Geneva to forward decision on jailing of Fonseka

By Chandani Kirinde

The Committee on Human Rights of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is looking into a complaint relating to the jailing of former Sri Lanka Army Commander, Sarath Fonseka.

Human Rights Committee Secretary Ingeborg Schwarz told the Sunday Times that she was responding to an e-mail inquiry over claims by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe that the IPU had rejected the complaint.

The Minister was reported as saying that the IPU had rejected the complaint after he and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, who represented the IPU at a recent Human Rights Committee meeting in Geneva, informed them that action against former General Fonseka was in compliance with Sri Lanka’s judicial process and the Constitution.

“The committee has indeed received a communication concerning Sarath Fonseka, and is examining the case under a confidential procedure,” Ms. Schwarz said.

According to Ms. Schwarz, the IPU Human Rights Committee usually follows a confidential procedure when examining complaints or cases submitted to the committee. The committee’s decisions are forwarded only to those parties or institutions that sent in the complaint. These parties could include parliamentary and other competent authorities.

“The decision adopted on the occasion of the session held last week will be forwarded in a few days to the authorities and the sources of the information,” Ms. Schwarz said.

United National Party (UNP) Member of Parliament Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena sent a written complaint to the IPU earlier this month. Dr. Jayawardena told the Sunday Times that he visited Geneva at the invitation of the IPU, and that he had testified for two hours before a committee.

The UNP MP said he was awaiting a reply from the IPU. Minister Samarasinghe was not available for comment. The IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians examines communications concerning alleged human rights violations of Members of Parliament.

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