07/10/2014, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Mullaitivu: more than 300 new complaints of missing people from the Civil War

by Melani Manel Perera  
Between 5 and 8 July, the Presidential Commission held a public session during which 387 new cases emerged. Most of them concern people who went missing in the last phase of the conflict. So far, more than 18,000 complaints have been received, 5,000 of which from relatives of missing soldiers. The commission will end its work on 12 August.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Presidential Commission appointed to inquire into "forced disappearances" and alleged kidnappings in northern and eastern Sri Lanka during the Civil War for the period 1990-2009 has received information relating to 387 new cases.

Commission President Maxwell Paranagama noted that the latest information emerged from last public session, held from 5 to 8 July in Mullaitivu, a town on the north-eastern coast of Sri Lanka's Northern Province.

Most complaints concern people who disappeared during the latter stages of the conflict, as they sought refuge in areas already under military control. The President of the Commission noted that 129 people from 23 divisions in Mullaitivu came forward.

Allegations of disappearance will be subject to verification. In the event that they are proven founded and that individuals can be charged, investigators will be tasked to write a detailed and thorough report.

In this second phase, the Attorney General is expected to act in cases where there are grounds to believe that a crime was committed.

For their part, human rights activists and groups said that attempts were made to influence or exert psychological pressure on the families of the victims at various levels when they filed their complaint.

The Commission's investigations, which started last January in Kilinochchi, has so far collected 18,590 complaints, 5,000 of which from relatives of missing soldiers.

Overall, the Commission has already looked into 462 complaints, which were transferred for further examination to an independent team of investigators.

Established by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Commission has until 12 August 2014 to collect data and information.

The organisation also has an official website to provide updates on the investigation.

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