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LLRC Extension Request Spurs Need for Stronger US Stance on Sri Lankan Reconciliation

Published On Friday, May 13, 2011
Amid reports that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) requested a second six month extension from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) calls upon the US government to strengthen its stance towards the inadequacies of the Sri Lankan government-appointed commission and work to create an international mechanism to inquire into events at the end of the civil war.

“This is the second time the LLRC has requested an extension,” said TAPI spokesman Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham. “As time goes on, we are hearing reports of evidence being destroyed, and the apparent strategy for the LLRC to keep pushing back its deadline is further proof the commission is not acting in good faith.”

At a May 4th press conference, US Assistant Secretary Robert Blake underscored the importance that the LLRC “address accountability and offer recommendations on how to redress wrongs committed by both sides during the conflict.” However, if the LLRC is going to repeatedly postpone the commission’s final report, the US must take a stronger stance.

Secretary Blake’s comments put Sri Lanka on notice that if the LLRC does not produce a credible report, the US will not tolerate war criminals going unpunished and will support an independent, international investigation. Additionally, the United Nation’s advisory panel appointed by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon already noted in its recently released report that the LLRC is not the appropriate mechanism, nor does it have the mandate, to address the indispensable issue of accountability.

In light of the UN Panel’s observations on the LLRC, the recent unanimous Senate resolution on Sri Lanka and the letters signed by many House members calling for an international investigation, TAPI feels strongly that Assistant Secretary Blake should stop giving the LLRC the benefit of the doubt – time is a critical factor and it is running out.

“Justice delayed is justice denied – the US must be at the forefront of seeking justice for the tens of thousands of Tamils who perished in 2009,” said Dr. Arulanantham. "The sooner the international community implements a meaningful accountability mechanism, the easier it will be for true reconciliation to take place. Reconciliation, along with a lasting political solution, is required for peace and stability in a plural society."
About TAPI
The Tamil American Peace Initiative was formed by a group of Tamil Americans to help bring lasting peace, justice, democracy, good governance and economic development to Sri Lanka; to focus attention on the destruction of Tamil communities and culture caused by almost three decades of war; and to demand an end to the continuing oppression of Tamils on the island.

Contact T. Kopper at info@tamilamerican.org or +1.202.879.9384 for additional information or to arrange an interview with Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham.
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