CoI's murder inquiries lack transparency, fall short of international norms- IIGEP

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 11:49 GMT]
In a public statement made by the International Independant Group of Eminent Persons (IIEGP), monitoring Sri Lanka's Commission of Inquiries (CoI's) investigation into the killing of the 17 Action Contre La Faim aid workers in Muttur and the killing of 5 youths in Trincomalee, the IIEGP said the CoI's work "lacks transparency," and the process "falls short of international norms and standards."

"[T]he persistent disregard for its [IIGEP's] observations and recommendations, by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Commission of Inquiry, tends to render the IIGEP’s continued role irrelevant. With the Commission’s mandate extension and the imminent start of public inquiries, the IIGEP urges the Commission and the Government to take immediate steps for implementing corrective action," concluded the IIGEP.

"Since the Commission commenced in-camera investigation sessions in May 2007, the IIGEP or their representatives have attended 76 sessions (up to 12 November 2007) of the two cases under investigation, namely the killing of the 17 Action Contre La Faim aid workers in Muttur in early August 2006 and the killing of 5 youths in Trincomalee on 02 January 2006," the statement said.

The statement added: "IIGEP further notes shortcomings in the following areas pertaining to the conduct of investigations by the Commission: the failure of the Commission to effectively probe the failings of the original police investigations into the cases under consideration as well as the difficulties encountered by the Commission in securing cooperation and disclosure of information from state officials and other persons."

The IIGEP consists of the following 11 Eminent Persons: Justice P.N. Bhagwati (India) (Chairman), Judge Jean-Pierre Cot (France), Mr. Marzuki Darusman (Indonesia), Mr. Arthur E. “Gene” Dewey (USA), Prof. Cees Fasseur (Netherlands), Dr. Kamal Hossain (Bangladesh), Prof. Bruce Matthews (Canada), Mr. Andreas Mavrommatis (Cyprus), Prof. Sir Nigel Rodley (UK), Prof. Ivan Shearer (Australia) and Prof. Yozo Yokota (Japan).

In response, the CoI said IIGEP's observations are "prejudicial to ongoing investigations and inquiries of the Commission of Inquiry," and that "the opening of the Statement that “IIGEP reports no indications of implementation of its recommended corrective actions and lays down minimum conditions for the success of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry’s impending public inquiries” is without any basis and contrary to the facts."

Cricizing the lack of IIGEP's participation in the proceedings, not withstanding the attendance during 76 sessions, COI said, "the IIGEP’s attempt to observe (without a continued and uninterrupted presence of at least one member of the IIGEP) the working of the COI does not do justice to the functions entrusted to them by the Presidential Invitation and accepted by the IIGEP."

CoI in the response added, "The observation by the IIGEP that there has been no full and timely disclosure by COI is not acceptable. In fact COI has taken every possible step to ensure that such full and timely disclosure has been made and the COI invites members of the IIGEP to be present at investigations on a continuous basis in order to observe such full and timely disclosure."


Related Articles:
10.03.07   Aid workers massacre probe flawed- ICJ
15.02.06   Remembrance day for slain students held in Trincomalee


External Links:
IIGEP: Terms of Reference for IIGEP
CPA: Policy brief on IIGEP
IIGEP: Public statements from IIGEP


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