The Presidential Commission to investigate cases of alleged disappearances of persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces during the period 1990–2009 concluded its public sittings in Jaffna on February 17.
According to the Commission, 984 people made submissions from Feb. 14–17, 2014, in the towns of Chavakachcheri, Kopay and Jaffna.
The Chairman of the Commission Mr. Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama said the Commission was well received in Jaffna.
“Everyone including government officials and religious leaders were very cooperative”, Mr. Paranagama said.
Responding to concerns over the weekend that witnesses could be intimidated, Mr. Paranagama had stated that the Commission would not hesitate to take severe action against any person trying to intimidate witnesses who appeared before the Commission.
“I will take any available legal provisions to deal with it,” the Chairman said.
The Commission held its first public hearings in Kilinochchi in the Northern Province from January 18–21, 2014, where it heard complaints from 440 people.
The Commission has received a total of approximately 13,700 complaints from all parts of the country and approximately 9,300 complaints of disappearances are of civilians and 4,300 are of security personnel.
The three-member Commission, comprising Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama (Chairman), Mrs. Priyanthi Suranjana Vidyaratne and Mrs. Mano Ramanathan, has been given the authority to conduct inquiries and investigations necessary, and submit a report to the President.