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Missing Persons Commission: Second Interim Report to MS on Friday

( Waiting for justice: Family members of missing Tamils speaking at a UNHRC side event)

The second interim report of the Presidential Commission to Inquire into Complaints on Missing Persons will be handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday, by Commission Chairman Maxwel Paranagama.

Meanwhile, a highly placed diplomatic source told Daily Mirror the government should present the Paranagama Commission report in Geneva to counter the allegations levelled at the Sri Lanka government and the armed forces personnel by pro-LTTE groups.

Mr. Paranagama said the first interim report was handed over to the President on April, 10 and that the government had taken steps to implement its recommendations.

The three-member Commission appointed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on August 15, 2013 was mandated to Inquire into Complaints on Missing Persons and ascertain their fate, responsibility and whereabouts from 1983 to May 2009 and to ascertain the crimes allegedly committed during the last stages of the war with a view to accountability and responsibility.

“We handed over the First Mandated Interim Report in April and the Second Mandated Interim Report will be handed over to President Sirisena on Friday. It will mainly deal with the issues of the violation of the International Humanitarian Law or War Crimes allegedly committed by both parties and the recommendations to prevent a repetition,” Mr. Paranagama said.

For the second mandate the Commission was advised by a panel of foreign experts including Sir Desmond De Silva.

However, it is learnt that certain groups had petitioned President Sirisena against Sir Desmond De Silva to discredit him and the Paranagama Commission.

The Commission conducted public sittings in Kilinochchi (twice), Jaffna, Mullaitivu (twice), Batticaloa (twice), Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee (twice) and Ampara. The Commission had received in excess of 20,106 complaints inclusive of about 5,200 complaints from the relatives of missing security forces personnel.

The Commission had heard oral evidence on nearly 1,440 complainants during public sittings in Northern and Eastern provinces.

Mr. Paranagama said the suspects named before the Commission during the public hearings had been referred to the Attorney General for appropriate action.

The Commission has said that at least four different groups including Sri Lanka’s security forces and the LTTE were responsible for the disappearances of hundreds of persons during the war against the rebel group.

The interim report reveals that the LTTE was responsible for 60% of the forced disappearances in the North while the security forces were responsible for 30%. Other armed groups had been responsible for the rest.

“Based on the inquiries conducted thus far, accountability and responsibility by these parties vary from district to district,” the report said.

The evidence on these complainants were analyzed for further investigations through an independent investigative team. On reported cases of disappearances and abductions by security forces, the Commission has reported them to the attorney general for appropriate action.

Other members of the Commission are D.B.P. Suranjan Vidyaratne and Mano Ramanathan. (Sandun A Jayasekera)


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