APPGT – Statement on LLRC
The long awaited report from Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was finally made public on Friday 16 December.
The Government of Sri Lanka has long deflected calls for an international independent investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity stating that the LLRC would fulfil its obligations under international humanitarian laws (IHL) to address accountability. .
Although the report appears to offer a more realistic view of the post-war situation and provide some positive recommendations to address the current human rights concerns in Sri Lanka, the LLRC’s conclusions on the prosecution of the conflict contradict many of the findings of the United Nations Panel of Experts report on Sri Lanka.
However, as anticipated by many reputed human rights groups LLRC report falls short of addressing the evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed during the final phases of the conflict, by the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and fails to advance accountability for the victims.
Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director, has said that “A preliminary review of the report suggests that it acknowledges the very serious human rights problems in Sri Lanka. But where it appears to really falter is in ignoring the serious evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other violations of the laws of war by government forces, even though the report highlights the serious and systematic violations committed by the LTTE”.
“It is clear that justice for conflict-related abuses is not going to happen within Sri Lanka’s domestic institutions. The government has been playing for time by appointing the LLRC. That time has now run out,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
Governments, including the UK, have said they will support the establishment of an international investigation unless the Sri Lankan government demonstrates progress on accountability. Although the LLRC makes welcomed recommendations on the current human rights issues in Sri Lanka, it is deeply flawed in addressing the allegations relating to the final stages of the conflict and providing credible steps towards advancing accountability to those perpetrators.
It is clear that the LLRC attempts to overlook accountability for war crimes and breaches of IHL by recognising the underlying causes of the conflict, highlighting the ground reality and focussing on advancing peace in Sri Lanka through its recommendations. It is important now that the international community holds Sri Lanka to their obligations under international law to allow for an international independent investigation to ensure that the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity get justice and the process of reconciliation can pave the way for lasting peace on the island.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils now expects nothing but a robust engagement with the Sri Lankan State from here on to address issues of accountability
Source: APPGT Statement