Colombo:  A Sri Lankan war commission has cleared the nation's army of deliberately targetting civilians in the final stages of the deadly war against the LTTE, though conceding that some isolated incidents could have occurred.

The much anticipated report of Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) which was tabled in parliament on Friday ruled out allegations that army intentionally targeted civilians towards the end of the conflict with Tamil Tigers.

Though the commission cleared the military it recommends that investigations be carried out if there was evidence of isolated cases of excesses.

The commission called for a political settlement of the ethnic conflict with the Tamil minority and asked the government to take the initiative for "a serious and structured" dialogue with all political parties, particularly those representing the minorities.

It has asked the government to reach out to minorities and said that Tamils should in turn reposition themselves in their role vis a vis the state.

The commission’s report comes as Western nations and rights group have called for an independent probe into charges that Sri Lankan army was responsible for death of thousands of civilians in the final military offensive against LTTE.

The much-awaited report, presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa last month, was tabled in the parliament on Friday.

Concluding that there was no deliberate targeting of civilians by the government troops, it recommends investigations if there was evidence.

The report calls on the government ‘to take the initiative to have a serious and structured dialogue with all political parties, and those representing the minorities in particular’. "A political settlement based on devolution must address the ethnic problem as well as other serious problems that threaten the democratic institutions," the report added.

It opines that in order to achieve reconciliation and nation-building is "the state has to reach out to the minorities and the minorities, in turn must, re-position themselves in their role vis-a-vis the state and the country".

Responding to accusations of large scale civilian killings during the military offensive which crushed the LTTE, the report while stressing that the military operations had been conducted professionally says.

"If there is evidence of transgression by individuals, this of course should be examined."

The LLRC report stresses that despite the lapse of two years since the ending of the conflict, "the violence, suspicion and sense of discrimination are still prevalent in social and political life".

The report also said the defeated Tamil Tigers had disregarded international humanitarian law in their combat strategies and called for tough legal action against rebels in detention.

This was caused by the delay in the implementation of a clearly focused post-conflict peace building agenda, it asserts. It says that despite the end of the conflict significant issues of law and order still remain.

"There is apprehension in the minds of the people living in the North and the East, due to continuing acts of extortion, and other criminal acts continuing acts of extortion, and other criminal acts such as abductions,
disappearances, robberies etc by armed groups".

The LLRC, headed by former Attorney General CR de Silva and consisting of several respected public officials was appointed by Rajapaksa in May 2010 to look into the conflict with the LTTE during the period February 2002 and May 2009.

As it proceeded, a special UN panel report appointed by Ban Ki Moon in April issued a report which accused both the government and the LTTE of war crimes.

However, the LLRC makes no reference to Moon's panel report which was dismissed by the government as based on hearsay evidence in order to please the pro-LTTE diaspora in the West.

On the controversial airing of video footage of alleged war crimes by the British TV Channel 4, the LLRC says they recommend to "institute an independent investigation into this issue with a view to establishing the truth or otherwise of these allegations and take action in accordance with the laws of the land".

(Agencies)