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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 184th session
(Addis Ababa, 10 April 2009)

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/184/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 183rd session (October 2008),

Referring also to the report on the on-site mission to Sri Lanka which the Committee carried out in February 2008 (CL/183/12(b)-R.2),

Taking into account the report from the Sri Lanka Police Headquarters, forwarded by the Parliament on 1 April 2009, and noting that, at the session it held during the 120th Assembly, the Committee met with members of the Sri Lankan delegation,

Recalling that Mr. Pararajasingham was shot dead on 24 December 2005 during the Christmas Eve Mass at St. Mary's Church in Batticaloa by unidentified gunmen in the presence of some 300 persons; that the investigation has remained at a virtual standstill despite the fact that St. Mary's Church was located in a high-security zone between two military checkpoints and that, at the time of the murder, additional security forces were on duty, so that the culprits could only have escaped with the complicity of the security forces; that, during the on-site mission, it turned out that there was no agreement on whether or not President Rajakapakse had been given the name of a possible suspect; that, however, the delegation provided the name of the person in question to President Rajapakse and to the Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights,

Noting that the police progress report of April 2009 only reiterates information provided earlier, adding that there was neither sufficient evidence nor enough public support to achieve better results and that, in addition, the witnesses are intimidated by the killers,

Recalling also that, in late 2006, President Rajapakse set up a “Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate and inquire into serious human rights violations”, including the murder of Mr. Pararajasingham; that it is nevertheless unclear whether the Commission has started investigating this crime,

Bearing in mind that elections to the Batticaloa Provincial Council were held in May 2008 and that, according to the authorities, democracy and respect for human rights are gaining ground in the province,

  1. Thanks the authorities for the information provided; also thanks the Sri Lankan delegation for its cooperation;

  2. Deeply regrets the absence of any progress in the investigation; recalls that the name of a possible suspect was provided to the authorities and wishes to ascertain whether any effort has been made to locate and question that person; also wishes to ascertain whether the Presidential Commission of Inquiry has started or intends to conduct any inquiry into Mr. Pararajasingham's murder;

  3. Reaffirms that Mr. Pararajasingham's murderers could only have escaped with the complicity of the security and army personnel posted around the Cathedral and in the area, and that it should therefore be much easier for the investigating authorities to identify and apprehend them, especially now that Batticaloa province has returned to a democratic system, violence has receded and witnesses may be less fearful of retaliation;

  4. Can only reaffirm the conclusion of the mission report that there can be no better deterrent for violence targeting members of parliament and indeed the public at large than combating impunity and ensuring that those responsible for assassinations and other crimes are identified, apprehended and brought to justice, and urges the authorities to take firm action to this end;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the authorities, inviting them to provide the requested information;

  6. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 121st Assembly of the IPU (October 2009).
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