Evaluating the National Plan of Action to implement LLRC recommendations
By Vositha Wijenayake
“Twenty eight per cent of the LLRC recommendations are omitted by the National Plan for Action to Implement the Recommendations of the LLRC,” says Sri Lanka: LLRC Implementation Monitor, a recently published statistical and analytical review by Verit¬é Research.
The LLRC Implementation Monitor, a study with three objectives focuses on publicising a list of the actual number of distinct recommendations in the LLRC which are identified and categorized according to the constructive categories mentioned in the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 19/2 on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka. It also examines the extent to which these distinct recommendations have been incorporated into the National Plan of Action to Implement the Recommendations of the LLRC (NPA), and assesses the NPA’s content, time frames, key performance indicators and implementing agencies.
The final report of the LLRC was released to the public on 16 December 16, 2011 and the NPA drawn up by the Government of Sri Lanka was released to the public on July 26, 2012. The plan specifies time frames, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and responsible agencies with respect to the future implementations of the LLRC recommendations.
The total of 180 recommendations needs to be implemented. However the LLRC Implementation Monitor provides that 13 recommendations out of the original number are not actionable in their current form, being directly related to the Land Circular No.2011/04, which was subsequently withdrawn. Thus the number of implementable recommendations remains at 167.
The review provides, “Popular discussion of the LLRC cites the number of recommendations in the LLRC Report as 285. This number emerges from the fact that the LLRC Report, in its ninth chapter, has 285 paragraphs. However, upon close scrutiny, it is clear that many of those paragraphs contain observations or comments, rather than recommendations.”
The calculated time frames for the recommendations by the review illustrate that only 27% of the 167 recommendations need more than a year to be implemented, 23% could be implemented within one month and the rest is assessed as being implementable within one year. Furthermore it presents that out of the 167 LLRC recommendations, 69 (41.3%) recommendations are fully included in the NPA, 51 recommendations (30.5%) are partly included while 47 recommendations (28.1%) have been omitted.
Gehan Gunatilleke, co-author of the LLRC Implementation Monitor said, “Several of the assigned timeframes in the NPA appear to be unsatisfactory, owing to being overly long, too short to be effective, or unspecified. This is the same concerning the Key Performance Indicators.”
He further added, “Some issues relating to the implementing agencies currently assigned in the NPA to implement specific recommendations include the inappropriate selection of agencies, the non-selection of appropriate agencies and the lack of clarity as to the functions of selected agencies. Moreover, it is not clear as to whether at present there is an agency that is tasked with the overall monitoring of the implementation of the NPA.”
The LLRC Implementation Monitor observes that the NPA falls back on existing procedures and institutions, while the LLRC specifically calls for new procedures and institutions. One such examples is the call of the LLRC for the establishment of a Special Commissioner of Investigation to investigate alleged disappearances, whereas the NPA invokes the present procedures and seeks to enhance the Government Information Centre. It also indicates that the LLRC recommendations are subjected to re-examination rather than implementation. It indicates the LLRC Report calling for legislation to ‘specifically criminalize enforced or involuntary disappearances’ while the NPA does not envisage the formulation and presentation of this legislation to Parliament.
Among some of the recommendations that have been omitted from the NPA are providing redress to families of those killed or injured, providing redress for those affected by hospital shelling regardless of which party is culpable in the said shelling, and examining the humanitarian issue of medical supplies to civilians in conflict areas during the final days of the war considering all relevant factors upon which the supplies can be assessed.
When questioned as to what he sees as the future of the implementations of the LLRC recommendations, he said, “It is important to remain positive. There is still potential for implementing many of the recommendations. However, there must be accuracy in the information provided to the public. As far back as in July 2012, the Government was reported to have claimed that over 50% of the LLRC recommendations were already implemented. This percentage has to be tested for accuracy and the actual status of implementation needs to be closely monitored.”