Are the recommendations of LLRC executed effectively ?

Published : 10:21 am  February 28, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (1154) reads | 

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It is a central phenomenon to observe the new appointees to ministries, numerous backlashes against rivalries and the flabbergast scenes played on the political backstage, both in the old and newly appointed regimes. One cannot deny that with the popular slogan “Yahapalanayak” taking a firm foothold in people’s minds, it is only timely and fitting that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission is implemented in full motion under the present political scenario that appears to be highly politicized.
Keeping this in mind, a seminar hosted by Verité Research at the Sri Lanka Press Institute focused on the present progress of the LLRC recommendations and on the recommendations that can be put into practice in the short-run by the government. The seminar was conducted by Head of Legal Research at Verité Research Gehan Gunatilleke  based on extensive research into the extent of which the LLRC recommendations have been implemented in the country. A report titled “Sri Lanka: LLRC Implementation Monitor – Statistical and Analytical Review” was published based on the research annotations.

A brief overview of the LLRC

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Addressing the seminar Gunatilleke said their research observations indicate that media coverage for LLRC was less although this aspect must be given more consideration in due course. Ceasing the thirty year raging war that was a root cause of committing atrocious deeds, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed the Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation on May 15, 2010.
Henceforth, the Commission had been instrumental in assessing and drawing at conclusions based on the experiences and keen scrutiny of victims of the blood thirsty war which caused severe damage to people, property and the environment. Titled “Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation,” the Commission submitted its completed report in two volumes in 2011, while the final report was published and tabled in Parliament in December, 2011.
“Key facts about the LLRC covered a period beyond the mandated period of 2002-2009, because it covered the late 1980s post war period. The actual number of recommendation made under the LLRC report includes 179 recommendations although many confuse this with the number of paragraphs in the recommendations chapter amounting to 285,” Gunatilleke said.

Overall status of implementation

The seminar emphasized that the government had been instrumental in implementing the LLRC recommendations. He said that while the numbers of recommendations vary according to certain thematic areas, research indicate that nineteen recommendations have been fully implemented by the LLRC up to date.
Gunatilleke said that although nineteen recommendations had been fully implemented, fifty nine per cent of the recommendations were still partially implemented while sixteen per cent had not seen progress at any rate.
Highlighting the LLRC recommendations on killings and disappearances, he said the LLRC was clear  about its stance from the beginning where it advocated shifting from a military based administration to civilian administration. He stated that the Constitution manifestly provided for a Land Commission which has been recommended by the LLRC, although not implemented yet.

Among the LLRC recommendations based on Civil Institution, Detention Policy, Devolution and Freedom of Expression, the last aspect is of greater significance as it reports that this recommendation has been fully implemented by the government. The evidence provided in this regard is the reinstatement of the Press Council.
Presenting his report on the research activity relating to the recommendation on the Rule of Law, Gunatilleke said the LLRC is quite candid when it comes to name certain people who are perpetrators of law. “ These people were investigated for the crimes  they committed. Despite this, the research indicates that eighty six per cent of the recommendations pertaining to the Rule of Law are still under poor progress,” he said.
Pointing out that people lack active bilingual officers at Police Stations, he said that the recommendations on Languages, Integration and Reconciliation are still in partial progress.

What recommendations of the LLRC can be implemented in the short-run?

Mentioning that gaps were found in the implementing LLRC recommendations, the seminar suggested certain recommendations that come under the framework of the LLRC to be implemented in the short-run.

The report suggests to immediately establish an Independent Public Service Commission  in order to ascertain that political interference in the public service would not take place. Moreover, the recruitment and promotions in the public service must take place parallel to the equality provisions in the Constitution.
“The Udawalawe Report can be published as a recommendation of Disappearances and Killings, whereas publishing the APRC report would help in implementing the recommendation on Devolution in the short-run. As for Freedom of Expression, the government could implement the circulation of the draft bill on the Right to Information and investigate Iniya Bharathi under the Rule of Law.

The LLRC is the first of its kind as a national commission to publish its transcript. The purpose of a report based on their research would facilitate the government as it has taken the LLRC recommendations into serious consideration and it is one of the top priorities in their agenda,” he said.

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