President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a 3-member Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to investigate, inquire into and report or take necessary actions on findings of preceding Commissions or Committees appointed to investigate into human rights violations, serious violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and other such offences.
The Extraordinary Gazette notification pertaining to this was issued yesterday (21).
Supreme Court Judge A. H. M. D. Nawaz has been appointed as the Chairman of the Commission. Retired Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernando and retired District Secretary Nimal Abeysiri are the other members.
The Commission is entrusted with following responsibilities:
- Find out whether preceding Commissions of Inquiry and Committees which have been appointed to investigate into human rights violations, have revealed any human rights violations, serious violations of the international humanitarian law and other such serious offences;
- Identify what are the findings of the said Commissions and Committees related to the serious violations of human rights, serious violations of international humanitarian laws and other such offences and whether recommendations have been made on how to deal with the said facts;
- Manner in which those recommendations have been implemented so far in terms of the existing law and what steps need to be taken to implement those recommendations further in line with the present Government policy;
- Overseen of whether action is being taken according to (b) and (c) above
The Commission has the authority to make required inquires and investigations and to present interim reports where it is necessary to the President. All Government officials have been directed to provide required assistance and information when requested by the Commission.
The final report of the Commission should be handed over to the President within 6 months since the date of the appointment of the Commission.
The background to the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry is given in the Gazette. The decision taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to withdraw from co-sponsorship of 40/1 Resolution on Reconciliation, Accountability and Promotion of Human Rights Sri Lanka and its preceding resolutions 30/1 and 41/4 was announced at the 43rd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Even though Sri Lanka withdrew from the co-sponsorship of the aforesaid resolutions, the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka is to continue to work with the United Nations and its Agencies to achieve accountability and human resource development for achieving sustainable peace and reconciliation. The Government is also committed to ensure that, other issues remain will be resolved through democratic and legal processes and to make institutional reforms where necessary to ensure justice and reconciliation.
The Government identifies as a fundamental requirement to pursue a non-aligned foreign policy that protects the sovereignty of Sri Lanka in achieving the objectives stated in the Government Policy Statement.
Since the Commissions and Committees that have been appointed to investigate into alleged violations of human rights and humanitarian laws and have made recommendations, the 3-member Commission is entrusted with the task of investigating them and making recommendations on necessary actions to be taken.