SL sets up panel to probe killings

The panel will also investigate into the Lakshman Kadirgamar assassination case, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2006 20:06 IST

The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed an independent commission to investigate select cases of killing, massacre and disappearance, beginning with the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar on August 12, 2005.

He has also appointed an international group of eminent persons to oversee the work of the local commission.

Set up under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, the local panel would be headed by Nissanka Udalagama.

The eight member body will have two Tamils and two Muslims, the Tamils being Devanesan Nesiah and KC Logeswaran and the Muslims being Javed Yusuf and Jezima Ismail.

Among the killings to be investigated are the assassination of Kadirgamar in Colombo, the killing of five high school students in Trincomalee, the execution of 17 workers of the French NGO Action Against Hunger in Mutur, the assassination of the Deputy Director General of the Peace Secretariat, Kethesh Loganathan in Colombo, the killing of 51 Tamil school kids in Sencholai, in Mullaitivu district by aerial bombardment, the massacre of 68 bus passengers in Kebetigollewa in North Central Province, and bombing of 98 unarmed naval personnel in Digapathana.

The disappearance of the Tamil Christian priest Fr Nihal Jim Brown in Kayts island off Jaffna would also be investigated.

The President has also appointed an International Independent Group of Eminent Persons to oversee the work of the local commission.

The international panel will be headed by the former Chief Justice of India PN Bhagwati.

Andres Mauromatis of Cyprus would also be on it.

Other members of the Group of Eminent Persons would be appointed on the recommendation of the governments of Australia, Canada, EU, Japan, Netherlands, UK, US, and UNHCR.

The Sri Lankan Minister for Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe told newsmen here on Monday, that the commission had been given one year to submit its report, though in between, it could submit interim reports.

First Published: Nov 06, 2006 20:06 IST