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 185th session
(Geneva, 21 October 2009)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Thiyagarajah Maheswaran, a member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka who was assassinated on 1 January 2008, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/185/11(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 184th session (April 2009),

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

Noting that the Committee met with Mr. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights during the 121st IPU Assembly,

Recalling the following information on file:

  • Mr. Maheswaran voted against the budget on 14 December 2007 and soon after the vote the number of security guards assigned to him was cut from 18 to two; he had openly made several statements in and outside parliament to the effect that the reduction of his security detail put his life seriously at risk and had made repeated requests to the Government to enhance his security, to no avail; on 1 January 2008, while attending a religious ceremony in a Hindu temple in Colombo, he was shot and later died in a Colombo hospital; the attack came after he had stated in a television interview that, at the resumption of parliamentary sittings on 8 January 2008, he would describe in detail the terror campaign that the Government was pursuing in Jaffna, particularly how abductions and killings were managed;

  • The authorities arrested Johnson Colin Valentirio alias “Wasantha”, from Jaffna, who had been identified as the gunman on the strength of a DNA analysis; the investigators were able to conclude that the assailant was a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) activist who had been specifically sent to Colombo to kill Mr. Maheswaran; a video recording of the presumed culprit’s confession existed, and his parents confirmed that he was an LTTE member; according to the police progress report forwarded in August 2008, the Attorney General filed an indictment and the case was to be called on 19 August 2008; the police progress report of April 2009 merely repeated that information,
Considering that, according to the information provided by Mr. Samarasinghe and the police progress report forwarded by him, after the conclusion of the inquiry, the file was forwarded to the Attorney General for advice, favouring filing of indictment against the presumed assassin in the High Court of Colombo on charges of murder; the case was to be called on 16 October 2009 for the service of indictment and listing of the case for hearing,
  1. Thanks the Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights for the information provided and for his cooperation;

  2. Appreciates the fact that the investigation has been completed so that an indictment can be issued; wishes to be kept informed of the trial proceedings;

  3. Reaffirms 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;

  4. Requests the Secretary General to invite the authorities to keep the Committee informed of the trial proceedings;

  5. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 122nd IPU Assembly (March-April 2010).
Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 121st IPU Assembly and related meetings" in PDF format (file size 583K approximately). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader