Term of controversial Lankan panel extended: Report

A controversial Sri Lankan panel looking into key issues linked to the ethnic conflict in the country has delayed its report, forcing the president to extend its term by six months, a report said.

Updated: Nov 07, 2010, 21:58 PM IST

Colombo: A controversial Sri Lankan panel
looking into key issues linked to the ethnic conflict in the
country has delayed its report, forcing the president to
extend its term by six months, a report said.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has extend the term of the
`Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission` (LLRC) which is
tasked to look into the events from February 2002 to May 2009
by a period of six months, Lakshman Wickremasinghe, the Media
Advisor of the LLRC was quoted as saying by the ColomboPage
online.

Wickremasinghe said the term of the LLRC was to expire
at the end of November, but will now be able to conduct its
hearings until May 2011.

The extension was due to requests to grant it more
time to provide testimonies to the LLRC, he said.

The government has also appointed an Advisory
Committee to implement the recommendations of the report
released by the LLRC.

In May, the government set up the LLRC with eight
members, headed by the former Attorney General Chitta Ranjan
de Silva, to report on the lessons to be learnt from the
events in the period from February 21, 2002 to May 19, 2009.

The key panel has sparked a row in the country and
outside with three prominent human rights organisations --
Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group and Amnesty
International -- refusing to testify before it on issues
linked to the alleged war crimes committed by security forces
in the final stages of the war against LTTE.

Colombo has rejected all calls for an international
investigation on the alleged rights abuses. The government
rebuffed a three-member UN panel to look into alleged
human rights violations during the ethnic conflict.

The UN has said the panel, headed by Indonesia`s
former attorney general Marzuki Darusman, is not a fact
finding or investigative body "pointed at the Sri Lankan
authorities".

Numerous accusations of war crimes during a final
military offensive against Tamil rebels in the northeastern
part of the island last year have been raised by rights
groups.

In May 2009, the government forces crushed the LTTE
and ended a three-decade conflict for an independent state for
the minority Tamil community. According to the United Nations,
between 80,000 and 100,000 people were killed during the
conflict.

PTI