The Commission of Inquiry and International Independent Group of Eminent Persons hold inaugural meeting in Colombo

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) appointed to investigate alleged serious human rights violations in Sri Lanka since August 1, 2005, and the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), also appointed by the President to observe the investigations of the COI, had their inaugural meeting in Colombo, on February 12-13, 2007. The IIGEP was established to enhance transparency of investigations and to ensure they conform to international norms and standards.

At the meeting were the eight national commissioners of the COI and the eleven members of the IIGEP from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, the EU, the Netherlands, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Cyprus and Indonesia. The IIGEP is chaired by former Indian Chief Justice P.N. Bhagwati. The U.S. is represented by Mr. Arthur J. Dewey, Professor of Theology.

Periodic meetings of the COI and the IIGEP have been proposed, so that both bodies could function efficiently according to their respective mandates.

The discussions between the COI and the IIGEP focused primarily on the working relationship between the two bodies and on how they would operate. This initial step was seen as crucial as this exercise is considered unique and possibly a first in the world and would inevitably set an international precedence.

The COI and the IIGEP have agreed that the COI will initially investigate the first four cases on the schedule in the warrant. These include the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in Colombo on August 12, 2005, the killings of the 17 aid workers of the international non-governmental organization Action Contre La Faim, in Muttur in the Eastern Province in early August 2006, the alleged execution of Muslim villagers in Muttur in the Eastern Province in early August 2006 and the alleged execution at Galkanda in the Trincomalee District Eastern Province of 14 sick and wounded civilians from Muttur hospital, who were being transferred by ambulance to Kantale hospital in the east, in early August 2006.

The next meeting of the COI and the IIGEP is scheduled for March 12-13, 2007. The COI will obtain all relevant documentation on these cases and make them available to the IIGEP before the next meeting of the two bodies in March.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

23 February 2007

Home | Sri Lanka-US Relations | Trade | Investment | Travel | Consular | Press Releases |
Statements | Features | Reports & Publications | Archive | Contact I Ideas Line