WHAT THE LLRC SHOULD DO NEXT?

The gravitational pull is dragging the administration towards the LLRC, after the Moon report. It has become Sri Lanka’s All-Purpose Vehicle or Home of Last Resort. Its anticipated singular pronouncement is worth more than the contradictory crap coming from official sources. Unwittingly, it has assumed the role of a saviour, for which it was not mandated.

In the LLRC, some members are wise and diplomatic, others pragmatic and sensible; all are honorable and none are faulted except by the Moon panelist in their strategic desire to discredit and disqualify the entirety of the LLRC exercise. Their recommendations can put Sri Lanka in the trophy vault or the sin bin?

 It is imperative an interim report is issued without delay so that the Government can implement the recommendations. The Ministry of External Affairs sent the Moon report to the LLRC to deliberate; ignoring is the best snub for Moon and Ministry. The answer is elementary; it does not fall within the mandate of the Commission. No response from any quarter should flow to the Moon’s Report except to the international community highlighting its infirmities by an unofficial body. A silly document should be made look sillier by silently ignoring the contents.

There are four areas on which the recommendations should be made by the LLRC
[1] Tamil Grievances.

The priority issue that I have been harking back so often have made a few call me a tiger in sheep clothing as well as a Sinhala chauvinist. Both are backhand compliments. Though there has been massive development in the North and East, the pressing legitimate grievances of the Tamil people remain untouched- partly being insensitive to the live issues of the Tamil people and the incapacity to comprehend them. Development has brought economic resurgence but to a backward community that has suffered for 30 years of terrorism, that alone is not sufficient. Further devolution through the 13th amendment, will only take those ambitious politicians in India and Sri Lanka, swiftly to the state of Elam.It’s the hearts and minds of the Tamil people that must be won and not that of the purchasable TNA MPs’ standing on shifting sands. There pressing problems stretching for years – caused by the government and the LTTE – must be alleviated.

LLRC has given a patient hearing to voices-little else have they done- and should be possessed of the known legitimate grievances of the Tamils. Now is the time to list them with the remedies and make the government implement them and if they fail, public opinion should rise to compel them. This is a problem we should not bequeath to the next generation. Let not the LLRC stand accused in history of being the house of missed opportunities? Future will glorify or crucify them!

(2) Internal Mechanism

The West is pointing a direction to overcome our problem. The finger is pointed towards having our domestic methodology to answer the allegations. We cannot afford to live on a tiny island like Robinson Crusoe.

The LLRC must direct the government to make the systems within our sovereign constitution function credibly, transparently and effectively and not allow it to be taken outside our laws rules and procedures. It should be placed on a fast track through an institution like the Criminal Justice Commission (which once heard cases against the JVP insurgents and exchange control violators) with three Supreme Court judges sitting. Any accusation is best attended fast without delay in the interest of the accuser and accused and still more for Sri Lanka; the Police and the AG’s Department should be rapped for its lackadaisical attitude.

The LLRC must set up a bureau with units in the North and East, under its control to entertain complaints and to forward them to institutions for action and monitor until such is initiated. LLRC has gained respectability and is ideally poised to do such  recording service by trained agents and must be given an extension of time, funds and mandate. There is no comparable institution that the Tamil civilians will feel more comfortable to speak forth their minds. Indeed it is the initial complaint that need be safeguarded and acted upon; the safest custodian is the LLRC.

The envisaged complaint procedure should be in addition to others presently functional for such purposes. Provision must be made for any complaint made/recorded by an identifiable individual be forwarded to the LLRC for immediate action. The complainants must be kept informed regularly on the progress of his complaint.

If it reaches the stage of action being filed in court, there must be a witness protection system evolved. Any investigational insufficiency or impropriety should be reportable to the LLRC that must be invested with a staff to handle such situations.Private prosecutors must be permitted to participate at the trial if the accuser so desires along with the public prosecutor. The due process of law should take over with the independence of the judiciary safeguarded. The LLRC should be the post box to register complaints if any made during the period of the investigation and trial and should be forwarded to relevant authorities and the LLRC should ensure it is acted upon.

The LLRC must give public notice of the safeguards provided to complainants and witnesses.

After the initial period if the LLRC is unable or unwilling to perform such services, the government must set up an alternate body to carry out such functions but permit the LLRC –not the government- to select the members and officials to man such an institution and similar powers should be granted to its successors for purpose of aloofness from the state.

 (3) Good Governance

The issue of good governance is the front-runner for the proposed internal mechanism. International recognition will flow to the credibility of the internal mechanism, if there is good governance and it is on this aspect that the LLRC must come down severely on the government, which looks palpably weak. Indeed the credibility of the LLRC itself, is at stake on its observations? If they are prepared to fire at the government, it is their reputation that will be enhanced.

 It is indeed an aspect, the so-called good Samaritans in civil society should have alerted the LLRC but failed, understandably as they are not interested in improving the image of Sri Lanka but rather to degenerate it.

LLRC must show that the government’s track record is woeful on good governance and impress- if there is no marked improvement it could have repercussions on the country profile.

(4) Terrorism Commission

There must be a recommendation for the appointment of a Terrorism Commission that must make a complete study on the aspects of terrorism in Sri Lanka and report to the world the steps that should be taken to prevent it happening and its accountability. Is LTTE’s accountability for terror of 30 years, especially the gruesome ethnic cleansing exercises that affected the Muslims and Sinhalese and violence, discounted because the leadership is no more? Will it get wiped off the slate on the basis that the horrendous crimes committed with intent against civilians have none to answer?

Society still harbours those that covertly and tacitly supported them logistically, financially and politically. Some cheered the LTTE enjoyed their company and gained mileage, others impliedly and tacitly supported the LTTE from a distance. The law of abetting is just a street away from committing.

The West is showing a way to traverse; our true friends in the hour of need are ready to fight for us, while India our closest neighbour and should be our closest ally, stays mutely silent. They undid us once, are they trying it twice? Friendship is recipocal. We should follow a course in lending a helping hand to our friends and listen to the not so friendly if they are coming to our assistance.

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