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* Sri Lanka's Reconciliation Commission requests a six-month extension
Sat, May 7, 2011, 09:30 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 07, Colombo: The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), appointed by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to probe Sri Lanka's armed conflict, has requested the President to extend its term for another six months.

LLRC Media Spokesman Lakshman Wickremasinghe has told the state-run radio Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation that the Chairman of the LLRC officially forwarded the written request to the President on Wednesday.

Earlier the LLRC said that the final report would be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by May 15, the day its term ends, but announced last Thursday that it would not be able to meet the deadline.

Wickremasinghe has said that the Commission needs more time to scrutinize the evidence gathered from a large number of persons and groups and to prepare a quality final report.

He has said the analysis and study of the written and oral submissions have not yet been completed.

The term of the LLRC was to end by the 15th of this month and the final report was to be handed over to the President on the same day.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed the LLRC in May 2010 to probe the events in the period between 21st February 2002 to 19th May 2009 and report on the lessons to be learnt from those events and whether any person, group, or institution directly or indirectly bears responsibility for those events.

The LLRC held its first sittings on August 11, 2010. In November 2010, the President extended its mandate till May 15, 2011.

It has held public hearings in the war-battered towns of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Omanthai, and Mullaitivu in the Northern Province and Batticaloa and Trincomalee in the Eastern Province.

In its report, the Panel of Experts, appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to investigate accountability issues during the later stages of the Sri Lanka's war against Tamil Tiger terrorists, had criticized the LLRC saying that it does not meet international standards.

"The LLRC is deeply flawed, does not meet International standards for an effective accountability mechanism and, therefore, does not and cannot satisfy the joint commitment of the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary-General to an accountability process," the Panel has concluded.

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