A Court of Inquiry, appointed by the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya to inquire into the observations, made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in its report on alleged civilian casualties during the final phase of the humanitarian operations and probe as regards Channel-4 video footage irrespective of its authenticity or otherwise, is now in full progress, the Army said in a statement.
The five-member Court of Inquiry appointed on 2 January 2012 by virtue of the powers, vested in the Army Commander by Regulation 4 of the Courts of Inquiry Regulations, read with the Regulation 2 of the Army Disciplinary Regulations, is headed by Major General Chrishantha De Silva, the present Commander of the Security Forces Headquarters, Kilinochchi.
Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya stated that in view of a consistent policy, followed by the Sri Lanka Army from its inception in 1949 of maintaining Zero Tolerance towards any breach of Humanitarian Laws by its members during engagements such an inquiry is warranted, especially in view of the observations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
A Court of Inquiry is an initial fact-finding inquiry, 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 offenders, the army said.
A General Court Martial has the jurisdiction that is identical to a High Court Trial-at-Bar and can award any sentence, including the death penalty. The Court of Inquiry has already commenced its proceedings.