Sunday, May 16, 2010

Is Reconciliation Commission Sri Lankan Government Ploy?

The allegation of the Sri Lankan Army shooting dead members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who surrendered to them, carrying white flags in their hands, has become, since then, the most talked about topic in the global diplomatic circuit.

Semblance of Sincerity
Attempts made to raise this issue at the UN General Assembly sessions were thwarted by a diplomatic maneuver of the Sri Lankan Government. Of late, the efforts of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint an advisory committee to brief him on a course of action to be taken in this connection, against Sri Lanka, have also been largely unsuccessful. Undoubtedly, the Sri Lankan Government has been working behind the scenes to nip Ban Ki-moon's efforts to appoint that advisory committee in the bud.

The same Sri Lankan Government that has foiled all efforts relating to the intended international inquiry into these allegations is not in the least bothered about probing those allegations with any semblance of sincerity in spite of its utterances to the effect that it will conduct its own independent probe into the matter.

Responsibility for War Crimes
The government continues to tout the news about a Sri Lankan Presidential Commission being appointed to establish facts relating to the allegations purportedly for the objective of deciding on whether it was necessary for the government to acknowledge responsibility for those war crimes. But the government has done nothing meaningful in this connection to date. Anxiety prevails in several quarters as to why the government has not yet appointed the commission as announced.

There was a sudden report on 12 May that a reconciliation commission has been appointed and would commence its investigations immediately.

However, it is now said that the commission appointed to probe the allegations leveled by the US Department of State regarding the war in Sri Lanka and establish facts about whether indeed there were war crimes committed or not -- and hence a violation of international laws- will only inquire into 300 charges falling under five categories. Commission Secretary S.M. Samarakoon, has revealed this fact. So far, so good. The government has at least revealed the names of the members of the commission and the matters to be investigated. A Tamil and a Muslim have also been appointed to serve on this six-man commission.

Samarakoon has also acknowledged that the commission has been tasked to probe into the hardships suffered by the public and children in particular, those who disappeared, killings of those who surrendered and humanitarian matters. But he goes on to say in the same breath that since the commission has not been vested with adequate powers the commission had still not decided to probe the alleged killings of those who surrendered and those who disappeared.

International Speculation
This certainly is a shocking understatement of double-speak. The announcement that the commission has not yet decided to probe the two most vital issues which are at the core of international speculation and deep concern, is rather amusing. It is also an attempt to conceal a fact that the whole world is aware of.

No matter what name is given to this charade, it's clear that the Sri Lankan Government is resorting to mental games aimed at fooling the whole world. But then, for how long can the government lead everyone down the garden path?
Eye washing does not always succeed.

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