The Presidential Commission (PC) to Probe Disappearances commenced its sittings on Saturday (18) in Kilinochchi, ahead of the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council sessions, scheduled for March.
The Commission received oral and documentary submissions from 52 Tamils in Vannerikulam and Aanaivilunthan, in the Killinochchi District, yesterday, the second day of the sittings, the Secretary to the Commission, H.W. Gunadasa, told Ceylon Today. In addition, nine more complaints from the Kilinochchi District were received by the Commission. On the first day of sittings (Saturday) the Commission reviewed nearly 35 complaints, he said.
Ninety (90) additional complaints were registered from Akkaraiyankulam, Skandhapuram and Kannaikaipuram. He said that the Commission had written to the complainants, informing them to be present at the Commission sittings in order to give oral and documentary submissions. He said the newly-registered complaints would be taken up for review and the complainants called to make submissions at a later date.
The Commission will take up complaints from Ponnagar, Malaiyalapuram and Bharthipuram today and complaints from Konavil will be examined on 21 January (Tuesday). The Commission to Probe Disappearances has received a total of 13,000 complaints, including 4,500 from the families of Security Forces personnel.
Gunadasa said that after receiving oral and documentary submissions, the commission will appoint a separate investigative team to probe the submission of evidence, and on the recommendation of the Attorney General’s Department. The investigation team would include four members who would be entrusted to investigate the allegations raised in the submissions.The three-member Presidential Commission appointed in August, 2013 comprises Maxwell Paranagama (Chairman), Suranjana Vidyaratne and Mano Ramanathan.
The mandate of the Commission is to inquire into whether any persons, resident in the Northern and Eastern Provinces during the period 10 June 1990 to 19 May 2009, had been abducted or had disappeared from their places of residence, and evidence in proof of the fact that such persons had been abducted or have disappeared.
The Commission is also entrusted to investigate those so abducted or have disappeared and their present whereabouts; convincing factors or evidence that would help form an idea about the person or persons responsible for the said abduction or disappearances; recommend legal action that could be instituted against the person or persons who are found to be responsible; recommend measures that should be taken to ensure that there will be no recurrence of such acts in the future and if there is any reasonable relief to be granted as an obligation on the part of the government to the parents, spouses and dependents of those alleged to have been so abducted or have disappeared.