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 187th session
(Geneva, 6 October 2010)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham of Sri Lanka, assassinated on 24 December 2005, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/187/12(b)‑R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 186th session (April 2010); referring also to the report on the on-site mission to Sri Lanka carried out by the Committee in February 2008 (CL/183/12(b)‑R.2),

Noting that the Committee met during the 123rd IPU Assembly with the Sri Lankan delegation, including Mr. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries and former Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights, who has been mandated to continue following the cases the Committee is examining in Sri Lanka; taking into account the communication, dated 9 June 2010, from the Acting Secretary General of Parliament of Sri Lanka, according to which "the Hon. Speaker and members of the Sri Lanka branch of the IPU would be happy to engage further with the Committee to resolve issues that are outstanding" and that "we will endeavour to expedite police enquiries with regard to the deaths of members of parliament",

Recalling that Mr. Pararajasingham, a member of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), 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; St. Mary's Church was located in a high-security zone between two military checkpoints; at the time of the murder, additional security forces were on duty, which suggests that the culprits could have escaped only with the complicity of the security forces,

Recalling that, according to the information provided by Minister Samarasinghe in October 2009, one of the main problems was the question of witnesses as the priest playing the organ had been unable to identify any suspects and that witnesses were afraid of coming forward; he said that a witness protection bill, providing inter alia for video-conferencing of witnesses living abroad, was pending at the time before parliament; that the police had been unable to establish the bona fide of the information suggesting that a certain “Ravi” was the killer as TNA parliamentarians who had provided the name were unable to give an address; according to the sources, Ravi was a member of the Karuna group and well known in the region,

Noting that, according to the Sri Lankan delegation, there is no new information regarding the investigation, which is continuing; the Sri Lankan delegation also stated that the authorities remained committed to fully elucidating this crime,

Bearing in mind finally that, since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), presidential elections were held in January 2010 and President Rajapakse was re-elected; that he dissolved parliament on 28 March 2010 and that a new parliament was elected on 8 April 2010,

  1. Thanks Minister Samarasinghe and the other members of the Sri Lankan delegation for their cooperation and for the information provided;

  2. i>Is deeply disappointed that, five years after this high-profile murder, the authorities' publicly stated commitment to advancing the course of justice stands in stark contrast with the fact that the investigation remains at a standstill despite the existence of serious leads and facilitating circumstances that should have allowed them to make decisive progress; points out that the conflict in Batticaloa has long ended and that the authorities could have taken effective action to locate and interrogate "Ravi";

  3. Urges once more the Sri Lankan authorities, as is their duty, to make every effort to elucidate Mr. Pararajasingham's murder and, in so doing, to follow every lead, in particular with regard to the possible implication of "Ravi"; wishes to ascertain what steps are taken in this respect, including by the Parliament through its oversight function;

  4. Wishes to know whether the Parliament has taken up the debate on the witness protection bill, which, if it respects fundamental principles of witness protection, may indeed encourage witnesses to come forward, including in this case; wishes to receive, if and when available, a copy of the bill;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary authorities and to the competent governmental authorities, inviting them to provide the requested information and to keep it informed of the investigation; also requests the Secretary General to inform the source of the resolution;

  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 124th IPU Assembly (April 2011).
Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 123rd IPU Assembly and related meetings" in PDF format (file size 587K approximately). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader