The appointment came as the country marked the first anniversary of the end of the 26-year war against separatist Tamil rebels.
The commission was given a mandate to investigate only events since February 2002, when an aborted ceasefire came into force.
The commission, headed by former attorney general Chitta Ranjan de Silva, was charged with recommending methods of compensating those affected by the conflict or their dependents.
Within the next six months, it is to recommend administrative and legislative measures to prevent any recurrence of a similar conflict, and to promote national unity and reconciliation among Sri Lanka's ethnic communities.
The commission was appointed after the UN and other international organisations urged a review of alleged human rights abuses in the final stages of the war.
UN estimates suggest that more than 7,500 civilians were killed in the final months, before rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed May 19, ending the conflict.
However, the commission's mandate does not make any specific reference to alleged human rights abuses. The conflict claimed an estimated 100,000 lives.
Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday appointed a reconciliation commission to investigate the country's ethnic conflict and make recommendations to prevent a recurrence, officials said.
First Published: Monday, May 17, 2010, 16:19