PCoI report on Easter Sunday attacks tabled in Parliament

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Report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) which investigated the Easter Sunday terror attacks has been tabled in the Parliament this morning (February 25).

Leader of the House, Foreign Affairs Minister Dinesh Gunawardena presented the Sinhala and English versions of the report to the Parliament following the commencement of the session.

Accordingly, he requested the Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to make the report public.

Meanwhile, Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella called for a three-day debate on the report.

Speaker Abeywardena said the report can be taken up during the meeting of the party leaders.

Minister Gunawardena, in response, stated that they had previously agreed for a debate on the report and dates will be scheduled after consulting the Speaker.

Former high-ranking politicians and officials including ex-President Maithripala Sirisena, ex-Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, ex-IGP Pujith Jayasundara, ex-State Intelligence Service chief Nilantha Jayawardena, former National Intelligence Service chief Sisira Mendis and many others have been charged in the PCoI report for their criminal negligence and failure to take decisive action and perform duties.

In its conclusion, the Presidential Commission has recommended the Attorney General to institute criminal proceedings against the accused.

The Presidential Commission further recommended a complete ban on Wahabism and Thowheed organizations in Sri Lanka. It also urged a ban on Bodu Bala Sena organization.

The Commission meanwhile recommended that activities of other organizations such as Sinhala Ravaya, Mahason Balakaya, The Sinhala National Movement, The Sinhale National Organization and Shivsena be monitored and action be taken for extremist activities.

Report has suggested a special High Court be set up to hear all criminal cases pertaining to the Easter attacks.

Hearings and other procedures of the Presidential Commission officially came to a conclusion on January 27, 2021 and its final report was handed over to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on February 01.

The Commission was appointed by former President Maithripala Sirisena on September 22nd, 2019 to investigate the series of attacks that took place on Easter Sunday same year and to recommend necessary actions.

The commission had recorded evidence from a total of 440 individuals during its term.

The panel was chaired by Court of Appeal Judge, Janak de Silva and included Court of Appeal Judge, Nishshanka Bandula Karunarathna, Retired High Court Judges Nihal Sunil Rajapaksa and A.L. Bandula Kumara Atapattu, former Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, W.M.M.R. Adikari.