Lanka rights commission to hold public hearings

The commission expects to commence public hearings during August 2010.

Colombo: An eight-member commission set up to probe alleged human rights abuses during the last phase of the LTTE war in Sri Lanka has decided to hold public hearings in Tamil dominated north from August.

"The `Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission` appointed in May this year by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to hold public sittings in the provinces, particularly, in affected areas," an official statement said.

The commission expects to commence public hearings during the month of August 2010, the statement said.

The commission was set up amidst allegations of human rights violations during the concluding phase of the civil war that ended with the death of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran in May, 2009.

The commission will report on the lessons to be learnt from the events in the period, Feb 2002 (when the Ceasefire Agreement was signed) to May 2009, to their attendant concerns and recommend measures to ensure that there will be no recurrence of such a situation.

The ceasefire agreement was signed between the then Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and LTTE Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.

The public sittings would enable persons in the affected areas to have easy access to the commission to make their representations, the statement said.

Sri Lanka has already rejected a three member UN panel to advise Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on accountability issues on this matter, citing the establishment of a domestic commission to probe alleged rights violation during the civil war.

The commission will invite on its own motion persons who represent a broad spectrum of views and who have been actively engaged in the areas falling within the ambit of the warrant to testify before the commission.

Earlier, it had called for written representations in respect of matters related to the warrant.

The public has been given time till August 18 to make such representations.

"The Commission is currently engaged in drawing up a work plan as a part of this process," the Secretary to the Commission said in a statement.

A public notice has been published in newspapers in all three languages calling for written representations.

Public sittings in the provinces, particularly, in affected areas to enable persons in these areas to have easy access to the commission, in order to make their representations.

This would also enable the commission to gather first hand information from the affected areas.


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