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LLRC: Another APRC?

‘I do hereby authorize and empower you the said Commissioners, to hold all such inquiries and to make all such investigations into the aforesaid matters …… and require you to transmit to me within six months of the date hereof - (May 15,2010) - President’s directive.

by Rajasingham Jayadevan

(November 04, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) after almost six months of its hearing of mainly opinions and some appeals of war victims, is expected to submit its final report on the November 15, 2010.

The terms of reference clearly states the report must be transmitted to the President within six months. Accordingly the final date for submission of the report must be not later than November 15, 2010.

The LLRC has submitted its interim report and only on October 28, 2010 Sri Lanka’s Cabinet approved a proposal to set up an Advisory Committee (not Action Committee) on the current Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). The Advisory Committee is tasked with looking into the implementation of the interim report of the LLRC.

Assuming that the final report of the LLRC will be transmitted to the President on November 15,2010 what do we expect the next stage of the work to manifest from the report.

The LLRC was asked by its mandate to look into the negative aspects of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) signed with the LTTE in 2002. Will it go beyond this and say things positive about it?

The main actors to the CFA did not give evidence. They are the Norwegians, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe, the LTTE (even Karuna who was involved in the peace CFA process did not come forward) and the others who worked behind the scene to engineer the CFA. Without these crucial witnesses what lessons can be learnt from the LLRC outcome on the CFA.

Even Gen Sarath Fonseka was not asked to give evidence on the war crimes charges against his junior officer.

Further, the leading international Human Rights organisations refused to give evidence on the grounds that the LLRC in not independent and not adequately mandated.

The evidences of the war victims at the LLRC hearings were very limited. The LLRC hearing in the north - the core centre of the latest war ravages, was handled very badly. There was lack of opportunities for the victims to present their cases and the media too was denied access to the hearings.

Having limited and barricaded the northern hearing, some attempts were made in the hearing in the East to show a good image. Witnesses were brought in a limited way as part of the image building exercise for the LLRC.

The Colombo media gave coverage to the heavy weights whom gave evidence on issues but evidences of the victims of the war were mainly ignored.

Will the LLRC recognise the core intention of the CFA was to achieve peace through delegation of powers via devolved administration or will it restrict its report to the co-habitation agenda of the government through economic development and streamlining of the bureaucratic administration?

The interesting of all the negative aspects is of the LLRC is whether and when the President will release the final report to the public and what will be the President’s next stage of the agenda to circumvent the international pressure on several issues not properly dealt by the government.

We already know Professor Tissa Vitharane’s APRC report on constitutional changes is dusted or binned in the President’s office. With the LLRC report also face the same fate?

Politics of coming days and months, post November 15, 2010 will be interesting to watch.

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