Jan 24, Colombo: A Board appointed by the Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya to study the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has asserted the Sri Lankan government's "absolute "right to maintain its armed forces anywhere in the country.
While asserting the government's absolute right to maintain military installations anywhere in the island according to the country's strategic and security needs, the Board recommended appointing special boards covering the five security forces headquarters in the North and East, namely Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Wanni and East, to evaluate the land needs by those units in the region.
The Board recommended examining, in detail, the lands presently occupied by the military and retain only the lands vitally required for security purposes and acquire those lands from the owners at a market value and provide alternate lands.
The Army Commander appointed the five-member Board comprising senior military officers to study the LLRC recommendations relevant to the Army and prepare a viable action plan detailing to address specific issues identified.
Jayasuriya handed over the Board's report to the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the Defence Ministry today.
The Board, while concluding that the Army has taken all the precautions to avoid civilian casualties during the military operation, has suggested re-evaluating all military disciplines in urban warfare and formulating new doctrines covering them.
The Board has observed that the current International Humanitarian Law (IHL) principles applicable to internal wars do not adequately address various complex issues.
Since the existing rules only applied to the state sectors, and there are no specific guidelines with regard to the role of non-governmental organizations in a war situation, the Board has suggested formulating new domestic rules covering internal war situations.
The Board has noted that during Sri Lanka's war the language barrier has put the troops at a disadvantage and therefore, in keeping up with the government's tri-lingual policy, has suggested the armed forces to be proficient in two or more languages in future.
Among other recommendations made by the Board are the formation of a separate Directorate of Veteran Affairs (DVA) for the welfare of military and placing the police force under the Defense Ministry.
Another report prepared by a Court of Inquiry to look in to the LLRC observations on casualties and deaths due to the activities of the armed forces would also be handed over to the Secretary Defense in the near future.
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