The final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) will ask the government to investigate incidents that may have occurred during the final stages of the war that militarily defeated the Tiger guerrillas two and half years ago.
This is on the grounds that there appears to be a prima facie case based on the information the commissioners have received. However, the commission has neither named the specific incidents nor identified the persons responsible for them. It has also declared that Britain’s Channel 4 video on alleged massacres by the military “was a total fabrication.”
These are some of the highlights in the commission’s more than 400-page report which its chairman, former Attorney General and President’s Counsel C.R.de Silva, will hand over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa today.
Appointed on May 15 last year, it was mandated to inquire into and report on a number of matters relating to the north-east conflict. They included the facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the Ceasefire Agreement operationalized on February 21, 2002 and the sequence of events that followed thereafter up to May 10, 2009. To prevent recurrence of such a conflict, it was also asked to recommend institutional and legislative measures which need to be taken. It was also told to report on how to promote further national unity and reconciliation among all communities.
The Commission has noted that the general view of the public was that the “ethnic problem” was exacerbated by politicians to enhance their vote banks. It has called for an end to race hate politics and emphasized the need to establish a Sri Lankan identity instead one where a person’s ethnicity is used as the guide. It has traced the events that followed the standardization of marks for university admissions, a step taken by the administration of then Premier, Sirimavo Bandaranaike.
The separatist lobby then described standardization as a discriminatory step against Tamil youth forcing them to rebel, an argument hotly disputed by others who said standardization helped rural youth over town youth irrespective of race. It has also dealt extensively with the events that followed the ethnic violence of July 1983.
The commission has said any Sri Lankan should hold the right to acquire land in any part of the country.
Whilst taking note of attempts that have been made to degrade the image of Sri Lanka, the commission has said it has taken note of the “Darusman Report” or the report of the UN Panel on Accountability Issues on Sri Lanka appointed by the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. It has also dealt extensively with International Human Rights Law (IHL) and issues related to them.
According to S.B. Atugoda who served as the Secretary to the LLRC, more than 1000 persons have given oral evidence and 5,100 had sent in written submissions. He said the commission held 52 public sittings and made 12 field visits to 40 locations including the north and the east.