The ‘Office of Reparations’ Bill which is aimed at providing legal provisions for the establishment of the Office for Reparations, to identify war affected people eligible for reparations, has been placed on the Order Paper of Parliament meant for today
Like the Office of Missing Persons, the establishment of this new office is part of the matters envisaged in the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka adopted on October 1, 2015. It is meant to identify aggrieved persons eligible for reparations, and to provide for the provision of individual and collective reparations to such persons; to repeal the Rehabilitation of Persons, Properties and Industries Authority Act, No. 29 of 198, and is to be presented to Parliament today.
Responsibilities of this office will include receiving recommendations with regard to reparations to be made to aggrieved persons from the Office on Missing Persons established under the Office on Missing Persons or such other relevant bodies or institutions, to receive applications for reparations from aggrieved persons or representatives of such aggrieved persons and to verify the authenticity of such application, for the purpose of assessing the eligibility for reparations, to identify the aggrieved persons who are eligible for reparations as well as their level of need, to identify and collate information relating to previous or on-going reparation programmes carried out by the State, including any expenditure on similar reparation programmes through a centralized database, and to make rules with regard to ensuring the effective functioning of the Office for Reparations.
The Office for Reparations, if established, will consist of five members appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council. The Constitutional Council shall recommend three names out of the members of the Office for Reparations to be appointed as the Chairperson of the Office for Reparations. One of the members recommended shall be appointed by the President as the Chairperson of the Office for Reparations. A member could serve for a period of three years.
However, the members of this office will be deemed to be public servants for the purpose of the Bill as per the Penal Code and the Bribery Act and the Evidence Ordinance. (Yohan Perera)