Three seized over UN lawyer's death

By JOSH KRON, NATION Correspondent

KIGALI, Rwanda, 

Nearly one month after the death of a

high-ranking United Nations lawyer, the arrest

of three men in Arusha,

Tanzania hopes to shed light on

inconsistent claims he died of natural causes.

Few pieces of information have been

collected on the last hours of

Shyamlal Rajapaksa's life, a prosecuting lawyer

for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,

in Arusha, Tanzania, leading police investigators

and the United Nations to backtrack

and backtrack again on how he died.

At different times throughout the investigations,

police and other officials have claimed

Mr Rajapaksa died of drug overdoses, murder,

and most recently, a natural causes.

"He died of a stroke," says Bocar Sy, a information

officer for the ICTR in Arusha.

"What caused that?

We don't know.

We don't yet have access to the final

medical report."

But the police aren't so sure.

The subsequent arrest of three men last week

hopes to clarify his last moments.

"We're still looking for more clues on the death.

It's only after investigations are complete that

we can conclusively say what killed him,"

Arusha police commander Matei Basilio said.

Mr Rajapaksa was found dead in his living room,

face-down in a pool of his own blood on

the morning of August 11, by a housemaid.

Police collected samples of narcotics from the room

that initial reports said he was taking

with two men the night before.

Police first said he had likely died of a drug overdose,

and a search was on for his companions,

who, a resident guard said, had never been

there before.

Two weeks ago, the United Nations and

police officials claimed that Mr Rajapaksa,

a nephew of Sri Lanka' Prime Minister

Mahinda Rajapaksa, was murdered,

possibly by the two unknown assailants.

The United Nations backtracked last Monday

on the details, saying instead he had died

of natural causes.

They said it was conclusive.

No reason was given for the reversal.

As for the two people he was with the night

before he died, there had been no trace of them,

until they, and another were taken into custody

last Thursday.

Their identifications remain undisclosed.

Police say they are still awaiting results from

the forensics test in Dar es Salaam to tell, exactly,

how Mr. Rajapaska died, but his family

says little weight should be given to those words.

Mr Rajapaska's mother has told media in Tanzania

and Sri Lanka that her son was murdered

over a report he was allegedly writing

on the Rwandan genocide, and that

the United Nations is behind a cover-up.

Link here

             J-L K.
Procurement Consultant
Gsm:    (250) (0) 78-847-0205 (Mtn Rwanda)
Gsm:    (250) (0) 75-079-9819 (Rwandatel)
Home:  (250) (0) 25-510-4140
    P.O. Box 3867
  Kigali - RWANDA
    East AFRICA
Blog: http://cepgl.blogspot.com
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