The report on the 2012 Welikada prison riots has been handed over to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to launch fresh criminal investigations into the incident, Minister of Justice, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told the Sunday Observer.
The Committee of Inquiry into the Prison Incident 2012 (CIPI), appointed by Rajapakshe in January this year, to inquire into the 2012 November Welikada prison incident, recommended that a special team of investigators, under the direct command of the IGP, initiate fresh criminal investigations into the incident, with special focus on alleged violations corresponding to torture and matters that constitutes offences under section 162 of the penal Code.
The investigation was recommended with a view to identifying and dealing with public servants who have disobeyed the direction of the law which constitute the offences.
The Committee, headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Wimal Nambuwasam, and comprising retired DIG Asoka Wijetillake, retired administrative official and attorney S.K. Liyanage, handed over its report to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in early June.
Asked whether the content of the report will be made public, Minister Rajapakshe said the recommendations had been made public, but not the contents as it would hamper ongoing or fresh investigations into the incident.
The Sunday Observer learns that CIPI in its 300 paged report has concluded that the search conducted by using Police Special Task Force, which later precipitated the incident, is highly uncalled for and unwarranted, and termed the incident as a gross violation of widely accepted norms and procedures with regard to prisoners.
In its conclusions, CIPI had pointed out that the incident should have ideally been managed by the Prison authorities without seeking outside assistance, as this was their sole responsibility. It is in this context that the CIPI had recommended the Police be exclusively used to discharge their prime role and that the prison authorities independently manage their prime responsibilities.
The Sunday Observer also learns that the CIPI had recommended that the findings of the previous committee appointed in 2012 be totally annulled, as the new findings had revealed apparent conflict of interest due to disclosures by witnesses and other related factors.
by Ranil Wijayapala