.
Sadly, neither the German nor British envoys have so far acknowledged that the Mannar mass grave had nothing to do with Sri Lanka’s recent history, the statement noted.