Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa stated today (November 24) that the government is preparing to conduct a census of persons who died or went missing during the war in an attempt to address issues concerning accountability. Furthermore, the Defence Secretary also conceded that during the course of the humanitarian operations investigations were conducted on all allegations including offenses such as murder, rape and sexual abuse while swift action was taken by the military to punish those who were found guilty. He added that if sufficient evidence is provided on crimes committed by any of its personnel, the Sri Lankan military will not hesitate to take appropriate action. He further stated that those who died owing to the military were a very small figure and that if credible allegations were filed, the military would take responsibility for these deaths. He said this during his key note speech at the Inaugural National Conference on Reconciliation: "The Way Forward for Post Conflict Sri Lanka".