| by Tamil National Alliance
( January 16, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) As the elected representatives of the worst affected victims of the war, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has consistently maintained that genuine reconciliation in Sri Lanka is contingent on a credible accountability process that ensures the right of victims to truth, justice and reparations. On 15th May 2010, the President appointed the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and held out to the world that this Commission would address accountability issues.
The LLRC’s processes and practices have failed to win the confidence of the Tamil community. The Commission also falls dramatically short of international standards applicable to accountability processes.
The ethnic and gender imbalance in the membership, the conflicts of interest and patent lack of independence of the members, the general lack of competence of the majority of members in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law, and the absence of any consultation whatsoever with the victims’ representatives and the larger Tamil community with regard to its mandate, processes and practices, call the independence and competence of the LLRC into serious doubt.
Moreover, the LLRC’s methodology assigned relatively lower importance to victims’ perspectives. The LLRC was also under-resourced and understaffed for the task of pursuing genuine accountability for violations during the last stages of the war. For instance, the time the Commission spent gathering evidence in the North and East, relative to the time spent in Colombo, was woefully inadequate. The Commission spent a mere twenty-two days in the North and East in total, compared to the fifty-six days spent on hearings in Colombo. The Commission often cited the lack of time as the reason for cutting short the testimony of witnesses. In many cases, prospective witnesses were never given the opportunity to testify and were requested to merely send in their concerns to the Commission in writing.
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