IPU Logo-middleInter-Parliamentary Union  
IPU Logo-bottomChemin du Pommier 5, C.P. 330, CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland  


Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 180th session
(Nusa Dua, Bali, 4 May 2007)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham, assassinated on 24 December 2005, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/180/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 179th session (October 2006),

Recalling that Mr. Pararajasingham, a prominent member of parliament belonging to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), was shot dead on 24 December 2005 during the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Mary's Church in Batticaloa by unidentified gunmen in the presence of some 300 persons, and that Mr. Pararajasingham's wife was also struck by two bullets and taken to hospital in critical condition,

Recalling the following information provided by the sources: St. Mary's Church is located in a high-security zone between two military checkpoints and, at the time of the murder, additional security forces were on duty and the church was reportedly surrounded by military personnel, which means that the culprits could only have escaped with the complicity of the security forces; soon after the murder, Mr. Pararajasingham's family and TNA parliamentarians gave President Rajapakse the names of three suspects, but no action has been taken against them; they are (a) Kaluthavalai Ravi, a member of the Karuna group, (b) Kalai (EPDP) and (c) Sitha alias Pradeep, head of the Karuna intelligence; the witnesses who identified the latter are now reportedly abroad for fear of their lives; noting that the Karuna group is widely believed to be cooperating with the Sri Lanka Armed Forces and enjoying its support,

Considering the following details as provided by the Government:

  • Investigations started immediately after the shooting and revealed that Mr. Pararajasingham and his wife had travelled to Batticaloa early on 24 December with two personal security officers provided by the Batticaloa police; only Mrs. Pararajasingham and the personal security officer of Mr. Pararajasingham were privy to Mr. Pararajasingham's decision to attend the Christmas Eve Mass, and the security officer was so informed only after their arrival in Batticaloa that morning;

  • In the course of the investigation, the priest who was playing the organ made a statement to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to the effect that he could identify one of the assailants, whom he also described; no one else gave the investigators any particulars of the assailants;

  • Inquiries revealed that the two assailants had used two handguns, and six empty 9‑mm casings were found at the scene; they were sent, through the courts, to the government analysts to determine whether they could serve as supportive material in identifying the group responsible for the assassination;

  • In July 2006, the police took into custody two individuals suspected of involvement in the assassination; an identification parade was held on 16 August 2006 but witnesses failed to make a positive identification and the individuals were released for want of evidence;

  • The area of the murder was once dominated by the Karuna group, a breakaway group of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and the two had fought for dominance of the area; this has led to a situation where there is less public cooperation for fear of reprisals; in view of the public's failure to come forward with any evidence, the CID has reached a deadlock in the investigation, which is nevertheless continuing; the Batticaloa Magistrates Court was scheduled to call the case on 3 November 2006,
Noting, as to the meaning of "high-security zone", that the authorities have stated that the term refers to a zone demarcated by the Government in which additional security measures are enforced around any security-sensitive establishments; in the past, the LTTE has sometimes been able to commit acts, such as the assassination of the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, in high-security zones,

Recalling that President Rajapakse has set up a national commission of inquiry to look into cases of grave human rights violations, including the case of Mr. Pararajasingham, in addition to an International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) to observe the proceedings of the National Commission; considering that both the National Commission of Inquiry and the IIGEP, one of whose members was invited to become a member of the group at the suggestion of the IPU, have started to function and held a first joint meeting in February 2007; noting lastly that the case of Mr. Pararajasingham is not among the first three cases that the National Commission of Inquiry has chosen to examine,

  1. Remains deeply shocked at the murder of Mr. Pararajasingham, and concerned at the complete absence of any substantial progress in the investigation almost 17 months after the crime was committed;

  2. Commends the President of Sri Lanka for the measures he is taking to combat impunity in a number of crimes specified by him, believes that the National Commission of Inquiry can make a contribution to this end and shed light on Mr. Pararajasingham's murder, and is confident that everything possible will be done to enable the Commission to work in the most effective way;

  3. Reaffirms nevertheless that the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry in no way releases the authorities from their duty vigorously to pursue the investigation in this case and to explore all existing leads - including the involvement of the Karuna group and the security forces - which may help identify the perpetrators;

  4. Expresses deep concern in this respect that the investigating authorities have not summoned for questioning the three persons whose names as possible suspects were provided to President Rajapakse, and would appreciate clarification in this regard;

  5. Affirms that the murder of a parliamentarian stands as a threat to the institution of parliament as such and, in the final analysis, to the people whom it represents, and that Parliament should consequently avail itself of its oversight function to ensure that the competent authorities comply with their duty to ensure due administration of justice, and thus to prevent any recurrence of such crimes;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to inform the authorities, including the National Commission of Inquiry and the IIGEP, accordingly and to invite them to provide the requested information, together with information on the current stage of the investigation;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 117th Assembly (October 2007).
Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 116th IPU Assembly and related meetings" in PDF format (file size 511K approximately ). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader