PCoI denies ever asking govt. to withhold parts of its report on carnage
Posted on March 13th, 2021

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

Document in its entirety handed over to AG

The Presidential Secretariat yesterday (12) handed over the remaining 22 volumes of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) report, hitherto declared sensitive and withheld from Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC.

The delivery of those volumes which dealt with some aspects of the 2019 Easter Sunday carnage took place close on the heels of an unprecedented meeting between the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and the AG on March 8 at the Bishops’ House. In separate statements issued following the March 8 meeting, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka and the AG De Livera called for release of the report in its entirety.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa received the PCoI report on Feb 1, 2021.

Authoritative sources yesterday told The Island that there was absolutely no basis for claims that the PCoI advised the Presidential Secretariat not to release a section of the report. Sources emphasized that the PCoI had nothing to do with the move to deny the AG access to a set of volumes.

Supreme Court Judge Janak de Silva functioned as the Chairman of the PCoI. Other members of the PCoI are Court of Appeal Judge Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne, retired Supreme Court Judges Nihal Sunil Rajapaksha and A. L. Bandula Kumara Atapattu and former Secretary to the Ministry of Justice W. M. M. R. Adhikari. H. M. P. Buwaneka Herath functioned as the Secretary to the PCoI.

The AG has formed a 12-member team to examine the report.

In addition to the PCoI, the AG Department would examine the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) report on the Easter Sunday attacks.

The AG is on record as having said that the final report of the PCoI he received several days ago did not shed light on the Easter Sunday mastermind, conspirators and those involved directly and indirectly. The AG’s Department said that moving court was the prerogative of the department and it was not bound by the recommendations of the P CoI.

The parliament debated the PCoI report this week. The debate on the same is expected to be scheduled for two more days in the third week of this month.

Legal and political sources told The Island that the examination of the whole set of volumes was of utmost necessity against the backdrop of accusations and counter accusations over the alleged involvement of various political parties and individuals. Some of those named and referred to in the PCoI report are members of political parties represented in parliament and outside the House, sources said.

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