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South Asian Think Tank IPCS researcher critiques LLRC Report

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Hello Friends,

The Report released by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)has been receiving mixed responses.

The latest critique that I read was from the South Asian Think tank – Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) in New Delhi ,India.It is written by an ICPS staff researcher J.Jeganaathan based in Delhi who is their Sri Lanka specialist.

The IPCS website describes itself thus-

“The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India ‘s foreign policy especially India-China relations, India ‘s relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia .”

The researcher Jeganaathan’s profile is as follows-

“J Jeganaathan is Research Officer at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), New Delhi. His primary area of research includes Regional Security and Cooperation, South Asian Security Dynamics, and Sri Lanka. He is currently working on South Asian Regional Security and Strategic issues with special focus on Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. He is also working on India and regional security cooperation in South Asia. He has submitted his PhD thesis at the Centre for European Studies, School of International Studies , Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Transnational Relations, Foreign and Security Policy, Otto-Suhr-Institute for Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin , Germany and also at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Brussels Office in 2010. He speaks French and plays Badminton regularly”.

I am reproducing the short critique of LLRC report written by Jeganaathan for IPCS on my blog with due acknowledgement.

Here it is Friends-DBS Jeyaraj

LLRC Report on Sri Lanka’s War: Pride, Prejudice and Paradise

By J.Jeganaathan

The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has recently released the much-criticized report of the Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (LLRC). The report came in the midst of international pressure on the GoSL for its alleged war crimes and human rights abuses.

While the UN panel report focuses primarily on the last stage of the war ie 2008-09, the LLRC report narrates events between 2002 and 2009. Although the GoSL claims that the principal mandate of the inquiry committee was to find the real causes for the deterioration of the situation that led to war, the report overlooks the grim reality during the war and military excesses.

It is argued that the LLRC report highlights the GoSL’s pride of war; asserts its prejudice over the perennial ethnic-conflict, and neatly paints a paradisiacal picture of the post-conflict situation


The report claims that the CFA (ceasefire agreement) failed because of political and security reasons associated with the LTTE. It squarely blames LTTE for not agreeing to any sort of political settlement short of a separate state. But, the official statement from LTTE in 2001 states that it was ready to give up its demand for a separate homeland provided a confederation was offered under the devolution package. Further, it holds LTTE responsible for the deterioration of the security situation by referring to selective killings and massacres of key political leaders. In the subsequent section, the report elucidates the socio-economic dimensions of the failure of CFA, disregarding the strategic dimension: the split of Karuna faction in 2003 and its impact on the events that unfolded thereafter.

Praising the security forces for their two decisive operations in Eastern province and Wanni, the committee observes that the former operations were aimed to scuttle LTTE’s strategy to cut-off the supply route running from Jaffana to Trincomalee district, and the latter was intended to liberate the people from the clutches of LTTE. The Wanni operations were a very crucial part of the war that eliminated LTTE and their remnants, causing huge civilian causalities. No references or inquires were made available on the use of excessive forces and bombings of civilian targets. Although the report provides some figures on causalities (5,556 army personnel and 22,247 LTTE cadres), the authenticity of these figures are still doubtful


Two substantial chapters of the report are devoted to humanitarian and human rights issues on which the GoSL has been indicted by the international community. Refuting the international allegations of violation of international human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL) during and after the war, the report finds, “that the military strategy that was adopted to secure the LTTE held areas was one that was carefully conceived, in which the protection of the civilian population was given the highest priority.” It evenly blames LTTE for violating IHL by not respecting the No Fire Zone (NFZ) and accusing the GoSL for committing war crimes. This expose the committee’s prejudiced notion of human rights and the human rights standards they set for themselves.

In a stark contrast to this observation, Channel 4 video series, Sri Lanka ’s Killing Fields, reveal the ground reality in which many civilians were killed by disproportionate use of forces by the Sri Lankan armed forces. Supplementing this claim, the UN expert panel report observes that the enormous civilian causalities were due to intensive air raids on civilian areas. It is well known that LTTE had improvised fighter craft but there is no evidence to show whether they bombed civilians. Had they had such a haul of ammunitions and armaments, they would have used them against the military forces. Therefore, the report’s observations on humanitarian law and human rights issues are myopic.


The most interesting, yet implausible section of the report, is between chapters six and nine, which primarily talks about post-conflict resettlement, relief, rehabilitation, restitution and reconciliation. The Commission applauds the GoSL for the resettlement of Tamils by allocating land to them. It concurs that almost 80 per cent of the internally displaced people (IDP) were resettled and rehabilitated under the purview of existing Sri Lanka land and property law. But, it does not look into the issue of the militarization of the entire Northern Province and settlement of Sinhalese in the Tamil populated areas.

According to Prof Jose Maria Sison, the Filipino writer and activist, the GoSL has created strategic hamlets for Tamils and their movement and activities are being scanned by the military. If the GoSL is genuinely pursuing the post-conflict resettlement and rehabilitation process under international norms as the report claims, why were they hesitant to allow international monitors to supervise the implementation of the resettlement process? It seems that the report paints a picture that portrays the GoSL-led war as ushering the Tamils from a protracted conflict into paradise.

In sum, the mandate of the commission appears to be unwarranted in terms of the political context, and overstretched in its time period.

The members of the committee were hand-picked by the President Rajapaksa, which made the report less credential. The methodology which the committee used to reach certain conclusions and recommendations is weak. It appears for instance that the documents, evidence, testimonies, and facts presented before the commission were predisposed. Instead of driving lessons from an introspective analysis, the GoSL can learn much by listening to what others have to say in order to avoid the recurrence of the conflict

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  1. I dont know how unbiased this critique is.The researcher looks to be with bias for Tamils as he is also a Tamil

  2. Researcher has read Jane Austens “Pride and Prejudice” and “John Milton”s “Paradise Lost”. He wants to show off to us about it and so has written headline that way. Funnily the contents and headings are disconnected

  3. “Channel 4 video series, Sri Lanka ’s Killing Fields, reveal the ground reality in which many civilians were killed by disproportionate use of forces by the Sri Lankan armed forces.”

    These so called ground realities are not wholly proven and one must remember that AFP also hosts an execution video (shown in killing fields but uploaded way before) where the assassins are talking in Tamil!

    So… here we go again! some people will never rest until Sri Lanka is punished and Eelam is created… Why doesn’t this guy just secede Tamil Nadu from india and turn it into separate state? Us Srilankans are walking along a slow and slightly bumpy road along the way to rebuilding our country, lives and communities, please don’t disrupt us.

    I actually praise the LLRC recommendations as being reasonably balanced and conciliatory (I thought that it would be a crock of sh!t before it was released) but I doubt MR’s ability or political will to implement the recommendations – that’s a different story however.

  4. Briloiant critique. Writer sums up precisely all what is wrong and defective in the LLRC report. A laboriously constructed edifice is demolished with scientific precision

  5. In brief, the Commission – largely formed of men identified as pro-Govt – delivered a tailor-made Report the regime exactly wanted; disproportionately glorifying the SLA and saying very little of its excesses then and post-May 2009. Bringing the entire North and Eastern Provinces under the control of ex-armed forces men placed in the powerful position of Governor that allows little space for actual rule by local bodies by Tamils, has hardly received the attention of the Commission.

    Writer Jeganathan will be trashed – purely because he has a Tamil.


  6. As a supporter of the government, nothing will be used from this report. Now I hear that 13th Amendment also to be dumped in the garbage.

    My friend Mahendra is now under the influence of WEST. Soon he will know his mistakes.

  7. The report made by the LLRC may contain some facts and some flimsy recommendations. Even if it is a genuine report, the Tamils would not accept it and many of the International accadamics too will not accept it because it is an internal investigation. Full broad faced investigations were not carried out by the LLRC. An investiation by an international body would have been the answer. Why it was blocked by the Sri Lankan Government is quite clear. It is the UN body which had to persue the matter for the real truth to come out as both parties to the war are responsible for violations. The Sinhala governments had all along failed to consider and grant the rights to the minorities. The introduction of “Sinhala Only” in the constitution was a clear example. Even now the government is not prepared to implement the 13th amendment. Many politicians in the Sinhala government is refusing to grant land and police powers to the provincial councils. There should be a third party intervention like a UN body.

  8. UN has become a Useless Nation!! How can a suspected war criminal, who has a case pending for Human rights violation be appointed to a Special Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations set up by the UN secretary general? Ban Ki Moon must be a deaf,dumb and mute person!!

  9. I think what we need is to bring all those who supported the LTTE over the years in all forms: financially, logistically and morally as responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians, Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim people of Sri Lanka. These supporters, include first and foremost, those Tamils now living outside Sri Lanka, political leaders of foreign countries who attended in fundraising events and other functions organized by the LTTE. Until we get this in order, the LTTE supporter world over will not go quietly, and we know that. I have been advocating this for long time now. It is high time that we start the process. I know, that will bring all these Tamils now shedding crocodile tears will either go under or refused to be interrogated. I know for fact that the Government is considering this option.

  10. We have heard and read repeated critics of LLRC and other comments in many forms.
    The fact remain is that the Tamils in North East are not going to accept this LLRC recommendation and this Report was formulated by Govt. nominated members. In other words, this report was spelled by the Government.
    What we need now is a genuine response from the government, accept all the mistakes (war crimes), develop framework for reconciliation without any delay, and fully implement the 13+.
    From the reader’s comments you can visualise the gap between Sinhalese and Tamils are widening and it has reached its max.tolerance. After all, we are living in a digital world and you can’t hide anything.

  11. It is another point of view.
    Would the writer be willing to do a critique on “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”.
    People can write to criticise any good work done with so much of effort. The pain, the missery, the suffering and the agony of terrorism over the past three long decades and how the overall negative impact on Srilanka as a country are only known to those (Tamil, Sinhala, Muslim) people who live there, not these writers who have vested interests. Where were they (incl Prof Jose maria Sison) when the cruel Terrorism was at its jilt ? Any critique done against the terrors ?
    The answer is obvious. Prof Sison, why don’t you leave it to us Sri Lankans to handle the problem with their government?

  12. When there is sufficient evidence that a government has mistreated its own civilians (for decades), and acting like a spoilt child when confronted (with dymmy spits and blaming others), it shows the government is incapable of handling its own affairs. This necessitates an outside intervention.

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