Rejecting that findings of the Darusman report that 40,000 civilians were killed during the final stages of the war and numerous other findings, the Commission of Inquiry into Abductions and Disappearances (Maxwell Paranagama Commission) had stated that it was the LTTE that had killed a majority of the civilians even up to the last hours of the conflict.
The Paranagama Commission's report was tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last afternoon.
“In coming to its findings about the LTTE, the Commission was cognisant of the fact that every major NGO and many international organisations recognized 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," the report said.
According to the report, it had been estimated by a respected Jaffna-based NGO that, in the final 12 hours of the conflict, a majority of the Tamil civilian casualties were caused by the LTTE.
Denying that the army was involved in the killings, the report rejected the suggestion that civilians were either targeted directly or indiscriminately by the army as a part of an alleged genocide plan. Referring to the matter, the report’s executive summary said: “Commission finds that the Darusman Report, as well as other reports, have taken a particularly narrow and restricted view of the obligation upon the government to prosecute offenders.
“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, 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.'”
The report also said that the LTTE had been 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 front lines.
However the commission also stated that shelling by the security forces had also caused a significant number of civilian deaths. “The commission accepted that shelling by the SLA undoubtedly led to a significant number of civilian deaths, but the commission stresses that 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 April 12,” the report said.
The Commission had recommended that to, “deal with the issue of missing persons, effective mechanisms must be established at various levels. It also recommended providing livelihood development assistance and a process of counseling and psychosocial related services. Finally, an effective Truth and Reconciliation Commission had also been recommended.
The Commission of Inquiry into Abductions and Disappearances (Maxwell Paranagama Commission) conducted 12 public sittings in the North and the East. Each public sitting was spread over a period of four days.
The Commission, chaired by Maxwell Paranagama, comprised Suranjana Vidyaratne, Mano Ramanthan, WAT Rathnayaka, H Sumanapala and Maxwell Paranagama. (Yohan Perera and Kelum Bandara)