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Different groups responsible for Lanka disappearances: panel

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

At least four different groups including Sri Lanka's security forces and the LTTE were responsible for the disappearances of hundreds of persons during the country's deadly civil war, an enquiry commission has found.

The Presidential Commission to enquire into and report on the alleged abductions or disappearances that occurred between 1983 to 2009 has submitted its interim report last night to the country's newly-elect President Maithripala Sirisena.

The 3-member panel headed by the retired judge Maxwell Paranagama was appointed in 2013 by Sirisena's predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, the Tamil groups were demanding a credible investigation into such issues.

Commenting on the culpability, the panel reported that the LTTE was responsible for 60 per cent of the forced disappearances in the north while the security forces were responsible for 30 per cent of them.

Other armed groups and unknown groups has been responsible for the rest.

"Based on the enquiries conducted thus far accountability and responsibility by these parties vary from district to district," the report said.

The commission had received nearly 16,153 complaints of disappearances of individuals, 5,200 of them came from family members of the disappeared security forces personnel.

The Commission has heard oral evidence of nearly 1,440 complainants.

On reported cased of disappearances and abductions by security forces, the Commission has reported them to the Attorney General for appropriate action.

The panel's mandate was extended by Rajapaksa in 2014 to include war crimes charges in response to an international outcry against his regime.

This included UN Human Rights Council resolution adopted in March of that year which mandated an international enquiry.

According to UN estimates, up to 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed by security forces during Rajapaksa's regime that brought an end to the nearly three decades-long war in the country with the defeat of the LTTE in 2009.

First Published: Sun, April 26 2015. 13:22 IST