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Sri Lanka launches new inquiry into intelligence failures surrounding the Easter Sunday bombings

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a Committee of Inquiry to investigate the State Intelligence Service (SIS) and Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) for potential lapses in acting on intelligence received from other law enforcement agencies, despite the fact that it has been five years since the Easter Sunday bombings.

According to the President's Media Division, this decision follows the findings of the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry, dated 31 January 2021, which highlighted warnings from Indian intelligence agencies and other sources about the imminent attacks.

The committee's mandate includes assessing whether the SIS, CNI, and other relevant authorities took adequate actions based on prior intelligence and evaluating the effectiveness of these actions. This is not the first committee Wickremesinghe has appointed to investigate the Easter Attacks since taking office.

Last year, he appointed a committee a retired Supreme Court judge led to probe allegations raised in a Channel 4 documentary. Before this, the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) and Commission of Inquiry (COI) were also established to scrutinize the events leading up to the Easter attacks. They concluded that timely action on Indian intelligence reports could have prevented the 21 April 2019 bombings.

On 19 April of this year, the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) released a report titled "5 Years Since Easter Sunday Attacks: Still Awaiting Justice," which criticised the delays in justice and the handling of investigative reports.

The President's Media Division stated that this new committee would investigate circumstances surrounding the Directorate of Military Intelligence's initial belief, held for four months, that the 30 November 2018 killing of two police officers in Vavunathivu was linked to the LTTE before suspects with alleged ties to the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) were identified.

Sarathanjali Manoharan, Senior Assistant Secretary to the President, will serve as the Secretary to the Committee of Inquiry. The committee is expected to submit its findings and recommendations to the President by 15 September 2024.

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