The LLRC report and ‘accountability’ in Sri Lanka

Readers will find no big surprises after reading the final report of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

It is very much what most people were expecting. A document that looks to the future, exonerates the military, does not touch on the question of accountability and includes some touchy-feely language about the country’s need to move forward, celebrate its diversity and be grateful for the defeat of terrorism.

Essentially, all civilian casualties were the result of people caught in the crossfire or were the LTTE’s fault. “The protection of the civilian population was given the highest priority” by the Sri Lankan armed forces, the Commission has determined. The report also claims that military operations moved at a “deliberately slow” pace because Sri Lanka’s military personnel were so careful and cognizant of the dangers to civilian life during the final phases of the conflict.

While the LTTE deliberately targeted civilians, it appears that Sri Lanka’s military did not, according to the LLRC report. That assertion goes against what most people seem to think, including the report produced by the United Nation’s Panel of Experts. In order to determine “questions of State responsibility,” the LLRC report goes on to note that an “international tribunal” would be unhelpful because there just is not enough evidence about what actually happened during the final phase of the conflict. Essentially, it would be nearly impossible to “re-create” what actually occurred in a court of law. The Commission found that it was just too challenging to give even an estimate of civilian casualties during the end of the war.

The Commission also found it difficult to determine what happened regarding the shelling of hospitals. Although, it is clear to the Commission that Sri Lankan military personnel never intentionally went after civilians in the No Fire Zones(NFZs) either.

The report talks about remuneration for victims/survivors, especially civilians. Again, this is not a big surprise either. Most people thought that the LLRC Report would recommend that the government “throw some money” at a few people.

Although, the responsible entity for doing so, the Rehabilitation of Persons, Properties and Industries Authority (REPPIA) is currently suffering from a lack of funds so it is uncertain how that will play out in the years to come.

The Commission’s analysis of the current challenges facing Sri Lanka appears to be slightly more realistic than the rest of the report. Land issues, minority rights and the possibility that militarization in the North might be a bit too much are all mentioned. And yet “The Commission however recognizes the fact that considering the protracted nature of the conflict spanning a period of thirty years, resolving all such issues would naturally take time and require significant resources and financing.”

So, Sri Lankans and the international community must be patient, of course. Wait, wait, wait—there is always something to wait for in the pursuit of accountability in Sri Lanka. And of course the Commission has found that the most responsible way to approach accountability and the pursuit of national reconciliation would be to establish some additional “independent” bodies to help achieve this. The Commission has even suggested that the Sri Lankan government conduct an investigation to ascertain the veracity of the Channel 4 documentary “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields.” Evidently, authentication by United Nations specialists is insufficient. While the video does contain certain inaccuracies, it still provides credible evidence that widespread violations of human rights and international law were committed by Sri Lankan military personnel.

There is some fluffy prose about promoting a trilingual Sri Lanka and finding a political solution to address the long-term grievances of the Tamil people. Sri Lanka is still loaded with ethnic tension. Does anyone really believe that a “trilingual Sri Lanka” in the next ten years is a feasible goal?

So, the question is not whether or not the LLRC is insufficient. (It is obviously a weak report, and, in some ways, undoubtedly weaker than what even the most pessimistic people were expecting). The question is whether people sitting in Western capitals (like the US, UK and Canada) who were demanding “accountability” are going say that this report is good enough.

Was the statement made by US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, a genuine articulation of US policy that the Obama administration will pursue aggressively? How hard will the US and other countries push Sri Lanka on the question of accountability over the next twelve months? Does Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper really care about accountability in Sri Lanka? (Or does he just care that Tamil Canadians think it is important to him).

Many people were waiting for the publication of this report. Sri Lanka, the UN’s Panel of Experts report and the LLRC should be topics of enormous interest at the Human Rights Council’s 19th session in Geneva this March.

It is unclear how events will unfold early next year in Washington, New York, Geneva, London, Ottawa and elsewhere. It would be nice to see a country from the Global South speak out strongly against the LLRC report as well.

What is clear is that if President Rajapaksa is able to get through the next two cycles of the Human Rights Council unscathed, accountability and the idea of an international mechanism will become afterthoughts.

Sri Lanka is currently struggling with numerous problems related to human rights, media freedom, governance and national reconciliation, which the current regime shows no interest in resolving. Yet a balanced, accurate recounting of what actually transpired at the end of the war is vital. Human Rights Watch has already come out with a strong statement condemning the report and others from international organizations will inevitably follow.

It is hard to imagine that a reasonable person (who has been following events in Sri Lanka closely) could buy “the story” that is the LLRC. But if other countries are placated by this biased, inaccurate and disappointing report loaded with lacunae, it will be incumbent upon Sri Lankan citizens and civil society leaders to demand more transparency and better governance from their politicians.

International mechanisms and should never be the first option when it comes to accountability, in Sri Lanka or anywhere else. Yet, it has become increasingly clear that Sri Lanka’s domestic institutions are inadequate—particularly as it relates to the rule of law, the judiciary, media freedom and the protection of individual liberties. There is some skepticism about how much consensus could be garnered at the Human Rights Council, as is the case with any multilateral body.

Irrespective of how the Commission was formed, or how biased the Commission might be, President Rajapaksa was given a chance (and rightfully so) to prove that Sri Lanka was capable of looking into credible allegations of war crimes in 2009. People waited patiently for the LLRC to produce its final report.

The production of a mediocre report would have at least given the Sri Lankan government a chance to make a “decent” argument in with foreign governments, in Geneva and other in other international forums. Yet the LLRC is painfully inadequate, especially when it comes to the veneration of the armed forces and the Commission’s inordinately generic and general comments about the behavior of Sri Lankan military personnel at the conclusion of the war.

The publication of the LLRC report is one more sign that Rajapaksa’s regime thinks it can do whatever it wants and face no consequences for its actions.

There is a good chance that the regime is right.

It will take significant political will, leadership and courage if Rajapaksa’s regime is going to be held accountable at the UN’s Human Rights Council, or anywhere else. The US government has just come out and said that they have some serious concerns about the report.[1] “Concern” is one thing, real action is another.

US State Department Spokesman Nuland’s recent statement not only decries the fact that the report is insufficient. She goes on to say that, in addition to fulfilling all of the recommendations in the LLRC report, the Sri Lankan government should deal with the issues (and there are many) that the report did not include.

It is hard imagine that the Rajapaksa regime will comply with this request with alacrity, if it does at all. If other influential governments come out with similar or far more critical responses to the LLRC, it will be interesting to see how the Sri Lanka government will respond. Of course, sovereignty will lie at the heart of their defense, but they will need a more nuanced riposte than that. Rajapaksa’s regime has proven itself to be extremely effective when it comes to consistent, coherent messaging and the manipulation of high-level diplomatic visits in Sri Lanka.

Yet, one would hope that the efficacy of the tactics and strategy that they have used quite well in the past would wane with the publication of this underwhelming report.

Nuland’s comments are an encouraging sign. Hopefully, they will be followed by concrete action by Washington and many others, including those Sri Lankans who have already suffered so much and deserve a better, impartial, more detailed account of what actually happened in April and May of 2009.

[Editors note: A version of this article first appears in the Journal of Foreign Relations.]

  • Ranjith

    The author of this article’s main complain is that there are no ‘big surprises’ and the findings ‘go against what people think’. This is based on the premise that what people think is the truth and the findings of the investigation is therefore not true !!!.

    In otherwords, if the report re-affirmed what people (in this case the foreigners I suppose) think, then this will be a credible report !!!.

    It also accuses the report of not aggreeing with the asertions of the Darusman Report, which did not investigate in Sri Lanka, but elsewhere as if that was right.

    The entire piece is a lament against not being able to blame the Sri Lankan army and the MR; as the writer had expected. There is no analysis here; just the expression of frustration.

    • OpenEyes

      The point is very simple: all have rights to own opinion, but consider a simple fact:
      typically, in democratic societies (such as Sri Lanka), when reports from independent commissions are made public, the government normally has some reservations on its findings and does openly criticise some of the statements and works to put perspectives out to ensure the government’s position is understood.
      There has been no such reaction from the SL Government of such nature hence, the doubt that this is actually a product of the government is somewhat well founded!
      There is no need to take crticism as a personal attack! And don’t think that the sri lankan people or otherwsie the “international community” are homogeneous entities! So don’t generalise but ask and demand from your government to be more open. This will actually better serve you and your family too.

  • Ranjith

    The author says, “It would be nice to see a country from the Global South speak out strongly against the LLRC report as well” why would it be nice ?. He is looking for some support from somewhere, which does not seem to exist except in the West !!!

  • Amba Yaluwaa

    While I appreciate some of the criticisms made here of the LLRC Report, I can’t help but notice an anti-GoSL bias in this argument, just as the GoSL has an anti-“Everyone Who Thinks We Did Wrong” bias in theirs. I thought the LLRC Report did a fine job in fulfilling its mandate. It was never mandated to address issues of accountability in the first place, so that was expected – there is little point harping on about it.

    The way I see it, the LLRC takes an agnostic stance on the controversial final phase of the conflict. It says the international community’s allegations cannot be proven on the basis of current evidence, but does not deny the possibility that these allegations are true. The GoSL are non-believers, or atheists, firmly denying the allegations and any truth in them. The international community, on the other hand, are theists. They firmly believe their allegations of war crimes can be proven and are placing pressure on the ‘non-believers’ in the GoSL to ‘believe’ or at least ‘seek the truth.’

    In this light, I think the LLRC did a fair job in finding the middle ground. It was sensitive to the domestic context in that it did not address key areas of conflict that could jeopardize political stability and national unity, while it was cognizant (a word that is used a lot in the Report)of the international context, taking an almost groveling stance in trying to appease the international community’s concerns over violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

    • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

      @Amba Yaluwaa
      “In this light, I think the LLRC did a fair job in finding the middle ground.” If there is a Guinness record for understatements of the century, this statement of yours would win first place, hands down!

      • Amba Yaluwaa

        Thank you.

  • Suventhilatha Thillai

    How can Sri Lankans take these issues further when LLRC fails to recognise the basic aspect of war crimes committed by the Sri Lanka Army soldiers ?

    The Tamil Human Rights issues in LLRC report are not dealt with in anyway satisfactorily to the victims of the “zero casualty humanitarian operation”.

    The Report will be of little concern to satisfying innocent victims in the immediate future.

    It is interesting to note that GOSL does not want any funding of HR activities from the IC – making it convenient to step in, as they did with the IIEPG last when the costs of video conferencing was involved using Treasury funds directly under MR?

  • Gnanam Selvaratnam

    I actually think that the LLRC did a surprisingly good job and I don’t believe GOSL were whitewashed.

    It is crazy to assume that as a matter of policy the GOSL killed civilians.

    I completely agree with Ranjiths comments, all these people wanted was the LLRC to be in agreement with the darusman report and the other anti GOSL rhetoric out there – but they knew this would never be the case and so they just blasted it outright. I also believe they thought that the LLRC report would be a complete whitewash – it obviously isn’t and anyone with half a brain reading it can tell that this is the case.

    For some reason I feel that the LLRC report actually has some good recommendations which can galvanise a sense of Srilankaness. The report was somewhat critical of the GOSL but above all to me, reaffirmed that these recommendations were for the betterment of Srilankan society as a whole.

    all i want to see now is srilanka rebuilt into a respectable society, whether or not the current government is capable of this is another matter, however i admire the LLRCs pragmatic stance and it’s constructive nature – this I was not expecting given the composition of the LLRC.

    Above all we are all Srilankans and we must think this way, I think we have some ways to go towards it because the socio-cultural matrix of SL is a bit twisted partly because of the political elite currently in place, and the eelam-toting TNA (amongst other things of course), but overall the LLRC has made some solid recommendations as highlighted in Kalana’s piece.

  • Anurasiri

    think Tamils been used by all the international secret services for their needs. Killing Rajiv Gandi to Ranasingha Premadasa and all those high profile murders? . Why not make inquiry and jail all the remaining Tamils for those murders in the name of freedom fighting? Those bus bombs and train bombs which killed innocent children and elderly people? why not do a proper inquiry and put them at least couple of years in jail? The whole country economy and it’s people suffered for 30 years because of this issues. This Tamil terrorist are in the illegal drug trade, gold trade, migration using false propaganda and using boats. you name it. They spoil the whole Indian name. so sad.

    • Sri

      If my memory serves me well, it was the sinhala majority that wanted to get rid of the Tamils when The Sinhala only policy was implemented in the 1950s.

      How would you have felt when overnight, your mother tongue was scrapped of the official boards purely because it was the language of the minority?!

      What would have been the present day if the positions were reserved?

      People tend to act according to the present, but the present was decided upon by actions committed in the past.

      • Hikz

        Tamil was never on “the official boards” to begin with.
        The same people who cried about the status of Tamil had no problem embracing a foreign language – one spoken by hardly anyone in the country – as the official language. There were no howls of discrimination or lamentations about being “3rd class citizens denied the use of their own tongues” back then.
        Ah but then the language of the master gets replaced with the language of the majority (the horror!). I’m sure there’s some psychobabble about complexes and whatnot that can explain it all.

      • Burning_Issue

        “There were no howls of discrimination or lamentations about being “3rd class citizens denied the use of their own tongues” back then.
        Ah but then the language of the master gets replaced with the language of the majority (the horror!). I’m sure there’s some psychobabble about complexes and whatnot that can explain it all.”

        You replaced the “language of the master” common for all Sri Lankans, and recklessly become the new masters of the Tamils. As far as the Tamils are concerned, the Imperial Master has been replaced with a 3rd grade monster!

      • Nuwan

        Hikz:

        The whole reason Sinhalese-only was controversial was because after independence there was a consensus that both Sinhalese and Tamils should be made official languages. However, within a year or so, that all changed and only Sinhalese was made the official language. This is why this event is often seen as the turning point in the relationship between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. Around independence, the Sri Lankan Tamils did not consider themselves a minority, but considered themselves equals of the Sinhalese. This was the first nail in the coffin regarding that attitude, unfortunately.

      • wijayapala

        Dear Burning_Issue

        You replaced the “language of the master” common for all Sri Lankans, and recklessly become the new masters of the Tamils. As far as the Tamils are concerned, the Imperial Master has been replaced with a 3rd grade monster!

        How was English common for all Sri Lankans when only 4% could speak it at independence? And why are you calling Sinhalese 3rd grade monsters?

      • Nihal Perera

        Ah but then the language of the master gets replaced with the language of the majority (the horror!)

        Well, judging by the quality of today’s civil service, the language of the “master” was clearly more beneficial for the larger society. Today’s swabasha proponents are only good for tying powerless individuals to trees and finding arsenic where it does not exist.

    • MV

      Yep Anurasiri,
      all those Tamil propaganda have tarnished the, otherwise, good name of Sri Lanka and the Indian region. As we know, Sri Lanka has always been shining example of human rights and democracy.

  • Ma-Rout-Ti

    Seriously though, did anyone expect a report that does not call for the heads of all Sinhalas, Rajapakses and Armed Forces Personnel in particular, to be warmly received by this “International Community” of HR Organizations, sites such as Groundviews and so forth – who have a vested interested in keeping the flames alive …. ?

  • Alexander

    I guess the requirement from the international community is for an independent investigation. LLRC was definitely not independent. They were under the control of GOSL. So it is natural for LLRC to say there is no evidence to prove the allegations. When they are biased the last thing if at all they will do is to make any effort in finding evidence.

    So if GOSL wants to clear themselves of the allegations and if they strongly believe that the allegations are false, they should not have any hesitations in letting the independent investigations happen.

    But so far GOSL has been resisting investigations.. that makes the suspisions grow stronger even for a neutral – unbiased person.

    • Ranjith

      The Sri Lankan givernment’s resistance to a war crime investigation can be understood in many ways. One is the way you suggested; to think that they are resisting because they are hiding something. If that is what you want to believe and prove, then you think that way.

      But the Sri Lankan government as well as the whole world knows how the so called international community (meaning USA, UK and Europe! )can find evidence by conducting investigations in the way they want. Remember how the international community found evidence for the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, when they wanted to invade that country. They found evidence, convinced the UN and did it. You do not have to have evidence to find it; they can very well be fabricated when you want. The same happened in Libya and continue to happen in other places too. So this so called independant international inquiries are pre-determined, evidence manufacturing processes.

      Sri Lanka, never trust them.

      • Sri

        With regard to the USA’s search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, The accusations were found to be false and those involved in the falsifying of documents were taken to court. Justice should be sought in court, not argued upon. Can this take place in present day Sri Lanka?

        None are above the Law.

  • John Wayne

    Washington is militarizing the whole of the Asia Pacific with India’s help due to the rise of China so do not expect much accountability from there!
    Militarization which the LRRC Report has rightly identified as a problem and the arrogance of political power as the root cause of decades of violence in Sri Lanka and asked the politicians to apologize to the people. The LLRC also asks for compensation for the victims bu the post-war economic dividend has been spent on Rajapakse’s Commonwealth games bid, other sport extravaganzas, white elephant infrastructure in Hambantota so there will be little compensation for the victims of state and LTTE violence.
    Prior to release of the LLRC Report Mahinda Rajapakse released a photograph of himself reading the LRRC report relining in an arm chair with his legs up in the aid and showing the audience his feet which in many Asian Buddhist cultures is an insulting gesture – calculated to show disrespect. On Friday December 16, 2011, the day that the LRRC report was released after long delays, Rajapakse Bros and Co. hosted Colombo Night Races and Formula I car racing and Electric Peacock music at Galle Face in Colombo after closing the roads to the general public so that Colombo’s new rich and Rajapakse’s sons, nephews and related crony capitalists could have a good time – in a remarkably callous display of the regard that it had for the contents of the LRRC Report and the suffering of war affe3cted people and communities, Tamil, Sinhala, Muslim. There are thousands of displaced homeless people in the northeast and Colombo does not have decent public transport but lavish funds are spent to import racing cars and foreign drivers while the national debt breaks records to entertain and distract the Rajapakse wanna be Gaddhafi style elites. This shows the level to which the regime will sink when matters of singular gravity in the WHOLE country need to be addressed.
    These Rajapakse fellows deserve a war crimes trial and nothing less. This is the one flaw in the LLRC – the failure to do a historical analysis of the role of the SL military and identify the fact that the Sri Lanka army was generally professional (of course with several individual exceptions), in its confrontation with the LTTE until the last year when under Gotabaya Rajapakse. certain regiments committed grave violations of a SYSTEMATIC nature. This was under the Rajapakse’s command that the army committed atrocities on a large scale which demonstrates systematicity in the final stages of war. The Rajapakse Bros. therefore indeed have command responsibility for war crimes in the last phase of the war and should be sent to the Hague. Their time will surely come!

  • Kalanithy Kulamohan

    LLRC was constituted with predominantly Sinhala, and the poignant admissions and clear recommendations of several grievances of the minority communities is very significant.

    I am sure that the Sinhala Chauvinists would go into overdrive to counter this fresh impediment to their unabated progress. The question is, whether the Rajapaksa Regime has the back bone to sincerely implement the recommendations; I very much doubt it! :(

  • Candidly

    Clearly Gibson Bateman looked for what he wanted to find when he read the LLRC report (if he read it!). You can get an idea of his views about Sri lanka by visiting his website, where it will be seen that he appears to have a quite ferocious dislike for Sri Lanka and its government. Reading through that stuff I formed the impression that his hatred for Sri Lanka stems from the latter’s refusal to accept the previously preferred Western solution to Sri Lanka’s inter-ethnic disputes – the division of the island into two parts.

    That, of course would have meant an Asian-centred, democratic, multi-ethnic majority part and a Western-centred, authoritarian, Tamil-only minority part. By an interesting coincidence that Western-centred, authoritarian minority part would also have included Asia’s largest natural harbour near the sea lanes between East Asia and the Middle East and potentially vast under-water oil and gas reserves.

    Mr Bateman is evidently an international consultant based in New York. Who was it who wrote that the United States doesn’t have friends, only interests?

  • Velayutham

    LLRC report is a ‘time buy’ game by GoSL since there is no other alternatives. A report released after 2 years of offence and is incomplete.

    Mad King Mahinda wants more time to protest about US comments, TNA comments .. and some more to review…. and some more to publish … and some more time table … and some time to translate … etc, etc, etc…

    By the time it reaches the end , 10 year from now, no one will remember what is all about …

    Very clever manipulation … mixed with sweet but “false ” promises and the end it will achieve nothing

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    Have you ever heard the Sinhala saying ‘Naduth Hamuduruwange Baduth Hamuduruwange’? LLRC was appointed by MR to see whether any atrocity (inter alia) had been committed by the armed forces during the war, in which he is the supreme commander. Did any body with a sane mind expect the LLRC to say ‘Yes, Sri Lankan armed forces had committed war crimes killing civilians during the war’?

    The earlier GoSL stand that not a single civilian had been killed, has changed and they accept that there had been civilian killings.

    Although, except a few who were closely associated with the war, majority (99.99%)of Sri Lankans and international observers do not know what really had happened during the war in the front lines.

    However, true to the ‘human nature’ those who support the war beleive that these civilian deaths were unintentional and the others, who are against war, think that they were intentional.

    The truth is we do not know!

    What is the correct way to act if two groups of people dispute some important happening? An inquiry. Not a simple inquiry but an inquiry which can win the trust of both parties.

    If you are no scared of truth the only solution to this problem is to have a independent and impartial inquiry in to the last stages of war.

    LLRC is not such an inquiry.

    • Nihal Perera

      PitastharaPuthraya,

      The truth is we do not know!

      I think that for all practical purposes we actually a lot about Eelam War IV. We know that we had a President and Defense Minister who were willing to violate every international convention and treaty to finish off the war in a manner that suited their agenda, above all else. This was not the case relative to Eelam Wars I, II, or III. We know that the President offered China lucrative economic packages, as well as security arrangements, in exchange for weapons. We know that the President had the tacit support of China and Russia at the UN (as well as India) to stave off UN pressure for an unbiased investigation into war crimes. We know from the Sarath Fonseka fiasco that orders were given from the very top to execute surrendering LTTE members. We know that in order to seperate Tamil civilians from the LTTE, farcical “no fire zones” were established, the intention being that by shelling these NFZs, the civilians would be more likely to run to the government side. We can surmise that there are hundreds of mass graves all over the North – many of which are probably buried under military establishments that have come up since 2009 – from the governments’ lame excuse that landmines are still a threat to civilian resettlement. What we don’t know is the extent of SLA casualties during Eelam War IV; unfortunately, there was no Iqbal Athas this time around. But if we believe the MoD’s figure of 22K LTTE dead, then SLA casualties were no doubt quite high. I would say at least 10-15K (the MoD figure is 5000. Finally, I don’t believe the military could have ended the war a lot sooner, despite what GOSL claims, given the high toll on the LTTE end.

      • PitastharaPuthraya

        Nihal,

        I totally agree with you!

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Anyone heard of Haditha? And/or the NDAA?

  • mil

    The only lesson that everyone can learn here is; If you choose terrorism you need to face the consequences. Unfortunately innocent people have to suffer too!

  • Anurasiri

    Tamils have been lying, cooking up stories and exagerating everything from discrimination, to injustice and killing etc etc. for gaining benefits in the West; to migrate , set up there and keep surviving on that pretext. The left knows this very well and knows that there is nothing really seriously to make a big issue of. However, they keep shouting as and when necessary to keep the diaspora happy so that they can get their vote to come to power. It is that simple.

    Come to terms with it. No matter how you cook up stories like, this 250,000 still languishing in internment camps and getting raped as you claim, which is not true, you cannot move those left politicians who know that it is not true. In the modern world, things are very visible, so if Rajapakses have committed atrocities, he cannot hide them. We cannot see anything really concrete except those stories of the diaspora and migrated army captains cooked up to get their green cards etc., because there is none like that.

    Keep writing so that you feel happy that you managed to hoodwink the readers, but they are not as stupid as you think. LOL

  • Haris

    There is a proverb in Sinhala which states that no matter how many dogs howl, the moon will not fall down. Take it to heart. Sri Lanka will not be governed based on ethnicity or language. MR said that once and that is how it will be. He will be the ‘king’ for the forseeable future. Do not waste your breath, go plant some trees :-)

    • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

      @Haris

      According to Murphy’s law, “If something has to happen, it will happen.”

      Not even one of the pundits who argues on groundviews could ever predict what would happen in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. And I doubt if groundviews was in existence in 1989, that any of them would have predicted the fall of communism.

      Due to the oppression of the Tamils since independence, a man called Prabahakaran and the LTTE ‘happened.’ In November 2005, due to this ‘happening’ called Prabahakaran, the Tamils were forced not to vote in the Presidential elections…and a man called Rajapaksa ‘happened.’He became PresiDunce, and eventually he turned him self into an uncrowned king and his family into ‘the royal family of Sri Lanka.’

      So far Murphy’s law has been working perfectly.

      And Haris, you say, “He will be the ‘king’ for the forseeable future.”
      Well some advice to you and other dictatorship fans is, do not hold your breath, or plant any trees because what happened in Libya might ‘happen’ much sooner in Sri Lanka.

      • yapa

        “Well some advice to you and other dictatorship fans is, do not hold your breath, or plant any trees because what happened in Libya might ‘happen’ much sooner in Sri Lanka.”

        If something has not to happen, it will not happen.

        —– Converse of Murphy’s Law

        Thanks!

      • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

        @yapa

        Thats ‘Yapa’s Law.’ Not Murphy’s..

      • Hikz

        What ‘Murphy’s law’ says is everything that can go wrong will go wrong. What kind of an inane statement is “if something has to happen, it will happen.”

  • MV

    Time buying exercise, anyone?

    They had two years to come up with this report.
    And in another 10yrs, they will have a committee to investigate why the LLRC failed (like many of its predecessors) and make another set of recommendations, while pointing at one another for failing to resolve the problem, like the typical sri lankan style.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the folks will be arguing whether standing on knees or feet would make a difference as to whether these ‘recommendations’ will be implemented.

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Mr Gibson Bateman,

    You are described as an international consultant based in New York City who has worked for leading NGOs in Latin America, Africa and South Asia and is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

    Unfortunately you have failed to be objective in your critique which comes out as an attempt at advertising yourself to the Tamil Diaspora in looking for a lucrative future.

    You have failed to show why the LLRC’s statements are untrue, by countering them with facts and instead have resorted to cheap rhetoric an innuendo.

    You wrote quote
    Essentially, all civilian casualties were the result of people caught in the crossfire or were the LTTE’s fault. “The protection of the civilian population was given the highest priority” by the Sri Lankan armed forces, the Commission has determined. The report also claims that military operations moved at a “deliberately slow” pace because Sri Lanka’s military personnel were so careful and cognizant of the dangers to civilian life during the final phases of the conflict.
    Unquote

    Is there any factual evidence that you have placed before the GV Readership in the above paragraph to counter what the LRC states? There is nothing in it other than cheap innuendo.

    You wrote quote
    While the LTTE deliberately targeted civilians, it appears that Sri Lanka’s military did not, according to the LLRC report. That assertion goes against what most people seem to think, including the report produced by the United Nation’s Panel of Experts. 
    Unquote

    Who are the Most people that you are writing about?
    Do you think that those who think otherwise is a minority?
    What rational logic did you use to arrive at the above inference when even the UNHRC thought otherwise?

    The key word in the above is “Deliberately”

    That the LTTE did so is not in question. There is ample evidence to prove they deliberately targeted Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese including People at prayer, Monks and even Hindu Priests. Anna Marie Loose of Medicines Sans Frontiers reported that People were being Shot in the back and Limbs cut off to prevent the Vanni Tamils seeking safety in Govt controlled areas. This was broadcast by ABC Australia.

    The whole world other than the blind, saw the exodus out of the LTTE held area when the Earthen Barriers were breached. They saw how the LTTE used Machine guns on those who tried to move out of LTTE clutches. They saw how the SLA helped the infirm to safety risking their own lives in the process. They saw the slow progress that was not due to a lack of Fire Power of the SLAF or Fighting prowess of the LTTE but solely due to concern for the Civilian population. They observed the 48 hour cessation of hostilities unilaterally declared by the SL Gov., to allow Civilians to move to safety. But you insinuate that the civilians were DELIBERATELY Targeted?

    Prove It.

    You have mentioned the UN Report produced by Alston’s “Experts”

    Here are some FACTS about these so called “Experts” and their integrity.

    Dr. Daniel Spitz

    Dr Spitz found that the footage (Ch 4 Video) appeared authentic, especially with respect to the two individuals who are shown being shot in the head at close range. He found that the body reaction, movement, and blood evidence was entirely consistent with what would be expected in such shootings.

    Forensic Pathologist and medical doctor, Daniel Spitz is the current Medical Examiner for Macomb County, Michigan.

    Watch the Video titled, Rob Simpson Case – Daniel Spitz Integrity in Question

    Spitz could not find any Entry bullet wound or the Bullet that killed a Banker, shot on the back of the head, “Execution Style” and had concluded that the Death was a Suicide. Or DID HE SUPPRESS THE EVIDENCE?

    Watch the two videos below and form your own opinion.
     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpL56wS_qZo

    Watch the video of Spitz stuttering on Cross Examination on why he FAILED to find the Bullet or the entrance wound of a Man Killed EXECUTION STYLE with a bullet to the Head

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3Oy76_nICc&NR=1

    Is his opinion for Sale?

    Grant Fredericks

    Mr. Fredericks, who has testified as an ‘expert witness’ in numerous cases was in the spotlight in Canada when he appeared as a witness for four policemen who tried to cover up their involvement in the death of an immigrant at the Vancouver airport in October 2007. The Mounties maintained they used a Taser gun on Robert Dziekanski because he was violent and refused to cooperate. However, a bystander’s video contradicted that version.

    At a public inquiry held in 2009 into the killing, which drew public furore and demands for the police to stop using Tasers, Fredericks, in support of the cops, said his analysis of the video showed Dziekanski moving toward the officers shortly before he was jolted.

    First, Fredericks was caught in a lie about his contacts with the manufacturers of the guns, Taser International. Don Rosenbloom, a lawyer retained by the Polish government to represent Dziekanski’s interests, pointedly questioned Frederick about his organization’s (LEVA) affiliation with Taser. Frederick denied that there was any connection.

    “Let me suggest to you, sir, that one of the major sponsors of that laboratory and that program under LEVA is Taser International. Do you agree?” asked Rosenbloom.
    “No, I don’t think Taser even knows it exists and I’ve never had any involvement with Taser International,” Fredericks replied.
    But as Rosenbloom pressed on, Fredericks’ answers changed.
    “I believe I saw Taser as one of the vendors at our conference last year,” Fredericks eventually admitted.
    Taser was and still remains one of LEVA’s corporate sponsors.

    Fredericks’ credibility and professional expertise got a further hammering when he was questioned about his forensic analysis of the video.

    Fredericks supported the RCMP police officers’ defense that Mr. Dziekanski stepped toward them while clenching the stapler in his fist. He even testified that from his repetitive viewing of a three-second segment of a stabilized version of the Pritchard video, he identified Mr. Dziekanski take three distinct steps forward (right, left, right), based on his analysis of shoulder movements, although he could not say how far – whether an inch or a foot . He acknowledged that he could not see Mr. Dziekanski’s legs or feet, and had no special expertise in biomechanics or the study of human motion.

    Mark Hird-Rutter, a certified photogrammetrist who was called by the Braidwood Commission that inquired into the Robert Dziekanski killing to analyze the methodologies used by Fredericks, described the methodology as ‘flawed.’ Hird-Rutter said:

    The methodologies that were used in Mr. Fredericks’s report do not follow the rigours of the Science of Photogrammetry and it would be wrong to use them to determine the movement of Mr. Dziekanski either forwards or backwards.

    Another expert Duane McInnis called by the Commission also criticized Fredericks’s analysis and methodology. McInnis, a mechanical engineer and founder and senior engineer in MEA Forensic Engineers and Scientists, Canada’s largest forensic engineering and scientific firm concluded that Mr. Fredericks’ opinion (that Mr. Dziekanski moved toward the officers) is not technically supportable because of measurement errors.

    The Commissioner’s final opinion on Grant Fredericks:
    His verification methodology was flawed — while I accept that his measurement of the fixed object (the counter) showed a decrease in size as the camera zoomed out, he could make no comparable measurement of the movable object (Mr. Dziekanski’s jacket), because he was not able to measure the entire length of the jacket, as it extended below the level of the counter. I accept the opinions of Mr. Hird-Rutter and Mr. McInnis on this issue.

    He has no special expertise in determining steps from shoulder movements — without the verification referred to above,Mr. Fredericks’ opinion of three distinct steps forward is based entirely on his repetitive viewing of the three-second segment of the Pritchard video and his interpretation of Mr. Dziekanski’s changing shoulder movements. I am not persuaded that his expertise as a forensic video analyst extends to this type of human body movement. In the absence of such expertise, his opinion deserves no greater weight than the opinion of any other careful observer. I have watched this segment of the Pritchard video many dozens of times, and I have been unable to detect the three methodical step movements Mr. Fredericks described. Even if I am wrong and Mr. Dziekanski did take three distinct steps forward, Mr. Fredericks’ opinion is of questionable significance, since he repeatedly refused significance, since he repeatedly refused to estimate distance, even a distance as small as one inch.

    When the Experts’ integrity is in question what they say become worthless.

    You should read Dr. Noel Nadesan’s open letter to ABC Australia TV. Dr. Nadesan is the Editor of the Tamil Newspaper Uthayam and has been its Editor for 14 years.

    Here is an excerpt.
    … Ch 4 showed images of a young man who was tied to a tree, threatened with a knife and subsequently killed. I was told by sources in the Wanni that this was an LTTE operation and pictures were taken for propaganda purposes by LTTE. Have a close look and you will find among the so called soldiers a man in slippers. Sri Lankan soldiers never go out in slippers when they go out on operations.
    end excerpt.

    He has also written about Suthanthipuram, the first NFZ. He says the LTTE moved their Radio station and Artillery units in to it, to fire at Army points.

    He has also described how the LTTE was firing from the close proximity of the Hospital and makeshift hospitals and cites as witnesses the AGA Parthipan and Dr. Shanmugarajah.
    The full letter is available at http://www.dailymirror.lk

    When you view these together with the observations of Dr Noel Nadesan and the conspicuous absence of Injured or Dead LTTE from the ONLY hospital available to the LTTE in the War zone, the charge of Gross Fabrication is standing a mile above Ch4.

    • Phil Collins

      I think Mr. Bateman has made some good points, but that you have also made some good points. But I do not think the fact that Mr. Bateman has written something negative about the LLRC means that he is looking for a “lucrative future” or is trying earn money from diaspora groups.

      As you yourself said, it looks like he has been working for NGOs. I have worked for NGOs for 20 years. Working for NGOs is not a wise career choice if someone is looking to make a lot of money, trust me.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Phil,

        Writing anything negative is welcome as that contributes to healthy debate as long as the Negative Critique is based on Facts and Logic.

        Bateman has not placed ANY FACTS per se but has used Insinuations and Innuendo to degrade Lanka. He, like Gordon W and Bruce F before him, is advertising to the Tamil Diaspora as a possible ally in Tar brushing the Govt of Lanka. Whether that is Lucrative or not can be seen by the Income his predecessors derived. One by writing a Book and the other by Representing the Diaspora.

        Did you read what Dr Noel Nadesan an Ethnic Tamil and the Editor of the Uthayam (the only Tamil Newspaper in Australia) for 14 years had to say to ABC Australia on CH4?

        What do you have to say about Alston’s so called Experts?

        I do agree that there are some in the NGO’s that are Honest and work with feeling but sadly HR is a Lucrative Business. How much dollar goes to the needy for every 10 dollar that is contributed to a cause? Quite a bit goes to provide a luxurious life style to some of the so called activists is it not?

  • Candidly

    Very well researched, Off the Cuff. This sort of detailed analysis is enormously powerful in dealing with the arguments and prejudices of those, like Gibson Bateman, who would like to see Sri Lanka de-stabilised once again.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Candidly,

      Thank you.

      I do hope that what I have placed before GV would be used by others to counter unjust criticism that is levelled at Lanka.

      People like Bates write to the Gallery and have a Holier than though attitude. Like the Prawn, little do they realize what they carry in their head.

      • Off the Cuff

        Correction

        Bates should read as Gibson Bateman
        My apologies to Mr Bateman for the inadvertent error

  • Ward

    There must be an investigation into the last 30 months which are as bad as the i. 3o months previous to them and ii. 30 years previous to them.