Those countries wanting to haul Sri Lanka before an international war crimes tribunal, over accountability issues, are preparing to attack the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report, which is now expected to be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Nov. 19 – four days after the lapse of a deadline to finish its work, senior officials say.
Responding to a query by The Island, they say the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and those foreign-funded NGOs based in Colombo are ready to pounce on the report as soon as President Rajapaksa sends it to parliament.
Addressing a group of Sri Lankans based in Australia, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2011) in Perth, Western Australia, President Rajapaksa declared that the LLRC report would be made available to the public through the parliament.
A senior External Affairs Ministry official told The Island that in the wake of the now scheduled release of the long awaited LLRC report, a cohesive effort was needed on the part of the government to meet the impending new offensive by those seeking an international inquiry at the behest of the LTTE. The official said that the LTTE’s failure to force tangible international action against Sri Lanka at the recently concluded Human Rights Council (HRC) Sessions in Geneva in Sept., followed by UNGA in New York and CHOGM 2011 in Perth would make the forthcoming confrontation over LLRC crucial for both parties.
Political sources said that the government was concerned about some Opposition political parties playing politics with the LLRC report, thereby facilitating LTTE’s agenda.
The eight-member LLRC is led by former Attorney General C. R. de Silva.
The presidential commission comprised members of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities. Asked whether the government had studied various commissions appointed by Western powers, such as the US and UK in the recent past, authoritative sources said that Iraq war inquiries by US and UK and the British inquiry into the British complicity in clandestine CIA prisoner transfers had been among them. Their inquiry teams hadn’t included any external elements, though the LLRC targeted on the basis it being comprised retired government officials close to the Rajapaksa administration.
Some Colombo based diplomats, a section of the media and the NGOs had been stepping up pressure on the government and were expected to go all out over the next two weeks in the run-up to the publication of the report. Sources said that they would continue with a sustained campaign to pressure the HRC to take up the LLRC report at its next gathering in Geneva early next year, sources they also recalled attempt to include the LLRC report in the HRC’s agenda even before the finalisation of the long-awaited report.
Sources expected Canada to spearhead the camapign with the support of UK, USA and Australia and so-called human rights watchdogs, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group. All three groups refused to appear before the LLRC in spite of being invited to make representations