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Lankan Commission to study last phase of war

world Updated: May 13, 2010 18:49 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) will investigate the failure of the Norway-brokered ceasefire between the Sri Lanka government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that ultimately led to the final phase of the 26-year-long civil war.

Human rights organisations have already said the Commission is too little too late. But the Lankan Cabinet on Thursday approved the setting up of the Commission, recommended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and laid out its broad terms of reference.

Norway mediated the fragile ceasefire between the two parties in 2002. It all but broke down in the middle of 2006 when the army began to mobilise and move against the LTTE which controlled more than 15000 square km at that time.

The Commission, according to the government, will investigate into the ``facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the ceasefire agreement operationalised on 21st February 2002 and the sequence of events that followed thereafter up to the 19th May 2009,’’ when the war ended. The Commission would also look into ``whether any person, group or institutions directly or indirectly bear responsibility in this regard’’ and ``the lessons we would learn from those events and their attendant concerns, in order to ensure that there will be no recurrence.’’ The LLRC will also find the ``methodology whereby restitution to any person affected by those events or their dependents or their heirs, can be effected.’’

Meanwhile, a Sri Lankan committee, again set up by Rajapaksa and probing war crimes, said on Wednesday it does not have the legal power to investigate alleged rights abuses during the final stages of the war, Reuters reported.

Reuters said that the committee of local experts said it has had trouble finding public officials identified in a US State Department report which blamed both sides in the war for committing rights abuses.

The State Department report released last year detailed possible atrocities by both government forces and the LTTE during the final battle.