Colombo: As many as 16,000 Sri Lankans - who disappeared during the war against the LTTE - will be issued certificates of absence instead of death certificates, head of a probe panel said today.
“We have held discussions on the possibility of issuing certificates of absence in place of the current practice of issuing death certificates,” said Maxwell Paranagama, a retired judge and the head of the government's 3-member panel looking at disappearances of people from the north and east conflict zones.
The kith and kin of the disappeared do not want to believe they have died. So, issuing a death certificate would hurt them, Paranagama said.
He said the certificates of absence would have the same capacity as death certificates for legal purposes and the relevant laws have to be amended to give legal recognition to the absence certificates.
Paranagama and his panel was appointed by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in August last year to look at all disappearances of individuals between 1990 and 2009.