May 17, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has named an eight-member 'Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission' to report on the lessons to be learnt from the events in the period between 21st February 2002 to 19th May 2009.
The Presidentís Office has announced today (17) that the Commission has been charged with reporting whether any person, group or institution directly or indirectly bears responsibility in this regard.
The Office has further noted that the Commissioners appointed are former Attorney General Chitta Ranjan de Silva (Chairman), President's Counsel Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera, Prof. Mohamed Thahir, Professor Karunaratne Hangawatte of the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), Attorneys-at-Law Mohamed Jiffry, Chandirapal Chanmugam, H.M.G. Siripala Palihakkara, Mrs. Manohari Ramanathan and Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama.
The Commission, partly influenced by the South African experience and the Iraq Inquiry of the UK, is charged with reporting on measures to be taken to prevent the recurrence of such concerns in the future and promote further national unity and reconciliation among all communities.
The appointment of this Commission follows cabinet approval to a memorandum by President Rajapaksa.
The statement says that it has been apparent for quite some time to the Government, that the conflict situation due to the very brutality and long duration of the violence perpetrated against Sri Lanka, would have caused great hurt and anguish in the minds of the people, that requires endeavours for rehabilitation and the restoration of democratic governance complimented by measures for reconciliation.
The commissioners are to inquire and report on the following:
- The facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the ceasefire agreement operationalized on 21st February 2002 and the sequence of events that followed thereafter up to the 19th of May 2009
- Whether any person, group, or institution directly or indirectly bear responsibility in this regard
- The lessons we would learn from those events and their attendant concerns, in order to ensure that there will be no recurrence
- The methodology whereby restitution to any person affected by those events or their dependents or to heirs, can be effected
- Tthe institutional administrative and legislative measures which need to be taken in order to prevent any recurrence of such concerns in the future, and to promote further national unity and reconciliation among all communities, and to make any such other recommendations with reference to any of the matters that have been inquired into under the terms of this Warrant