The Presidential Commission to investigate cases of persons from the Northern and Eastern Provinces who went missing during the period 1990–2009 will commence its first public sittings in the Eastern part of the country in the Batticaloa District in March.
The public hearings will take place from March 20–22, 2014, in the towns of Vakarai, Chenkallady and Batticaloa, covering 56 Grama Niladhari Divisions in the district.
This is the first time the Commission is hearing cases in the East, and Commission Secretary Mr. H.W. Gunadasa said that officials from the Commission will be visiting the district on Monday (March 3) to hold discussions with Divisional Secretaries for preliminary arrangements.
The Commission held its first public sittings in the Kilinochchi District in the Northern Province from January 18–21, 2014, where it heard complaints from 440 people. Another 984 people made submissions from Feb. 14–17, 2014, when the Commission conducted its sittings in the Jaffna District.
The Commission has thus far received a total of approximately 13,700 complaints from all parts of the country. Of those complaints, approximately 9,300 are of civilian disappearances while 4,300 are of disappearances of security personnel.
The three-member Commission, comprising Mr. Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama (Chairman), Mrs. Dimingu Badathuruge 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.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa extended the mandate of the Commission by another six months until August 2014.