Doyen of Sri Lanka’s civil society intellectuals sharply criticizes the Darusman Report

Truth and Accountability: The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka


Godfrey Gunatilleke, one of Sri Lanka’s and South Asia’s most respected intellectuals, a distinguished former civil servant, and founder of the country’s oldest independent think-tank, the MARGA Institute, made a sharply critical evaluation of the UNSG’s advisory Panel Report in an extended analysis entitled “Truth and Accountability: the Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka”. He concludes that:

“A wise judge knows that in the imperfect domain of human knowledge there are many versions of the truth and steers himself conscientiously through all these versions, seeking the truth. The outcome of the Panels’ report falls far short of such wisdom.

The root of the problems in the report lie in their outrageous interpretation of the government’s military strategy as designed at the extermination of Tamils without any humanitarian intention or effort at rescuing hostages. With this interpretation the panel puts on the blinkers that distort all their perceptions of the government’s actions. The report also gives a deliberately truncated view of the government’s action by excluding what would have provided a different and more positive explanation of these actions. This deficiency is seen in every part of the report that deals with government actions.” (Conclusion - pp.28-29)

Dr Godfrey Gunatilleke is the Chairman Emeritus and founder member of the Marga Institute (Centre of Development Studies, Sri Lanka). He served as Minister of Planning from 1965 to 1972 and was the Director of Plan Implementation and Project Evaluation, the Additional Secretary and thereafter Special Adviser.

At present, he is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington and member of the WHO Task Force on Health in Development. He served as Member of Boards of several government bodies and Commissions including the Institute of Policy Studies, The Human Resources Development Council, and the National Resources, Energy and Science Authority.

The author of several books, articles and publications on development issues, and an outstanding literary critic, his involvement in the literary field includes short stories such as “The Garden”, “Thief in the Night” and literary critical articles “Language without Metaphor”. Dr. Gunatilleke is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Gratiaen Trust.

Dr. Gunatilleke was conferred several national and international awards including the “Deshmanaya” for distinguished public service.

Please click here to read the working paper prepared by Godfrey Gunatilleke

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