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OMP findings cannot be used in criminal prosecutions says chairman

The Office of Missing Persons (OMP) will not be used as a punitive body and will not lead to criminal procedures or prosecutions said its chairperson Attorney Saliya Pieris.

Speaking in an interview with dailynews.lk, Mr Pieris said,

“Our function is not to punish. The law specifically says the findings of the OMP cannot be used in any criminal or civil proceeding. They cannot be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding.”

Commenting on what the office would do if potential violations of criminal law were found, he said,

“However, if in the course of the OMP’s investigation, it is revealed that there is something that is a violation of criminal law, the OMP has the discretion, and it is important to emphasize discretion, to refer it to the prosecutorial authority. Then it is up to the investigating or prosecutorial authority to investigate afresh. We, the OMP, do not have punitive powers."

The OMP appointments have been widely criticised by Tamil civil society groups for the inclusion of military personnel and the presence of only two Tamil commissioners. The OMP itself was also criticised for failing to ensure adequate consultations with victim communities. 

See full interview here.