The United States and other governments must move without further delay towards an independent international investigation into mass atrocities committed during the Sri Lankan civil war, and desist from lending credibility to Sri Lanka’s sham domestic investigation, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) said in a statement Tuesday. Pointing out that leading international human rights organisations have comprehensively discredited Sri Lanka’s government-appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee (LLRC), TAG said comments by US officials on expectations of the LLRC’s report merely contributed to Colombo’s “duplicitous effort to deflect international scrutiny [of mass atrocities].”
In a 69-page report on the LLRC published last week Amnesty International characterized the body, staffed by government loyalists, as inherently “flawed at every level: in mandate, composition and practice.”
Amnesty’s report echoes similar criticisms in earlier studies by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Crisis Group (ICG). In 2010, all three organisations cited in detail the LLRC’s flaws when they refused Sri Lanka’s invitation to appear before it.
However, ahead of US Assistant Secretary Robert Blake’s visit to Sri Lanka this, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said of the LLRC’s report: “Our first goal is to ensure that it is a good, strong, credible report that can take Sri Lanka forward.”
Noting how the LLRC contravenes the State Department’s own August 2010 criteria for an internationally acceptable war crimes investigation, TAG said such comments assisted Sri Lanka in deflecting international criticism of wartime abuses by its forces.
“[Sri Lanka] has a disturbing record of deceptive national commissions. None of its commissions have resulted in prosecutions of perpetrators of atrocities. They serve instead as delaying tactics to wait out international pressure. The LLRC is the same,” TAG said.
“The U.S government must desist from encouraging Sri Lanka’s duplicity and move forward with a real investigation. This is why we are calling for an immediate independent International mechanism. Anything less adds to the trauma of victims and their families.”