Sri Lanka will make public its report into the end of the civil war with the Tamil Tigers, the foreign minister said on Tuesday, seeking to allay concerns in the West, which has in the past pushed for an international probe into war crimes allegations.
Seven diplomats, from Western nations, India and others, have told Reuters that a credible report by the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) would, in conjunction with political concessions to minority Tamils, obviate the need for an outside inquiry.
Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris said the LLRC’s findings, due to be presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Nov. 15, would be released, although he did not give a timeframe.
“The president has categorically stated it will be a public document,” Peiris told a press briefing after what he said was a successful summit of Commonwealth countries in Perth where the spotlight was on Sri Lanka, the next summit host.
A U.N.-sponsored report on Sri Lanka says there is “credible evidence” the military killed thousands of civilians at the climax of a quarter-century war with the Tamil Tigers, which ended in Sri Lankan victory in May 2009.
Sri Lanka rejects the allegations as concocted by the global supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in connivance with human rights groups and Western nations that host significant Sri Lankan Tamil populations.
Asked if he thought the LLRC report would make substantial enough conclusions and recommendations to satisfy Western pressure for accountability, Peiris said: “Of course we think the LLRC report will dispel doubts and answer the questions.”
Peiris called the Commonwealth meeting that ended on Sunday “an unqualified success for Sri Lanka”.
CHOGM ‘A SUCCESS’
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Canada would boycott the next summit due to be held in Sri Lanka in 2013 if Colombo did not address human rights matters. A host of rights lobbies and pro-LTTE groups also pushed for a venue change.
“The question of venue was never revisited for one moment,” Peiris said of the attempts. “It was dead in the water.”
He also said Sri Lanka was happy that an attempt to create a Commonwealth human rights monitor was defeated, and that a “vexatious attempt” to sue Rajapaksa over war crimes by a self-admitted LTTE supporter was quashed by Australia’s government.
Sri Lanka however will next face concerted Western pressure over war crimes at the March session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the diplomats told Reuters.
It fended off a move to have its LLRC report and rights record discussed in the September session, also led by Canada, by arguing the report must first be finished and then studied.
The United States has said Sri Lanka must establish some kind of accountability for civilian deaths at the war’s end and must also deliver a political deal to the Tamil population, which is a minority.
“Until they give a political settlement, the war crimes matter will not go away. It is the leverage,” said a European ambassador who served in Sri Lanka during the war and its aftermath.
(Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)