Sri Lanka’s much vaunted Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Committee (LLRC) said Thursday it won’t be rushed by anyone into submitting its report.
The magnum opus is due on November 15.
Amid growing international outrage over war crimes and crimes against humanity in the final stage of Sri Lanka’s conflict, the LLRC’s report has strangely emerged as a central device.
The LLRC was set up by Colombo as a delaying tactic to fend off international pressure for both a domestic investigation into the atrocities and a meaningful reconciliation process i.e. a political solution.
Unsurprisingly, the due date of its report has been pushed back repeatedly.
But as evidence of mass killings of Tamil civilians has meanwhile continued to mount, so have demands for a thorough and independent – i.e. international – investigation.
Sri Lanka has meanwhile continued to insist its ‘domestic mechanism’ was sufficient.
As such, rather than serving as a distraction until the international community’s attention drifted elsewhere, the LLRC report now has all eyes on it.
But the LLRC itself seems blind to the context.
“No one can tell us what to do or when we have to do it,” LLRC spokesman Lakshman Wickremasinghe told the Daily Mirror on Thursday.
The LLRC has never come under pressure from the government and said the government is unlikely to request the commission to complete its report in a hurried fashion, he added.
“The commission’s due date is November 15 and that is when we intend on handing in the report as we are duty bound to give it by then.”
Meanwhile, here’s a reminder of the photograph that captured the LLRC’s work ethic (see Athirvu's report and a translation here).
It was taken in Mannar in January 2011 as the panel is being addressed by tearful women who had lost their husbands and children, and relatives of those ‘disappeared’ in military custody.