300 Tamils, Muslims appeal to LLRC to locate missing relatives

[TamilNet, Sunday, 27 March 2011, 15:16 GMT]
The Lessons and Learnt Reconciliation Commissioner (LLRC) Sunday morning commenced its sittings at the auditorium of the Kalmunai (Tamil) Divisional Secretariat and recorded statements from over three hundred persons including Tamils and Muslims who have lost their children and spouses due to the arrest, abduction and killing by the Intelligence Unit of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and cadres of para military groups led by Karuna and Pilliayan, sources in Ampaa'rai said.

The hearings was presided by LLRC Chairman Chitta Ranjan de Silva.

Meanwhile, the LLRC had already submitted its interim report to Sri Lanka’s President after its sittings held in most of the districts in North, East, Colombo and Kandy.

Commenting on the LLRC, the International Crisis Group (ICG), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and Amnesty International (AI), in November 2010 said, the LLRC failed to “meet basic international standards for independent and impartial inquiries,” and that the LLRC is "proceeding against a backdrop of government failure to address impunity and continuing human rights abuses.” The Rights groups further pointedly attacked the island's legal system saying, “Sri Lanka’s government and justice system cannot and will not uphold the rule of law and respect basic rights.”

On the independence of LLRC members, specifically LLRC's Chairman Chitta Ranjan de Silva the groups said:
    A fundamental requirement for any commission of this type is that its members are independent. The membership of the LLRC is far from that. To start, both chairman de Silva and member HMGS Palihakkara were senior government representatives during the final year of the war. They publicly defended the conduct of the government and military against allegations of war crimes. Indeed during two widely reported incidents the shelling of the first “no-fire zone” declared by the government in late January and the shelling of Puthukkudiyiruppu (PTK) hospital in February Palihakkara, then Sri Lanka’s representative to the UN, told CNN that government forces had confirmed that even though the LTTE was firing out from the “no-fire zone”, the government was not returning fire; and that the military had confirmed they knew the coordinates of PTK hospital and they had not fired on it.

    Beyond his public defence of government conduct during the war, there is also evidence that as attorney general, CR de Silva actively undermined the independence of the 2006-2009 Presidential Commission of Inquiry that was tasked with investigating allegations of serious human rights violations by the security forces.

    Most other members of the LLRC have some history of working for the Sri Lankan government. None is known for taking independent political positions, and many have publicly declared their allegiance to the president and government.

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