Reconciliation Com. sittings in camera

Public debarred; report by November 15

The new commission appointed to investigate events related to one of the most widely reported South Asian insurgencies will hold its proceedings in camera in the coming months, its chairman and former Attorney General C. R. de Silva said yesterday.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), constituted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last weekend, will not allow public viewing of its interviews with a large number of people including politicians, diplomats and armed forces personnel.

C. R. de Silva

“There are no provisions for public sittings. We will record all evidence in camera,” Mr. de Silva said.

In a notification to LLRC members, President Rajapaksa had asked them to primarily investigate the circumstances which led to the failure of the ceasefire agreement of February 21, 2002 and the sequence of events that followed thereafter up to the end of war in May last year.

“And I do thereby direct that such part of any inquiry relating to the aforesaid matters as you may direct in your discretion determine, shall not be held in public,” President Rajapaksa told the LLRC through this notification.

From his notification, it appeared that the President allowed the commission to decide on the nature of its proceedings. Mr. de Silva’s interpretation of the notification was that the public should not be permitted access to the proceedings.

As to who would be interviewed, Mr. de Silva said, he felt many people would be eager to appear before the commission. “However, we will have to consider only persons linked to happenings during the period mentioned in the President’s in the President’s notification,” he said.

A permanent ceasefire agreement was signed between the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the LTTE on February 22, 2002. When asked as to why the last seven years were chosen for the inquiry, Mr. de Silva said, “This is a matter of government policy and I cannot answer.”

While the LLRC is expected to submit its report to the President before November 15 this year, an extension of its term thereafter did not seem unlikely given the volume of work it is expected to undertake.

Mr. de Silva was also asked if the creation of an internal panel was in response to international pressure on the government to deal with allegations of human rights violations and war crimes. “The commission has to insulate itself from all these,” he said.

Earlier this month, the International Crisis Group, an INGO based in Brussels, had in its report on Sri Lanka, raised doubts about the LLRC’s effectiveness. The US government, though, has welcomed the move.

According to the Presidential media unit, the LLRC has been fashioned (in some ways) after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of South Africa and the Iraq Inquiry of Britain. The TRC was launched in Cape Town in 1995 following the end of Apartheid, to study South Africa’s troubled history (from 1960 till 1994). And, the Iraq Inquiry that began in London in July last year has been investigating Britain’s involvement in the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Both commissions had started their proceedings in camera but pressure from civil society groups later made them go public.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Other News Articles
Reconciliation Com. sittings in camera
As flood waters recede, threat of diseases looms
Lanka invites EU for mega development projects
When will the waters recede?
Basil will handle Indian affairs
Ad puts Jaffna mayor in trouble
COPE and PAC members nominated
Tinted glass windows: 450 vehicles detected
Thousands of valuable trees being felled for Mullaitivu resettlement project
Cyclone in Arabian Sea
Wrong methods used to control toxic fumes
Students stabbed and 20 arrested in rugby violence
Deluge in the city: Urban wetlands not doing their bit
Homeless woman ends up inside a bus shelter
Minister defends merger of state drug bodies
One year after: Fonseka jailed but not jolted
It's time to heal wounds and end dirty politics
After the floods: Deluge of promises for long-term solutions
Raining tears of heartbreak
Navy called to blast hole in Katunayake Expressway earthwork
Galle, Ambalangoda residents angered by state failure to respond to flood damage


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2010 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.| Site best viewed in IE ver 6.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution