Barely two days before the commencement of a crucial round of talks between the Tamil National Alliance, an umbrella group representing Tamil political parties, and the Sri Lankan government, the outfit again called for outside scrutiny of the Eelam War IV.
The war concluded in May 2009 and the government has conceded that there have been civilian casualties in the war. Almost all civilians killed were Tamils.
“The need for an accountability process that meets international standards while delivering on the right of victims to truth, justice and reparations (including guarantees of non-recurrence) is an urgent and important one. Given the government’s failure to institute a process that meets these benchmarks, the TNA calls on the international community to institute measures that will advance accountability and encourage reconciliation in Sri Lanka in keeping with the recommendations of the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts,” the TNA said in its 70-page analytical ‘Response to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission Report. The TNA had earlier rejected the report in a short response a few days after the release. The Report of the UNSG’s Panel of Experts was seen in Sri Lanka as an affront on the country. The TNA, however, welcomed its findings.
The detailed response was released here on Sunday, barely a day before the TNA meets the Indian External Affairs Minister, S.M. Krishna. The Sri Lankan government – TNA talks are scheduled to be held on January 17, 18 and 19. “The talks will go on as scheduled,” M.A. Sumanthiran, Member of Parliament belonging to the TNA, told The Hindu, when asked if there was any change in dates for the talks. Mr. Krishna’s presence in Sri Lanka during the talks is seen as a chance for achieving some forward movement in the discussions.
The main stumbling block in the talks related to the extent and kind of autonomy that the Northern Province could be accorded. Terming the LLRC’s recommendations on this vital question “exceedingly vague,” the TNA said that these “fail to measure up to the past proposals,” including that of the 2006 report of the All Party Representative Committee’s Expert Committee.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has gone on record, saying that land and police powers will not be accorded. Recalling this stand, the TNA said that “the most current views of the President, however, reflect the government’s unwillingness to even implement the provisions of the Constitution vis-à-vis the Thirteenth Amendment.” This has only reinforced the Tamil fears on the government not being genuine about political solution based on meaningful devolution, it added.