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 LLRC's credibility rests on establishing Witness Protection Act “ UNP

LLRC's credibility rests on establishing Witness Protection Act “ UNP

2011 Mar 03

Important information that would have been placed before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission was not forthcoming, because there was no Witness Protection Act, the UNP said yesterday.

Kandy District UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella told The Island that the LLRC proceedings could gain credence, only if witnesses were able to testify without fear.

There were many people who would willingly come forward and reveal what they had seen and heard during the LLRC’s mandated period from February 2002 and May 2009 but the absence of a Witness Protection Act, had resulted in the Commission not being able to obtain such information, he said.

Kiriella said that the LLRC had been established to learn lessons from the past and ensure that they were not repeated, but if it was not able to find out the truth, the objective of fact finding and reconciliation could not be achieved and the proceedings would turn out to be a waste of time.

There was no point in pretending that grievous mistakes had not been committed, he said.

MP Kiriella said: "If there is to be genuine peace, the whole truth has to be revealed, mistakes admitted and serious pledges made not to repeat the past. This is the essence of reconciliation and the only way that Sri Lanka can break free from the shackles of the past and move forward as a united nation."

The eight member LLRC was appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on May 15, 2010 to report on the lessons to be learnt from the events during the period February 2002 to May 2009,their attendant concerns and to recommend measures to ensure that there would be no recurrence of such a situation.

The Commission has also been charged with reporting whether any person, group or institution directly or indirectly bears responsibility in this regard. It is also required to report on measures that need to be taken to prevent the recurrence of such concerns in the future and promote national unity and reconciliation among all communities.

The Commissioners appointed under provisions of Section 2 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act (Chapter 393) are C.R de Silva- Chairman, Rohan Perera, Mohamed Jiffry , Karunaratna Hangawatta, Chandirapal Chanmugam, H.M.G.S.Palihakkara, Manohari Ramanathan and Maxwell Paranagama. They have been asked to report back to the President within six months from the date of appointment.

 

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