B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday sent the December 18 letter of Philip Alston, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extra- judicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions seeking an explanation from the government, to a committee appointed to study and report on the October 21 U.S. Department of State Report on “incidents during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka”.

Mr. Alston’s letter referred to charges made (subsequently withdrawn) by the former Army Chief, Sarath Fonseka, against Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on the sequence of events in the last phase of Eelam War IV (May 16 to 19). The Presidential Secretariat said the committee had been asked for advice on the course of action to be taken on the issues referred to in Mr. Alston’s letter. “The President has also extended by four months the period given to the Committee to study and report on the US State Department Report. The original warrant issued on November 04, 2009, ended on December 31, 2009. The extension was given following a request by the Committee of difficulties in completing the study in the given time.

“The members of the Committee are: D. S. Wijesinghe PC (Chairman), Nihal Jayamanne PC, C. R. de Silva PC and former Attorney General, Mrs. Mano Ramanathan, formerly Senior Legal Draftsman, and Jezima Ismail, leading educationist, former Vice Chancellor of the Eastern University and Principal of Muslim Ladies’ College”, it said.