"The independence and impartiality of the [Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation] Commission in all fairness must be judged by the performance of the Commission and not on the basis of pre-conceived notions.’"
This is what the Commission has said in a response to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group which turned down the invitation to appear before it.
Here is the full text of the letter issued in Colombo today:
Ms. Louise Arbour
President and CEO
International Crisis Group
Mr. Kenneth Roth
Human Rights Watch
Mr. Salil Shetty
Dear Sirs/ Madam
I am writing with reference to your letter dated October 14, 2010.
The Commission has directed me to inform you as follows.
The Commission notes that the invitation it had extended to you in good faith in a spirit of constructive dialogue regarding issues of common concerns coming within the purview of its Mandate, has not been appreciated by your organizations.
The Commission regrets that you have resorted to casting aspersions on the integrity on the Commission and the Commissioners in your endeavour to explain your inability or your unwillingness to constructively respond to a good faith invitation by the Commission. The independence and impartiality of the Commission, in all fairness must be judged by the performance of the Commission and not on the basis of pre-conceived notions. The Commission notes with greater regret, the indirect aspersions you have cast on hundreds of fellow citizens who were the victims of this conflict and several responsible civil society organizations of our country, who have already made representations before the Commission.
Despite your ill-founded misgivings about the outcome of the Commission’s work, the Commission will strongly safeguard its independence and will continue to work towards fulfilling its mandate by addressing important issues raised by witnesses, including matters relating to International Humanitarian Law, reconciliation, governance and other related issues.
The Commission remains open to receiving views from all concerned, including yourselves should you change your mind. However, it would not be interested in continuing with correspondence of this nature which does not advance the work of the Commission.
Since you have released your letter addressed to the Commission to the media, this communication too is being released to the media.
Secretary to the Commission