Practice Relating to Rule 98. Enforced Disappearance
In 1994, the President of Sri Lanka established a Commission of Inquiry into Involuntary Removal or Disappearances of Persons in certain provinces since 1 January 1988. The Commission was charged with inquiring and reporting on whether any such removals or disappearances had actually occurred; whether there existed any credible material indicating who was responsible and identifying the legal proceedings that could be taken against the persons held to be responsible; the measures necessary to prevent repetition of occurrences; and the relief that should be afforded to the families of those removed or disappeared.
In 2008, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Sri Lanka stated: “Reports of on-going investigations into alleged disappearances [of children] have been called for”.
In 2009, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, Sri Lanka stated:
A process has been commenced through the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights to deal with the backlog of cases relating to Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances. The process is to be included in the proposed National Action Plan for Human Rights as a priority item. In addition a separate full time unit will be set up to deal with these cases while advice has been sought from the United Nations Working Group on how best to ensure clarification or closure of cases relating to the period before 1994. With regard to recent cases, a system to ensure prompt reporting has been put in place, and recently a report was sent confirming that all cases reported for 2008 have been put before the Courts by the Police. The Committee meets regularly, and has instituted a system of regular reports which has also led to more active police investigation of allegations.