The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) on missing persons is collecting written statements related to alleged war crimes and human rights abuses as part of its extended mandate, a spokesman of the Commission said.
Secretary to the Presidential Commission H.W Gunadasa said that statements will be accepted till December 31 this year and a notice to this effect had already been issued.
He said that once the deadline of accepting written statements ends the COI will begin making inquiries into the statements and take the next step.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa had in July expanded the mandate of the Presidential Commission on mission persons and appointed international experts to advice the commission.
The Government had said that the President was 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.
Under the expanded mandate, the Commission has been tasked with investigating and reporting on the principal facts and circumstances that led to the loss of civilian life during the internal armed conflict that ended on the 19th May 2009, and whether any person, group or institution directly or indirectly bears responsibility in this regard by reason of a violation or violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law.
The Commission will also investigate if such loss of civilian life is capable of constituting collateral damage of a kind that occurs in the prosecution of proportionate attacks against targeted military objectives in armed conflicts and is expressly recognized under the laws of armed conflict and international humanitarian law, and whether such civilian casualties were either the deliberate or unintended consequence of the rules of engagement during the said armed conflict in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)
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