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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 181st session
(Geneva, 10 October 2007)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Nadarajah Raviraj, a member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka who was assassinated on 10 November 2006, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/181/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 180th session (May 2007),

Recalling the following:

  • Mr. Raviraj, a member of parliament for Jaffna and a leading member of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was shot dead in Colombo on the morning of 10 November 2006 along with his security officer while travelling in his vehicle along Elvitigalla Mawatha, a prominent public highway within the city of Colombo; one assailant stopped traffic on the road while another sprayed bullets from a T.56 rifle at Mr. Raviraj and his bodyguard; they then both fled from the scene on a motorcycle; security personnel were reportedly on duty at several points along the highway, including the immediate vicinity of the crime scene;

  • According to the information provided by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in a report dated 20 June 2007, investigations led to a previous owner of the motorcycle, and through him to four suspects, two of whom, Matagaweera and Jayasuriya, have been taken into custody while the other two, Ravindra and Arul, have not yet been apprehended; Matagaweera and Ravindra are brokers with whose help the motorcycle was sold to one Arul who was living at the time in the house of Jayasuriya, a former soldier who, after being dismissed from the Army, worked as a private security officer for a former parliamentarian belonging to the Eelam People's Democratic Party who is now living in Switzerland; Arul is the nephew of the latter and former LTTE member whom Jayasuriya had been asked by the parliamentarian to protect;

  • At the Government's request, a team of investigators from New Scotland Yard, consisting of five investigators, forensics and telephone analysis experts arrived in Sri Lanka on 4 January 2007 and stayed until 14 January 2007. According to the CID report, the team was extremely satisfied with the CID's handling of the investigation given the difficulties, such as pursuing the alleged culprits who flee into LTTE areas; the team found that the telephone intelligence compiled by them showed links between Mr. Raviraj and the identified suspects; the CID is awaiting a detailed report from Scotland Yard on the forensic findings; the progress of the investigation is being reported by the CID to the Magistrates Court which is dealing with this case;

  • According to the same CID report, inquiries revealed further that before his assassination Mr. Raviraj had given an interview to the Asian Tribune in which he was highly critical of LTTE leader Prabhakaran; moreover, Mr. Raviraj was once the acting Mayor of Jaffna at a time when the LTTE had assassinated his two predecessors, and during that period he had received death threats; with regard to the article in the Asian Tribune, one of the sources stressed that the Asian Tribune was a well-known anti-LTTE and anti-TNA website and that the article in question was dated 14 October 2006, nearly one month before Mr. Raviraj was killed; the source also voiced strong doubts about the genuineness of the interview as no particulars are given of where and with whom it took place.
Noting that Mr. Raviraj is the second Tamil member of parliament to be assassinated within the last year and that several others receive death threats; noting also that the murder seems to be one of a growing number of killings of Tamil activists and human rights defenders, all of which remain unpunished to date,

Recalling that President Rajapakse set up a National Commission of Inquiry to look into cases of grave human rights violations in addition to an International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) to observe the proceedings of the National Commission; that joint meetings were held in February, May and August 2007; that, at President Rajapakse's request, the National Commission has decided to include the murder of Mr. Raviraj in its mandate; that, however, his case is not among the first cases which the Commission is investigating,

Considering that, at the meeting the Committee had with the leader of the Sri Lankan delegation to the 117th Assembly, he invited it to carry out an on-site mission to Sri Lanka to gather first-hand information on the Sri Lankan cases currently before it, including that of Mr. Raviraj, from the competent authorities and other parties,

Bearing in mind that Sri Lanka is a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and is thus bound to guarantee the right to life, which entails the obligation for the State to carry out a diligent, effective and thorough investigation into any murder in order to identify the culprits and bring them to justice,

  1. Thanks the leader of the Sri Lankan delegation for the invitation extended to the Committee to carry out an on-site mission to Sri Lanka; believes that such a mission would indeed enable the Committee to gather more detailed information and to share its concerns with the competent authorities; and requests the Committee to make the necessary arrangements for such a mission to go ahead as early as possible;

  2. Notes with satisfaction the progress that has been made in the investigation and wishes to ascertain whether the expected report from Scotland Yard has meanwhile been received;

  3. Is convinced that solving the murder of Mr. Raviraj is essential to building such trust and confidence within Sri Lankan society as is indispensable to progress in a peace process;

  4. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 118th Assembly of the IPU (Cape Town, April 2008), in the light of such information as will have been gathered during the on-site visit.
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