Disappointed And Unhappy: The TNA On The LLRC Report

Rajavarothiam ampanthan

By Maryam Azwer

Following the release of the much-awaited final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) issued a statement claiming that issues of accountability were not adequately dealt with in this report.

The TNA, who had displayed a certain degree of apprehension towards the report even long before its release, has now also stated that the report is “a serious assault on the dignity of the victims of the war in Sri Lanka.”
In an interview with The Sunday Leader last week, TNA leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan expressed a lack of faith in the effectiveness of LLRC’s report, in not only addressing the matter of accountability, but also in contributing to the much discussed reconciliation process.
Excerpts from the interview:

Q: Are you satisfied with the final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission?
A: We issued a statement in regard to this matter. The composition and mandate of the LLRC in our view had certain fundamental flaws. However we refrained from making any criticism about the LLRC because everyone in the country was looking forward to see what the LLRC would come up with.

Q: Since the end of the conflict there have been several allegations of war crimes committed during the final stages of the conflict. Do you think these issues have been adequately addressed in the LLRC’s final report?
A: The Government prevailed upon the international community to await the report of the LLRC, stating that this report would address the concerns of the international community. The concerns of the international community were primarily focused on the violation of international human rights laws and international humanitarian laws.
The report released by the Committee of Experts appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations to advise the Secretary General on accountability issues clearly stated that on the basis of the material available, there were credible allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, both by the Government of Sri Lanka and by the LTTE. The focus was primarily on this issue in the public domain.
The report of the LLRC clearly finds the LTTE culpable of such grave violations. In regard to the Sri Lankan state, the report of the LLRC seeks to exonerate the Sri Lankan state in regard to such violations.
In our statement already issued, we have primarily dealt with this question. We had raised in Parliament issues pertaining to such violations on the part of the Sri Lankan state as and when the war was being prosecuted, and as and when such violations occurred. These are matters of record. We do not have the slightest doubt that we stated the truth in Parliament, in regard to whatever happened contemporaneously. I do not recall any definite denial by the Government of any such allegations made.
We are therefore disappointed with the report of the LLRC on this particular issue of accountability with regard to violation of international humanitarian laws and international human rights laws by the Sri Lankan state. This was the main issue in the public domain and we have every reason to be unhappy with the report of the LLRC on this issue.

Q: How fairly do you think the LLRC has dealt with issues concerning the Tamil people of Sri Lanka?
A: It is our view that the report of the LLRC does not do justice to the victims who were largely very many thousands of Tamil civilians. If the objective of these exercises are genuine reconciliation amongst the different peoples who inhabit our country, the report of the LLRC does not make a helpful contribution towards this process. It is our view that on this issue the truth has not been ascertained, and the truth is fundamental for there to be genuine reconciliation.

Q: The report has acknowledged certain incidents, such as the detention of innocent people, and that civilians were killed, even if not intentionally. What do you think will come out of these acknowledgements?
A: It is our view that the report of the LLRC does not do justice to the victims who were largely very many thousands of Tamil civilians. If the objective of these exercises are genuine reconciliation amongst the different peoples who inhabit our country, the report of the LLRC does not make a helpful contribution towards this process. It is our view that on this issue the truth has not been ascertained, and the truth is fundamental for there to be genuine reconciliation.

Q: The report has acknowledged certain incidents, such as the detention of innocent people, and that civilians were killed, even if not intentionally. What do you think will come out of these acknowledgements?
A: The fundamental thing is, in regard to civilians being killed or people being detained, they have sought to take the position that these were isolated incidents committed by individual soldiers. They have not gone into the question of whether these violations systematically continued over a long period of time, in which event they cannot be classified as isolated incidents.

Q: The LLRC has also set out several recommendations. Do you think these recommendations will be implemented by the state?
A: It must be acknowledged that the LLRC in their report have also referred to other matters such as the political solution, the reasons for the failure to evolve a political solution, questions pertaining to language, questions pertaining to law and order, matters pertaining to armed paramilitary Tamil groups and such other issues, and stressed the need for these issues to be addressed on an urgent basis.
The LLRC has also lamented the fact the Sri Lankan state has not implemented its interim recommendations, which dealt with issues such as detainees, land, and Tamil paramilitary groups, amongst others. These issues that have been referred to the LLRC are widely known and have been widely talked about. The Sri Lankan state’s record with regard to these issues has been dismal. Given the track record of the Sri Lankan state, the Tamil people have no reason to believe that the recommendations of the LLRC in their final report would be implemented by the Sri Lankan state.
One has no reason whatever to conclude that the future would be any different from what it has been in the past. Discrimination and arbitrary treatment of Tamils and not delivering on their legitimate aspirations and rights is a continuing phenomena. There is no reason to conclude that the Sri Lankan state, given its track record, will implement the final recommendations contained in the LLRC report any better than it has done in regard to the interim recommendations contained in the LLRC report.
These are the reasons for which we take the view that the LLRC has not produced a report that can bring about transformation of the situation in Sri Lanka. The final report of the LLRC would facilitate the Sri Lankan state to continue as it has done in the past, and will not place the Sri Lankan state under any compulsion to deliver on anything.

Q: In the event that these recommendations are implemented, how far do you believe this will help post-war reconciliation?
A: I don’t think the LLRC report would make any substantial contribution to reconciliation. You cannot compare the LLRC report to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. The word ‘truth’ does not occur anywhere in the terms of reference issued to the Commission, pertaining to their mandate. This Commission was not entrusted with the task of ascertaining the truth. How can such a report contribute towards reconciliation?

Q: The White Flag incident has not been addressed by the LLRC report. What do you have to say about this?
A: Well, we have all heard stories about the White Flag. I did not speak about it in Parliament because I was not in possession of facts pertaining to that matter. It is now in the public domain and calls for an independent and impartial investigation. Beyond that I wouldn’t say anything.

Q: What else, in your opinion, has not been addressed by the LLRC in this report?
A: They haven’t addressed the fundamental issues that they ought to have addressed. I do not know if they conducted investigations to ascertain the truth about the fundamental issue of accountability, because quite frankly, that was not covered by their mandate..

9 Comments for “Disappointed And Unhappy: The TNA On The LLRC Report”

  1. jamis aiia

    Warning – some of the links are graphic.

    Keep your audio on
    Sri lankan victims the UN wants to forget
    Spare a moment in prayer and meditation during this Christmas time for the following Sri Lankan victims – the UN wants to forget, but whom we Canadian-Sri Lankans are forever indebted to …………..

    Only Some of the Bomb Blasts and innocents killed are listed…………..

    Abimanpura LTTE Terrorists attack a civilian bus 18 killed

    Moratuwa Bomb Blast 2008.06.06 19 killed

    Piliyandala Bus Bomb Blast on 25th April 2008 at 6.40 PM 10 killed

    Katubedda 20 KILLED

    Anuradhapura MORE THAN 120 KILLED







    Polgolla, Kandy

    Dambulla -18 killed

    LTTE killed 9 school children in Colombo

    LTTE Terrorist Bomb Blast in Nugegoda – 28 Nov 2007


    Bomb Blast in Colombo – Detail News 16/05/2008

    Colombo-Fort RailwayStation


    LTTE Terrorist Blast Another Bus Bomb – Sep 16 2008

    Social Services and Social Welfare Ministry

    Slave Island

    Mt. Lavinia, Sri Lanka Bus Bomb – 23-02-2008

    Bomb explosion at Dehiwela 7 killed

    68 killed at DEHIWELA Railway Station

    Dehiwela Zoo


    LTTE Terrorists Bomb Kills 4 Including 2 School Children

    LTTE Attack Kebithigollewa 26 killed

    Escaping civilians from LTTE hostage


    See IT From Your Eyes : How LTTE Terrorists Shoot Innocent Civillians

    Minister Lalith-Athulathmudali killed
    Minister Gamini Dissanayake Killed

    Prime Minister Premadasa Killed

    Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle- killed

    General Ranjan Wijeratne -killed


    Gen Janaka Perera- killed

    General Denzil Kobbekaduwa -Killed

    .……and many many others whom I may have missed.

    May they Rest in Peace – they sacrificed themselves for us and our future generations……………………………….


    James Corea

  2. shan

    accountability! what malle pol!

  3. Mervyn

    TNA should realize that 80% of the population in Sri Lanka is Singhalese, and of the balance 20% approx. 9% is Tamils and the balance is Muslims and Burghers. However the Govt. is treating everybody alike . It has accepted English/Tamil/Singhalese as official languages. Every Provincial councils has the same laws to abide by. It should be noted that majority of Tamils who are suffering now is mainly because of the iron clad behavior of the Tamil Terrorist Group LTTE to which you acted as the mouth piece and not because of the Govt.’s hap hazard actions. Now the Govt. is bringing all kinds of developments, very specially to north and east. Think, even though there are millions of foreigners live and work in England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain etc There is only one official language in these countries i.e. the language of the majority of citizens. In some of these countries even the directional boards are written only in one language but in SrI Lanka in three languages. So why do you want special treatments, why can’t you live like the others who live in other parts of the country. Will the Tamil Nadu provincial council give special privileges, the type you are asking to foreigners. I do not think so.

  4. Tharind

    Sampanthan: ” I do not know if they conducted investigations to ascertain the truth about the fundamental issue of accountability”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What an incredible statement! The LLRC went to the areas in north Sri Lanka where the witnesses and victims of the final stages of the war live and interviewed them. This gathering of information went on for several months. Is Sampanthan not aware of this? Where has he been all this time?

    Sampanthan’s conclusion that the LLRC has not adequately addressed the issue is based on one premise: “Given the track record of the Sri Lankan state, the Tamil people have no reason to believe that the recommendations of the LLRC in their final report would be implemented by the Sri Lankan state”. In other words, it is because of a lack of faith in the government to follow up on the LLRC report with further invetigations and, where required, prosecution of war criminals that they are not satisfied. What we can conclude from Sampanthan’s remarks is that they cannot deny that the recommendations of the LLRC, if implemented, would satisfactorily address the war crimes issue. If Sampanthan did not think this was the case he would have said so, rather than employing this feeble argument regarding the track record of Sri Lankan governments over the years – thus ignoring the real question of whether the LLRC report was satisfactory.

    It is approproiate for international bodies like the UN to continue monitoring the progress of the domestic actions towards accountability in Sri Lanka. However, they must acknowledge that it is an ongoing process. Sampanthan tries to give the impression that this process was concluded with the releasing of the LLRC report. The LLRC was only the first step. It has determined that the evidence that war crimes may have been committed is adequate for FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS TO BE CONDUCTED. This will likely result on the prosecution of induvidual members of the armed forces, as no evidence was uncovered to suggest the invovement of government or military leaders.

  5. Roshan

    Besides , who are these billy-goats? Have we forgotten what these so called “politicians” we’re? Weren’t they just terrorist backers working hard to please the “Pig thug” himself?? Does not the country have enough laws to hang these idiots fir high treason?
    Just so that everyone rembers, the Tamil terrorists fraught a war, funded their thugs and at the end pathetically lost, the “pig” himself was slaughtered! And this old hag is talking about accountability, des he not understand we need to start the process by investigating him n hs other LOOSers first?
    This s the biggest problem, leaving aside their ” maha Bharatha” type mythical concept of ” home land” , they are yet to understand n acknowledge if they are to be treated as equels n fairly , the Tamils first should accept they are a part of the ” country ” but not a special kind of species that deserves special treatment!
    If you don’t want to ” included” why should others bend backwards to include you??

  6. telltale

    With respect to Tharind, accountability is not solely to investigate how many people were effected by the war. The LLRC did just that. Accountability is also to find out who caused those ‘effects’. The LLRC says everything that happened to cause those ‘effects’ were the LTTE.
    If so, why on earth were the war machines deployed in the war zone?

  7. Sri

    The infamous ‘white flag’ case is not even mentioned in the LLRC Report wheras it was much in the news that the former Defence Secretary, UN SG ‘s Chief Nambiar and Noprwys’ Eric Solheim were all involved in various ways.The failuer of teh LLRC Report to even mention the matter isagain part of the serious deficit on acccountabilty yet awaiting flushing out.
    The LLRC makes not even mention of aerial bombardments and type of WMD bombs used towards the end of the war. How could the LLRC failed to unarvl thsi open secret known to the public? The TNA are thus jutified to complain about LLRC deficits yet awaiting UN action. Such actions could not be the result of individuals surely but a major operational decision at much higher levels. With the former Army Head in prison what prevented the LLRC from interviewing him there?

  8. laughter is the best medicine

    First “faltering step” took two and half years!!! Next step will atleast take another two and half years.

    They went to the North and East and interviewed whom they chose, there were several people who were threatened, sent back. Only the people under “captivity” were given prominence. What do you expect the people in captivity to tel under threat of their life!!!

    The whole exercise was conducted by the people who are chosen by the accused themselves. Do you expect them to be fair? This is just an eye wash to hood wink the International community!!!

  9. R.M. B Senanayake

    The LLRC has agreed that there are credible allegations just as the Darusman Report. What is lacking is road map for the investigation of such allegations. They relate to violations of the Laws of War and Humanitarian Law. The International Community will want the integrity of these internatioanl laws to be maintianed. This requires full investigation in the first instance and thereafter punishment or amnesty. The ascertainment of the truth is of primary importance as a basis for future reconciliation.

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