Sri Lanka will not fully implement own war report

Sri Lanka will not implement all proposals from its civil war commission because the panel went beyond its mandate, a government minister said Monday after a U.N. rights council called for the report’s implementation.

The commission’s report dismissed allegations that government troops deliberately targeted civilians as the long civil war was ending in 2009 but also proposed that complaints of isolated, civilian killings by government troops be investigated. It also said the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels committed serious human rights violations.

When the government presented the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’s report in Parliament in December, it promised the proposals would be implemented.

Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said "the government will have to carefully consider the content of the report and take a decision as to which part of the report has to be implemented."

In certain areas, the report "has gone beyond the mandate of the LLRC," he said at a news conference with six government ministers. Silva refused to elaborate on which parts the government thought were beyond the commission’s mandate.

The government appointed the LLRC in 2010 after an expert panel appointed by U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon started investigating the conduct of both sides in the civil war.

The U.N. report found credible allegations of war crimes against the Sri Lankan government, including deliberate shelling of civilians and blocking food and medical supplies for them. Both reports found evidence the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels were responsible for serious violations.

The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva last week passed a resolution urging Sri Lanka to implement the local commission proposals and investigate allegations of summary executions, kidnappings and other abuses its troops were accused of.

It also asked the government to present a comprehensive action plan detailing the steps implementing the recommendations made in the commission’s report.

Sri Lanka has called the resolution an interference in the country’s internal affairs and has said it could harm attempts at reconciliation. But human rights groups and ethnic Tamil politicians have praised the resolution as an opportunity for the country to build peace.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has urged Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations of the LLRC and "take the necessary measures to address accountability."

[Full Coverage]

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