Disappearances Commission gets 6-month extension

Friday, 21 February 2014 04:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  •  3-man Commission led by Maxwell Paranagama to sit till 12 August
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has extended the term of a three-man Commission tasked with investigating cases of missing persons in the north and east by six months. With the extension, the Presidential Commission to Investigate Cases of Alleged Disappearances of Persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces will be able to continue its inquiries until 12 August this year, the President’s office announced yesterday. The extension follows a request made by the Commission for more time to complete its inquiries. Several cases have been handed over to the Attorney General’s Department by the Commission for legal action. The Commission was also hoping to build its own team of independent investigators to inquire into specific cases. The three-man Commission has received some 16,000 complaints from all the Districts of the North and East since it commenced work late last year. It has held public sittings in Kilinochchi in January and concluded public sittings in the Jaffna District earlier this month. The three-member Commission is chaired by former High Court Judge Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama and includes Commissioners Priyanthi Suranjana Vidyaratne and Mano Ramanathan. The latter was also a member of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission that was chaired by late Attorney General C.R. De Silva. The Disappearances Commission has been mandated to inquire into and report on alleged abductions or disappearances during the period 10 June 1990 to 19 May 2009. The establishment of the Commission to inquire into disappearances addresses LLRC Recommendation 9.51, the President’s Office said. Enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka remain high on the human rights agenda and is a major challenge for Colombo as it gears up to face the UN Human Rights Council Session next month. Sri Lanka has the highest number of cases of the disappeared in the world, following Iraq. (DB)