The Sunday Leader

Experts To Seek Fair Probe

By Easwaran Rutnam

The Chairman of the three-member Advisory Council appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week to the Commission of Inquiry on Missing Persons, which has now been tasked to investigate alleged war crimes, says he will look to ensure the investigation is conducted in a fair manner.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed Sir Desmond de Silva as the Chairman of the Commission while Sir Geoffrey Nice and Professor David Crane are the others experts in the Advisory Council.

“I am deeply honoured to be appointed to play a part in a most important process. I very much hope that my colleagues and I could help to ensure a fair and just approach to the matters that fall for investigation,” Sir Desmond de Silva told The Sunday Leader in a short email.

Sir Desmond de Silva is a prominent British lawyer and former United Nations Chief War Crimes Prosecutor in Sierra Leone.

In July 2010 he was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate Israel’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla in international waters that led to 9 deaths while in 2014 he was Chairman of an Inquiry into torture and executions of detainees in Syria. Chairman of the Missing Persons Commission Maxwell Paranagama told The Sunday Leader that the experts were appointed on a request made by the Commission.

The term of the Commission ends next month but Paranagama says he has now written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking another six-month extension. The term of the Commission, which was appointed in August last year, ended last February but was extended by six months which ends next month.

“Apart from our task to look into missing persons we will also now investigate alleged abuses committed during the war,” Paranagama said.

Asked if a meeting has been scheduled between him and the three experts anytime soon, Paranagama said so far he has not been informed of such a meeting. In a Gazette notification, President’s Secretary Lalith Weerathunga said that the President is of the opinion that the Commission of Inquiry should have the benefit of the advice of distinguished international experts, whose internationally recognized expertise and experience encompasses legal and other relevant dimensions of the matters covered in the mandate of the Commission.

3 Comments for “Experts To Seek Fair Probe”

  1. gamarala

    Already Sir Desmond has said in a UK meeting that “killing 50,000 tamils to liberate 300,000 tamils from the LTTE” is not a war crime.

  2. marcus fernando

    WHY SO LATE

  3. fawzan

    This is a card played by MR to continue to fool the world and undermined UNHRC impartial investigation. This regime is not used to impartiality and leaders are shivering by “impartiality” concept. They knew how they contribute to the war crime and hence continue to hinder UNHRC investigation.

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