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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sri Lanka report says military did not target civilians
Jaimie Cremeans at 12:35 PM ET

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[JURIST] Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission [official website] released a report [text, PDF] Friday concluding that Sri Lanka's military did not intentionally attack civilians following the country's civil war. The LLRC was created by the Sri Lankan government in 2010 to investigate 2009 events in which civilians were killed. In compiling the report, the LLRC invited representatives of the public and got the majority of its information from the general public. It concluded that the events did not seem to be intentional attacks by Sri Lanka Security Forces against civilians who were injured or killed but still recommended possible punishment for misconduct and compensation to those injured in specific situations. It also stressed the importance of realizing the political actions that brought about the conflict in the first place:
The process of reconciliation requires a full acknowledgement of the tragedy of the conflict and a collective act of contrition by the political leaders and civil society, of both Sinhala and Tamil communities. The conflict could have been avoided had the southern political leaders of the two main political parties acted in the national interest and forged a consensus between them to offer an acceptable solution to the Tamil people. The Tamil political leaders were equally responsible for this conflict which could have been avoided had the Tamil leaders refrained from promoting an armed campaign towards secession.
It also recommended a National Day be appointed to "express solidarity and empathy with all victims of the tragic conflict."

In November, the Sri Lankan government announced it would begin investigating the number of casualties [JURIST report] from its 26-year civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [JURIST news archive]. This came after allegations of war crimes [JURIST report] by the UN and others following the conclusion of the civil war [Guardian report] in 2009.

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