IIGEP quits Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 March 2008, 08:25 GMT]
The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), headed by P N Bhagwati, former Indian Chief Justice, has decided to terminate its operations in Sri Lanka, according to a statement issued by the IIGEP on Thursday. "The IIGEP is of the opinion that there has not been the minimum level of trust necessary for the success of the work of the commission and the IIGEP," an AFP report has quoted a statement by the IIGEP. The move is viewed as serious diplomatic blow for Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had invited the group, after International pressure, to monitor his Commission of Inquiry (CoI), set up to investigate and inquire into serious violations of Human Rights.

The IIGEP has taken this decision "after due consideration and for fundamental reasons," the group said in a statement issued to media.

“The IIGEP does not see how its continued engagement with the process could change this situation."

The IIGEP that has been monitoring the CoI's investigation into the killing of the 17 Action Contre La Faim aid workers in Moothoor and the killing of 5 youths in Trincomalee and have repeatedly stated that the CoI's work "lacks transparency," and the process "falls short of international norms and standards."

On 04 September, 2006, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa had announced that his government would "invite an international independent commission to probe abductions, disappearances and extra-judicial killings."

Within two days of his announcement, he deviated from the claim and said, on 06 September, 2006, that he would invite an International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) to act as observers of the activities of the Commission [consisting of Sri Lanka nationals] which will investigate alleged abductions, disappearances and extra judicial killings.

Rights groups, such as Amnesty International, have criticized from the very beginning that the Commission of Inquiries (CoI) lacked credibility and confidence of parties to the conflict and sections of the society to be able to conduct meaningful investigations, obtain critical testimony or information from witnesses and gain the acceptance of its recommendations by all relevant parties.

Related Articles:
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19.09.07   SL President's Commission of Inquiry fails - IIGEP
14.06.07   IIGEP questions role of AG's department in Commission
11.06.07   IIGEP faults Commission of lacking Independence, Timeliness
23.11.06   Presidential powers can undermine CoI- Amnesty



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