The Presidential Commission to investigate cases of alleged disappearances of persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces during the period 1990 – 2009 concluded its first public sitting in the East yesterday (March 22) with 129 people from Chenkallady, Vakarai and Batticaloa making submissions.
The Commission received 1,289 new complaints during the hearings that took place from March 20 to March 22, 2014. These new complaints were registered by Tamil-speaking staff assigned by the Commission. The Commission’s Secretary Mr. H.W. Gunadasa said the complainants will be given a date to come before the Commission.
Of the total number of approximately 16,000 complaints received by the Commission thus far from all parts of the country, 5,799 have been analyzed and entered into a computerized database and will be scheduled for public hearings. The Commission will launch a website in the near future enabling the public to access information on the Commission’s work.
According to the Commission, of the submissions received so far from hearings in Jaffna and Kilinochchi, several cases have been handed over to the Attorney General’s Department for legal action. If the need arises, the Commission will appoint its own independent investigation team to inquire into specific cases, the Secretary said.
The three-member Commission, comprising Mr. Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama (Chairman), Mrs. Dimingu Badathuruge Priyanthi Suranjana Vidyaratne and Mrs. Mano Ramanathan, has been given the authority to conduct inquiries and investigations necessary, and submit a report to the President.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa extended the mandate of the Commission by another six months until August 2014.
(Photograph by: Gamini Anurasiri Alawala)