Sri Lanka’s war probe slams rights groups

October 15, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s government-appointed war probe Friday reprimanded foreign rights groups that rejected an invitation to testify and said the local panel should not be judged by “preconceived notions”. Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) said it will “strongly safeguard” its independence despite the “ill-founded misgivings” of three international human rights groups which had been invited to testify.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, London-based Amnesty International and Brussels-based International Crisis Group on Thursday snubbed an invitation to appear before the LLRC, accusing it of a cover-up.

“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 preconceived notions,” the Sri Lankan panel said in a letter.

“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,” the panel said.

The panel, headed by a retired attorney general, said its investigation will address “important issues raised by witnesses, including matters rela