The President’s Office has requested guidance from the Attorney General’s office regarding the future of The Presidential Commission on Deaths and Disappearances (DDCom), established by the previous government. This commission, formed on 17 November 2018, by then-President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, was tasked with investigating unresolved cases of deaths and disappearances.

Ibrahim Khaleel, Strategic Communications Minister at the President’s Office, stated that a decision on the commission’s dissolution is yet to be made. The consultation with the Attorney General stems from concerns about the commission’s effectiveness over the past five years. Khaleel highlighted doubts regarding the commission’s ability to achieve its intended objectives.

The commission has investigated 27 cases, but only three reports have been submitted to the President’s Office, none of which have led to criminal charges. The commission is required by the Presidential Commissions Act to submit annual activity reports and undergo financial audits in consultation with the Auditor General. There appears to be a shortfall in meeting these obligations.

Key investigations undertaken by the commission include the abduction of journalist Ahmed Rilwan, the murder of blogger Yameen Rasheed, and the assassination of former MP Dr Afrasheem Ali. Of these, only the cases of Rilwan and Rasheed were brought to court, where they were dismissed by the Criminal Court due to insufficient evidence, resulting in the release of the accused.

The commission’s effectiveness has also been questioned recently by six civil society organisations, who have called on the government to critically assess the commission’s investigative reports and overall performance. 

The decision comes within weeks of President Muizzu dissolving the Settlement Committee, formed under the Guideline for Resolution of Disputes Relating to Agreements between the Government and Private Parties. 

In this instance, the Attorney General had advised the President that the Guideline, which came into effect on 28 November 2022, had been implemented without statutory authority.

The President’s Office is currently awaiting the Attorney General’s advice, which will be pivotal in determining the future direction and efficacy of the DDCom in addressing these critical unresolved cases.