November 12, 2019
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    Purpose of appointing 3-member committee was to advise Commission Featured

    August 07, 2014

    External Affairs Minister Prof G.L. Peiris said in Parliament today (07) that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had appointed a panel of 3-member Advisory Committee on the request of the Presidential Commission Investigating into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons to advise the Commission.

    Responding to a series of questions raised in a special statement made by UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prof Peiris said the panel comprised Sir Desmond de Silva, QC, Sir Geoffrey Nice and Prof D Crane. The panel was only an advisory body and it had no mandate for investigations.

    Prof Peiris pointed out that there was no legal impediment with regard to the appointment of the three members to the Commission as alleged by the Leader of the Opposition. The members had been appointed at the request of the Commission, to aid them in various legal issues that had cropped up.

    “The Commission chaired by Maxwell Paranagama was appointed on 15 August 2013 and in June of this year the Commission informed the President that they had interviewed 16,000 people. They told the President that various legal issues had come up and that they needed expert help in order to speed things up. It is the government’s responsibility to strengthen the Commission so as to not allow room for external parties to intervene,” Prof Peiris said.

    Prof Peiris said it was wrong to interpret this appointment of panel as an indication of government losing confidence in the Attorney General. The experts had been appointed as the Attorney General did not specialize in the particular field of law needed for the purpose of the Commission. There was no process involved in the selection of the members and that they had been selected on the basis of their ability and qualifications to do the job. The office of the President had made the appointments, Prof Peiris added. (Special Reporter/HC)

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