Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
Former Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, Ministers Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan (Karuna) and Douglas Devananda would be summoned for inquiry if there is concrete evidence against them, over missing persons in the North and East, as claimed by the complainants, the Presidential Commission on Disappearances said.
This was in response to a Ceylon Today query about Tamil media claiming there were complaints, made to the commission, against these politicians.
Chairman of the Commission, Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama, admitted to Ceylon Today there were complaints against them. He said, “If there is concrete evidence against these politicians, they would be summoned for inquiry.”
The Chairman, a retired High Court Judge, said inquiries into disappearances will need a separate team to investigate the claims where there is concrete evidence on what happened to the missing persons and the Attorney General would act on the Commission’s final report.
He said, “If there is concrete evidence on who was behind the abductions and disappearances, they would be summoned for inquiries when the final report on investigations to be carried out is ready,” and added that there were different claims in the North and East, with some pointing the finger at politicians and the military, while others pointed at the LTTE.
Paranagama said they are in the process of listing all the complaints and then will sort out the claims after which the investigation would begin.
He also said the State Counsel, appointed to the commission, also questions the complainants and the final report on war crimes with the concrete evidences will be taken for investigation.
The Commission is at the moment sending complaints that need investigation to the Attorney’s General Department, he said, adding there would be cases, with concrete evidence of some surrendering to the Forces during the last phase of the war. Those too were being submitted to the AG for further investigation.
“We have not yet sorted the list as we are progressing with the preliminary round and had only held five sittings, in Kilinochchi, Jaffna, Batticaloa and Mullaitivu,” he said.
Paranagama also said the Commission began sittings last August and has to end by this August, but it needs more time to complete the process as there are fresh complaints reaching their office.
“So far around 750 odd complaints have been dealt with, while there are about 19,000 (exceeding now) complaints left for inquiries and we may have to go back to Jaffna and other places for another two to three rounds of inquiries. The Commission will also travel to Mannar, Trincomalee, Siyambalanduwa, Welioya and Vavuniya in the future to hold inquiries on missing persons.
He said every complaint is in the file and the file will not be closed till definite conclusions are reached.
He also said the final report would be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and he would decide whether to go public with it or not. He said there are 5,600 complaints by the parents of personnel in the three Forces about their sons gone missing.