Sri Lanka's commission to conclude "sittings"

[TamilNet, Saturday, 22 January 2011, 14:25 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the mandate of which was deliberately designed to whitewash Sri Lanka's war-crimes, and invitation to three leading premier human rights watchdogs Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and International Crisis Group (ICG) to attend LLRC's sittings was rejected due to LLRC "lacking the ability to advance accountability for war crimes," announced that the LLRC will "conclude its public sittings after the completion of sittings in the Ampara District in mid February" and would then would prepare its "final report that would be submitted to [Sri Lanka's] President Mahinda Rajapaksa in May," local media reported.

"Nothing in the LLRC’s mandate requires it to investigate the many credible allegations that both the government security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) committed serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law during the civil war, especially in the final months, including summary executions, torture, attacks on civilians and civilian objects, and other war crimes. The need to investigate them thoroughly and impartially is especially urgent given the government’s efforts to promote its methods of warfare abroad as being protective of the civilian population, when the facts demonstrate otherwise," the rights organizations earlier said in their letter of rejection to be part of the LLRC.

The LLRC's sittings have failed to investigate the serious violations of international norms of war as warned by the rights organizations. Also, Sri Lanka has refused to meet with the UN's Advisory Panel, when one of the objectives, as touted by the pliant UN including the US, was to provide assistance to Sri Lanka in the conduct of Sri Lanka's investigations.

A spokesperson US-based activist group, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) said, "With the United Nations reluctant to assert its authority over investigating Sri Lanka's war crimes, and its ambivalence in creating the necessary legal space giving authority to the Advisory Panel to investigate war-crimes, under threat of sanctions if required, Sri Lanka has been using the LLRC to postpone establishing accountability for war crimes. Its dud commission was another manifetation of the delaying tactics Colombo has used with apparent success in postponing a full-scale investigation into the Vanni masscre of 40,000 unarmed Tamil civilians.

"Despite lack of witness protection, harassment to witnesses, apathy of the Commissioners, and Commissioners' blatant use of sympthetic leading questions to genocidaires to circumvent exposing accountability to crimes, a few courageous Tamil women affected by war and the Mannar Bishop have provided useful information to further highlight the need for independent investigation," TAG said.


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