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Sri Lanka to appoint special commission to investigate 11,000 war-disappeared

COLOMBO, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- An independent committee is to be appointed to investigate the fate of nearly 11,000 people who disappeared during Sri Lanka's brutal three-decade war, an official said here on Thursday.

The special commission will be headed by a retired High Court judge. Once the investigations are completed the findings will be presented to the Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons, its Chairman Parakrama Paranagama said.

Nearly 11,000 persons, both civilians and Sri Lankan army personnel, were reported missing during the 30-year war.

"In our mandate, we have been vested with powers to accept complaints from the North and East," he said, adding that this is where the fighting raged the fiercest.

5,098 army personnel were reported as disappeared during the war with the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE), according to the Dead and Missing Persons' Parents Association, but complaints received by the commission is below this figure.

"I as the commission chairman request the parents and relatives of the Security Forces personnel missing in action, to lodge their complaints at the earliest so that we could commence investigations," Paranagama said.

6,014 civilians, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims were also reported as missing in the North and East, he noted.

The commission was appointed by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa in September ahead of a crucial visit by United Nations Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay.

The commission initially were to collect complaints till Nov. 30 but extended the deadline till the year-end due to the high number of requests.

Sri Lanka has come under fire by the international community for failing to investigate war crimes allegations and cases of missing people. The government headed by Rajapaksa has had two consecutive resolutions passed on it at the U.N. Human Rights Council and could be faced with a third in March.

Related:

Sri Lanka army says probe on war continuing

COLOMBO, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lanka army on Monday said that military investigations into some alleged incidents which had reportedly taken place during the war with the Tamil Tiger rebels are still being investigated.

Army spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya told Xinhua that a Court Of Inquiry (COI) is continuing to record statements from witnesses and others.  Full story

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