Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya has appointed a five member Court of Inquiry to inquire into the observations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in their report on civilian casualties that are alleged to have occurred in the final phase of the war.
The team is also probing the contents of the Channel 4 video footage. The Court of Inquiry commenced its proceedings in January. The Court is headed by Major General Chrishantha de Silva, the present Commander of the Killinochchi Security Forces Headquarters.
Lieutenant General Jayasuriya said such an inquiry was warranted in view of the zero tolerance policy on the breach of humanitarian laws. Such as been the consistent policy of the Sri Lanka Army since its inception in 1949.
The Court of Inquiry had been instituted by using the powers vested in the Army Commander under Regulation 4 of the Courts of Inquiry Regulations and the Regulation 2 of the Army Disciplinary Regulations.
A Court of Inquiry is an initial fact-finding process akin to a non-summary inquiry by a Magistrate. If there is a prima facie case disclosed against any person from the evidence led before the Court of Inquiry, a General Court Martial is convened to try the alleged offender or offenders.
The General Court Martial has the jurisdiction that is identical to a High Court Trial-at-Bar and can pass any sentence, including the death penalty. (Supun Dias)