20 December 2011

LLRC Proposals: let there be no foot-dragging!

When President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a commission to obtain through representations and discussion the lessons learnt from the decades-long conflict, the act was pooh-poohed by his detractors as an exercise in foot-dragging.  Some said he was buckling down to pressure from powerful players in the international community.  Some claimed that the very act was tacit acknowledgment of a certain lacuna in the institutional arrangement of the state and a lack in society in the matter of learning lessons and post-conflict reconciliation.
The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has released its report and the President has tabled it in Parliament.  The members of the commission need to be commended for the time and energy expended and a job well done.  Now it is out of their hands.  It is now a public document that details the lessons learnt and recommendations for reconciliation.  It will no doubt provoke cheers and jeers, some warranted and some not, some on account of political and ideological preferences and some out of a sober and reflective consideration of content.  All this, we will see in the coming weeks.
While it is not useful to speculate on what academics, politicians, political commentators and movers and shakers of the international community will have to say, it might be useful to focus on particular observation by the Commission that could be used as a frame of reference to the politics of report-appraisal. Paragraph 9.120, titled ‘Follow up action on the reports of past Commissions of Inquiry’ strongly recommends ‘the implementation of the recommendations of the Report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry Appointed to Investigate and Inquire into Alleged Serious Violations of Human Rights Arising since August 2005’.
The Commission refers specifically to the deaths of 5 students in Trincomalee in January 2006 and 17 aid workers of the ACF in August 2006, and notes that action on these matters would send a strong signal in ensuring respect for the Rule of Law, which it believes ‘would in turn contribute to the healing process’.
It is easy to say in hindsight that had the Government implemented the recommendations at the time it would have preempted a lot of unnecessary invective and warded off resultant pressure.  That’s a lesson, though and one which the Government could learn and more importantly apply to the recommendations articulated by the LLRC. 
It is good that the President has chosen to place the report in the public domain and not let it gather dust like that controversial but immensely important report of the ‘NGO Commission’ appointed by President Ranasinghe Premadasa.  One hopes that he will take note of the contents and the discussion it provokes, but more crucially that he acts and acts soon and positively in implementing recommendations.  This country, after all, has had its fill of commissions and reports, most of which have served to keep objectors quiet and waiting so that the particular government can safely negotiate the relevant evil hour. 
There’s been objection. There’s been waiting.  There has been patience, grudging and otherwise.  The LLRC was made of eminent persons.  Sri Lankans.  Its report therefore is home-grown, so to speak.  There’s  absolutely no excuse to dilly-dally in implementation.  The President can and must act on it.  It can only increase his stature.  There will be whiners, but the applauders will outnumber them. 
[Editorial, 'The Nation,' December 18, 2011] 
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4 comments:

beautiful sunshine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Malinda Seneviratne said...

there were 2.

Anonymous said...

LLRC does not have any mandate to look into war crimes and human rights abuses.

The Rajapakse regime is an alleged war criminal regime that cannot investigate its own crimes as there is no history of fair investigation and justice delivered in Sri lanka on an ethnic issue.

War Crimes, Gross human rights abuses and R2P are under the international Law and only an international war crimes body including ICC should investigate these crimes against humanity and punish the perpetrators.

malinda is a Sinhala and trying hard to justify the Sinhala actions and paint a picture that the LTTE was a terrorist organization despite LTTE was trained and aided by India and their leaders Mrs. Indra Gandhi and MGR. LTTE was a product of Sinhala racism and state terrorism and not a product of the ordinary Tamils. 34 Journalists were murdered and this Rajapakse regime will not investigate any crimes in the country as the regime forces and agents are involved in the crimes.

Onyl an international independent investigation will deliver fair results as the tamils have no confidence in the Sinhala Apartheid Rajapakse regime.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

LLRC didn't have a mandate to wash anyone's backside either. You are ASSUMING war-crimes, darling. But you got one thing right (above)...the word ALLEGED. You people are BIG on CONJECTURE. But if you want to get to FACT...then of course there's a dude called PRABHAKARAN who did a lot of nasty things to TAMIL people...like STARVING them, holding them HOSTAGE..SHOOTING them when they tried to FLEE. Get the drift?

I am a Sinhalese, yes. Not in the business of justifying ANYTHING on account of identity. Are you saying the LTTE was NOT a terrorist outfit, that Indira did't fund, arm, train etc? WHICH PLANET HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING IN ALL THESE YEARS? :)

And you obviously don't know the meaning of Apartheid. Not surprised.