LLRC on LTTE shields

Published : Apr 20, 2012 00:00 IST

Large parts of the 400-page report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission deals with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) its cold-blooded strategies from the time it was asked to come to the negotiating table, the problems with the ceasefire agreement, and its actions during the final stages of the war. The LLRC relied on the depositions before it to arrive at most of the conclusions.

One detailed representation of the LTTE strategy (of using civilians as human shields during the end stages of the war) went like this: A civilian who had been displaced with his family since August 2006 stated that the LTTE always mingled with the people even in the NFZs [no-fire zones]. Civilians therefore had tried to escape and move out of the NFZs into safe areas during the night. He further explained that when this happened, the LTTE fired and then the Army returned fire to the place where the LTTE firing came from. On being further questioned on this aspect he stated that when civilians tried to move into government-held areas from the first NFZ, the LTTE prevented them from doing so, and forced them to move to the next NFZ, with the view of using them as a human shield.

While the commission has detailed the various acts of violence and killings by the LTTE in graphic detail, it claims that it was faced with difficulties in attempting a reconstruction of certain incidents involving the loss of civilian lives which have been brought to the attention of the commission. While the commission finds it difficult to determine the precise circumstances under which such incidents occurred the material nevertheless points towards possible implication of the Security Forces for the resulting death or injury to civilians, even though this may not have been with an intent to cause harm.

According to the material placed before the commission, from July 2006 to May 2009, the security forces had lost 5,556 personnel in action, 28,414 were wounded and 169 were missing in action. The LTTE had lost 22,247 fighters, of whom 11,812 have been identified by name.

The United States-sponsored resolution makes no reference to the LTTE, which, according to the Sri Lankan side, was a major flaw. The pro-LTTE diaspora took this as an endorsement of the LTTE's activities. The Sri Lankan government was particularly annoyed over this fact.

They feel that the Sri Lankan government was singled out even though the war was forced on it by the LTTE.

R.K. Radhakrishnan
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