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Sri Lanka President appoints commission to investigate missing persons

2013 Aug 15

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa today appointed a three-member committee to investigate the missing persons cases during the three-decade long war.

The Commission to Investigate Missing Persons is tasked with investigating cases of persons from the Northern and Eastern Provinces who went missing during the war.

The Commission is chaired by Attorney Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama and includes Director General of Census and Statistics Priyanthi Suranjana Vidyaratne and former Deputy Legal Draftsman and former member of the Monetary Board of Sri Lanka Manohari Ramanathan.

Both Paranagama and Ms. Ramanathan were members of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, the committee President appointed in May 2010 to report on the lessons to be learnt from the events in the period from 21st February 2002 to 19th May 2009.

The Commission to Investigate Missing Persons has been given the authority to conduct inquiries and investigations necessary, and submit a report to the President within six months.

In President Rajapaksa's instructions to the Commission, he stressed the necessity to identify the person(s) responsible in cases where abductions or disappearances are found to have taken place and to take legal action against those person(s).

The President indicated that the inquiries are being conducted in the interest of public security and wellbeing and in order to determine what measures should be taken to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.

President Rajapaksa has also directed all public officers and other relevant persons to provide their full support and assistance to the Commission to carry out the work.

Sri Lankan government has come under mounting pressure from international community to conduct an independent investigation into the cases of disappearances and abductions during the war.

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