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Sri Lanka's presidential commission recommends amnesties for human rights abusers

A Tamil mother holds a photograph of her missing son at a protest outside Sri Lanka's presidential commission sitting in Jaffna last year.

Sri Lanka’s presidential commission to investigate disappearances across the island has recommended amnesties for those accused of human rights abuses in its final set of recommendations, reports the Sunday Times.

The Paranagama Commission also recommended the creation of yet another commission, to be named the “Special High court and a Truth Commission”, and called for the barring of international figures from joining proceedings.

The final report said that those who plead guilty to violations of human rights should appear before this further commission, where they would be offered “accountable amnesties”. If then found guilty of gross violations of human rights, it should offer punishments such as fines and the withholding of promotions for members of Sri Lanka’s security forces.
For those that chose to plead not guilty, an entirely domestic probe should investigate their case, it added.

The commission, which had its mandate extended by the current government, held widely criticised sittings across the North-East. Several sittings had protestors calling for international mechanism of justice. Commission officials presiding over proceedings meanwhile, offered chickens to Tamils searching for their missing loved ones if they accepted death certificates. The UN human rights chief had called for the commission to be disbanded.

The Paranagama commission, which has been in action for more than 3 years, also did not interview any member of the armed forces or government affiliated paramilitary groups. The commission cited a lack of “adequate time”. 


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