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Report: Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into Political Victimisation and attempts to deny Sri Lankan opposition politicians of their civic rights

Image: Screen shot of JVP video

A little over a month after the Presidential election, in January 2020 a Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into Political Victimisation, chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge Upali Abeyratne and comprising of retired Court of Appeal Judge Chandrasiri Jayathilake and former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandra Fernando, was appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapakse. The PCoI was mandated “to inquire into and obtain information in respect of the alleged political victimization during the period commencing 8th January 2015 and ending 16th November 2019.”1 16th November 2019 being the day of the Presidential election. The PCoI functioned from 9th January 2020 to 25th November 2020. Its report was submitted to the President on 08 December 2020. The report has not been officially published, has not been tabled in Parliament, but is in the public domain.2

Following the submission of the report, a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry has been appointed to recommend, inter alia, whether civic disability should be imposed on Opposition politicians, senior lawyers, senior administrators and senior Police officers named by the PCoI. If so recommended, the Government has the requisite two-thirds majority in Parliament to impose such civic disability for a period upto seven years.

Recommendations made by the PCoI in regard to the discontinuance of pending criminal proeceedings and the acquittal and discharge of accused including the release of a politician close to the Rajapakse family who was convicted of unlawful assembly and murder and sentenced to death will be dealt with another note to follow.

Read the full report as a PDF:Note on Serious Political Victimisation by PCoI and Special PCoI in Sri Lanka Advanced copy Feb 2021

1 Extra Ordinary Gazette No. 2157/44 (9 January 2020) http://www.documents.gov.lk/files/egz/2020/1/2157-44_E.pdf

2 As at 20th February 2021.

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