P’ment to debate findings of final phase of war

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 00:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Ranil tables Paranagama, Udalagama and UNHRC reports
  • P’ment sessions on Thursday and Friday allocated for debate 
  • Paranagama Commission rejects UN-led findings; says LTTE was “principally responsible for loss of civilian life”
  • Puts forward several recommendations
  • Udalagama Commission probing 
  • killing of 17 aid workers says Police investigation “lacked professionalism”
  • Moots inclusion of human rights components in all police and armed forces training



The much awaited Udalagama and Paranagama reports along with the resolution adopted at the United Nations Human Rights Council were tabled yesterday in Parliament.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tabling the report assured the Parliament a debate will be allowed for all three reports.  Thursday and Friday sessions have been set aside for this purpose. 

The Paranagama committee was appointed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to probe complaints regarding missing persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces from 10 June 1990 to 19 May 2009.The report was handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena by its Chairman Maxwell Paranagama, a retired High Court judge, last month.  Paranagama’s Commission report mainly deals with issues related to violation of the International Humanitarian Law or War Crimes allegedly committed by both parties and the recommendations to prevent a repetition.

The Commission has rejected findings by a UN led inquiry which said 40,000 civilians were killed   during the final phase of the war and opined the LTTE was “principally responsible for the loss of civilian life.”

The LTTE was principally responsible for the loss of civilian life during the final phase of the armed conflict through their actions which included taking 300,000 to 330,000 civilian hostages, implementing a strategy of killing Tamil civilians to suit their military aims.

The Commission  accused the LTTE of “using civilians as a strategic human buffer leading to considerable loss of civilian life, using hostages to dig trenches and build fortifications thereby exposing them to harm, sacrificing countless civilians hostages to keep the LTTE leadership in power, arming hostages and forcing them into the front line leading to the deaths of large numbers, forcing a great number of children to man the frontlines; deliberately preventing civilians, under their effective control, from fleeting to areas away from the fighting and executing civilian hostages for attempting to escape their captivity; shelling civilian hostages in order that the LTTE might assign those deaths to the SLA for media purposes to provoke international humanitarian intervention; placing their heavy weaponry amid civilians making it inevitable that there would be civilian casualties; killing civilians through the use of suicide bombers; placing mines and other explosive devices that resulted in civilian deaths; causing the deaths of civilians who drowned in an attempt to flee their LTTE captors; and adopting a practice whereby a significant number of its cadres fought in civilian clothes, thus blurring the distinction between combatants and civilians inevitably leading to civilian deaths,” the report said.

The Darusman Report, named after Indonesian politician Marzuki Darusman who chaired the three member panel appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon to advise him on the issue of accountability with regard to any alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the final stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths.

 “In coming to its findings about the LTTE, the Commission was cognisant of the fact that every major NGO and many international organisations recognised the parasitic conduct of the LTTE in its treatment of Tamil civilian population, including the forcible recruitment of children as soldiers, particularly in the last stages of the war. It has been estimated by a respected Jaffna-based NGO that in the final 12 hours of the conflict the majority of the Tamil civilian casualties were caused by the LTTE,” Paranagama Report said.

The Commission rejected suggestions that civilians were either targeted directly or indiscriminately by the SLA as a part of an alleged genocidal plan,” it said in its executive report adding that “Commission finds that the Darusman Report, as well as other reports, has taken a particularly narrow and restricted view of the obligation upon the GOSL to prosecute international crimes.

It however accepted that shelling by the government forces undoubtedly led to a significant number of civilian deaths, but said this was an inevitable consequence of the LTTE’s refusal to permit civilians to leave their control in order to use them both as a shield and a pool for recruitment, even when the GOSL permitted a ceasefire on 12 April.

The Commission made several recommendations in its report. It said effective mechanisms must be established at various levels to trace missing persons. It also said that legal process against the inmates held in prisons related to LTTE activities, should be expedited. The Commissions also recommended a process of counselling and psycho social related services.

The Commission chaired by Maxwell Paranagama comprised of Suranjana Vidyaratne, Mano Ramanthan, WAT Rathnayaka and H. Sumanapala.

The interim report of the commission headed by retired justice Nissanka Udalagama which probed into the killings of 17 NGO workers just months before the commencement of the final phase of war against the LTTE, has also been presented to the President.

The Udalagama commission was appointed after the CID conducted investigations into the killing of 17 aid workers of the Action Against Hunger (ACF) on August 4, 2006 in Muttur. 

The Report of the Udalagama Commission which was tabled in Parliament yesterday said the Police investigations into the killing of 17 aid workers attached to the French Ngo Action Contre La Farm in August 2006 in Muttur “lacked professionalism.”

The Udalagama Commission was appointed to   investigate and inquire into alleged serious violations of Human rights arising since August 1, 2005.

“Out of the 16 cases mandated to be inquired into by the Commission proceedings seven cases have been concluded. With regard to the balance nine cases the COI is not in a position to conduct the inquired during the mandated period. Two of the cases namely the killing of 17 aid workers of the ACF and the killing of five youths in Trincomalee attracted the attention of many parties including international organisations and foreign governments. Proceedings of these two cases took most of the time of the Commission,” the report said.

The Commission recommended a comprehensive component on human rights and international humanitarian law be incorporated in the all police and armed forces training schemes.

The Commission chaired by Justice N.K. Udalagama comprised of Upawansa Yapa, Devanesan Nesiah, K.C. Logeswaran, Manouri Muttettuwegama, Jezima Ismail, S.S. Wijeratne, Javid Yusuf, Douglas Premaratne, M. Faizal Razeen and Denzil J. Gunaratne.