Tuesday, April 29, 2008

IIGEP changes tune regarding Government's political will

"The IIGEP has now completely gone back on two major issues pertaining to the alleged lack of political will on the part of the government and the way in which commission proceedings take place," said the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe. Addressing a media briefing yesterday, Minister Samarasinghe stated that the Chairman of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons, India's ex-Chief Justice P. N. Bhagawatti, had written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa clarifying the position taken by the IIGEP in its sixth public statement, which stated that the Sri Lankan government did not have political and institutional will to investigate 17 incidents of human rights violation in which people were killed.

In this letter IIGEP had completely changed its stance on the issue of whether or not the government has the political will to find the truth.

"The IIGEP Chairman has written this letter in response to the serious concerns expressed by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the IIGEP statement," said the Minister.

Attorney General C. R. de Silva said that Justice Bhagawatti had clarified the controversial statements made by the IIGEP. His clarification mentioned that the IIGEP had not accused the Sri Lankan government and what had been conveyed in the statement was the IIGEP's apprehension regarding absence of political will. IIGEP had never said there was absence of political will on the part of the government and it was merely an apprehension which was voiced by the IIGEP in view of facts before them.

In the letter to the President, IIGEP had also appreciated the good work done by the Commission. It had been doing highly valuable service and IIGEP had the best co-operation from the members of the Commission.

"The Government would like to express its gratitude to Justice Bhagawatti for the clarification and to reassure the IIGEP that the people of Sri Lanka and the international community would remain steadfast in their determination to support the Chairman and Commission in ensuring the completion of the work of the Commission of Inquiry," said the Attorney General.

Courtesy: Government Information Department

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