Sri Lanka war commission report will be made public

Nov 01, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will made the much-awaited report of Sri Lanka’s reconciliation commission probing the decades long war public, a government minister said Tuesday.

Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris on Tuesday said the President has decided to make the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission to be available for public following its release, expected in the next two weeks.

“President Rajapaksa was categorical in saying that the report would be made public. This will be done after the report is submitted to the President,” Peiris has told reporters.

Western countries and human right organizations calling for an international inquiry in to the allegations of war crimes said to have committed by the government troops in the later stages of the war against Tamil Tigers terrorists are awaiting the report of the Commission.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was initially scheduled to hand over its report to the President on November 15th.

The LLRC Spokesperson Lakshman Wickremasinghe said they are making arrangements to present the report to the President in the second week of November although no definite has yet been set.

The official said the decision to publicize the report was the prerogative of the President.

The United States has repeatedly said that they would wait for the report before making any decision on war crime allegations and if the Sri Lankan government fails to fulfill its obligations then there will be international pressure for an independent mechanism.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. visited Sri Lanka in September to hold discussions with the government officials on LLRC to ensure the commission’s work is thorough and credible.

Seven diplomats, from Western nations, India and others, have told Reuters that a credible report by the LLRC combined with political solution to the ethnic issue would circumvent the need for an outside inquiry.

International human rights organizations Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch have questioned the credibility of the Commission saying that Sri Lankan government’s inquiry into the country’s civil war is fundamentally flawed and provides no accountability for atrocities.

The eight-member Commission, appointed by the President in May 2010 to probe the events during the last seven years of war, commenced its sessions last year and has recorded thousands of oral and written submissions from a cross section of society on the period between 2002 and 2009.

The LLRC held its first sittings on August 11, 2010. In November 2010, the President extended its mandate till May 15, 2011.

According to the spokesman the Commission, chaired by the former Attorney General Chitta Ranjan de Silva, has received over 1,000 oral submissions and over 5,000 written submissions.

The government appointed an Inter-Agency Committee headed by the Attorney General of Sri Lanka to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations made by the LLRC during its inquiry.

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