Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA)
Norwegian Peace Initiative
Proposal of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on behalf of the Tamil
people for an agreement to establish an interim self governing authority
for the North-East of the island of Sri Lanka [also in PDF]
[see also Covering Letter from LTTE to Norwegian Facilitator]
31 October 2003
Consistent with the principles of the rule of law, the human rights and
equality of all persons, and the right to self-determination of Peoples,
Determined to bring lasting peace to all persons of the island of Sri Lanka,
Acknowledging with appreciation the services of the Royal Norwegian
Government, the Norwegian People, and the international community in
attempting to bring peace to the island,
Recognizing that a peaceful resolution is a real possibility, despite the
challenging history of the peace process between the Tamil people and the
Sinhala people.
Determined to establish an interim self-governing authority for the
NorthEast region and to provide for the urgent needs of the people of the
NorthEast by formulating laws and policies and, effectively and
expeditiously executing all resettlement, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and
development in the NorthEast, while the process for reaching a final
settlement remains ongoing.
Being aware that the history of the relations between the Tamil People and
the Sinhala People has been a process of broken promises and unilateral
abrogation, by successive governments of Sri Lanka, of pacts and
agreements solemnly entered into between the government of Sri Lanka
(GOSL) and the elected representatives of the Tamil People,
Bearing in mind that successive Governments of Sri Lanka have
perpetrated persecution, discrimination, State violence and Stateorchestrated
violence against the Tamil People,
Noting that the Tamil people mandated their elected representatives to
establish an independent sovereign, secular State for the Tamil people in
the elections subsequent to the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976,
Bearing in mind that the Tamil armed struggle as a measure of self-defense
and as a means for the realisation of the Tamil right to self-determination
arose only after more than four decades of non-violent and peaceful
constitutional struggle proved to be futile and due to the absence of means
to resolve the conflict peacefully,
Recalling that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) first took
measures towards peace by unilaterally declaring the ceasefire in
December, 2000 and again in December, 2001, opening highways,
facilitating trade and the free movement of people, and entering into peace
negotiations in good faith in the hope of creating an environment
conducive to the return of normalcy and a just resolution of the conflict,
Taking Note of the political courage of the present GOSL in reciprocating to
the 2001 cease-fire,
Realizing that the war in the island of Sri Lanka was principally confined to
the NorthEast, resulting in the destruction of the social, economic,
administrative, and physical infrastructure of that area, and that the
NorthEast still remains the region in the island of Sri Lanka affected by war,
Recognising that the majority of the Tamil People in the NorthEast, by their
actions in the general elections held in the year 2000, gave their mandate
acknowledging the LTTE as their authentic representative,
Knowing that the LTTE exercises effective control and jurisdiction over the
majority of the NorthEast area of the island of Sri Lanka,
Realising that reaching a final negotiated settlement and the
implementation thereof is expected to be a long process,
Affirming the necessity for the safe and free return of all refugees and
displaced persons and their urgent need for unimpeded access to their
homes and secure livelihoods at land and sea in the NorthEast,
Mindful that institutions and services provided by the GOSL have proved to
be inadequate to meet the urgent needs of the people of the NorthEast,
Recognising the failure of the Sub-committee on Immediate Humanitarian
and Rehabilitation Needs (SIHRN) and other Sub-Committees formed
during the peace negotiations, which failure was due to the composition of
such Sub-Committees, which repeatedly led to inaction,
Acknowledging the recognition by the GOSL of the necessity for an Interim
Authority, as mentioned in its 2000 election manifesto,
Realising that maintenance of law and order is an essential pre-requisite
for a just and free society,
Recognising the need for raising revenue to meet the urgent needs for the
Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development of the
NorthEast region, which has been devastated by war, and for the carrying
out of any function of Government,
Recognising the importance of control over land in resettlement,
rehabilitation, reconstruction and development,
Mindful that the Tamils did not participate in the making of the 1972 and
1978 constitutions, which institutionalized discrimination and denied them
an effective role in the decision-making process,
Noting the practice in international relations over the last decade of solving
conflicts between Peoples through agreement between the parties to the
conflict on terms of equality and through innovative and imaginative
Relying on international precedents for establishing interim governing
arrangements in war-torn countries having the force of law based solely on
pacts or agreements between the warring parties recognized by the
international community,
Noting that measures such as the Ceasefire Agreement, including the role
of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), and, the establishment of the
SIHRN and the NorthEast Reconstruction Fund (NERF) constitute valid
precedents for making such arrangements,
Wherefore, the Parties, namely the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam and the Government of Sri Lanka, hereby agree to the
following provisions:
1. Interim Self-Governing Authority
An Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA) shall be established comprised
of the eight districts namely: Amparai, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kilinochchi,
Mannar, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee and Vavuniya in the NorthEast, until a final
negotiated settlement is reached and implemented.
Representatives of the Muslim community have the right to participate in
formulation of their role in the ISGA.
2. Composition of the ISGA
2.1. The ISGA shall consist of such number of members as may be
determined by the Parties to this Agreement.
2.2. The composition of the ISGA shall be:
2.2.a. Members appointed by the LTTE,
2.2.b. Members appointed by the GOSL, and
2.2.c. Members appointed by the Muslim community in the NorthEast.
2.3. The number of members will be determined to ensure:
2.3.a. An absolute majority of the LTTE appointees in the ISGA.
2.3.b. Subject to (a) above, the Muslim and Sinhala Communities in the
NorthEast shall have representation in the ISGA.
2.4. The Chairperson shall be elected by a majority vote of the ISGA and
shall serve as the Chief Executive of the ISGA.
2.5. The Chairperson shall appoint the Chief Administrator for the
NorthEast and such other officers as may be required to assist in the
performance of his/her duties. The Chairperson shall have the powers to
suspend or terminate any such appointment.
3. Elections
The provisions of Clauses 2.2 and 2.3 shall continue until elections for the
ISGA are held. Such elections shall be held at the expiry of five years of the
coming into force of this Agreement, if no final settlement has been
reached and implemented by the end of the said period of five years. An
independent Election Commission, appointed by the ISGA, shall conduct
free and fair elections in accordance with international democratic
principles and standards under international observation.
4. Human Rights
The people of the NorthEast shall be accorded all rights as are provided
under international human rights law. Every law, regulation, rule, order or
decision of the ISGA shall conform to internationally accepted standards of
human rights protection. There shall be an independent Human Rights
Commission, appointed by the ISGA, which shall ensure the compliance
with all such human rights obligations. The Commission will seek the
assistance of international human rights bodies to facilitate the rapid
establishment of an effective regime for protecting human rights. The
Commission shall be entitled to receive petitions from any individual
person, award compensation to any such affected person, and ensure that
such person’s rights are restored.
5. Secularism
No religion shall be given the foremost place in the NorthEast.
6. Prohibition against Discrimination
The ISGA shall ensure that there is no discrimination on grounds of
religion, race, caste, national or regional origin, age or gender in the
7. Prevention of Bribery and Corruption.
The ISGA shall ensure that no bribery or corruption is permitted in or under
its administration.
8. Protection of All Communities
No law, regulation, rule, order or decision that confers a privilege or
imposes a disability on any community, which is not conferred or imposed
on any other community, shall be made concerning culture or religion.
9. Jurisdiction of the ISGA.
9.1. The ISGA shall have plenary power for the governance of the NorthEast
including powers in relation to resettlement, rehabilitation, reconstruction,
and development, including improvement and upgrading of existing
services and facilities (hereinafter referred to as RRRD), raising revenue
including imposition of taxes, revenue, levies and duties, law and order,
and over land.
These powers shall include all powers and functions in relation to regional
administration exercised by the GOSL in and for the NorthEast.
9.2. The detailed modalities for the exercise of such powers and the
performance of such functions shall be subject to further discussion by the
parties to this agreement.
10. Separation of Powers
Separate institutions for the administration of justice shall be established
for the NorthEast, and judicial powers shall be vested in such institutions.
The ISGA shall take appropriate measures to ensure the independence of
the judges.
Subject to Clauses 4 (Human Rights) and 22 (Settlement of Disputes), of
this Agreement, the institutions created under this clause shall have sole
and exclusive jurisdiction to resolve all disputes concerning the
interpretation and implementation of this agreement and any other
disputes arising in or under this agreement or any provision thereof.
11. Finance
The ISGA shall prepare an annual budget.
There shall be a Financial Commission consisting of members appointed
by the ISGA. The members should have distinguished themselves or held
high office in the fields of finance, administration or business. This
Commission shall make recommendations as to the amount out of the
Consolidated Fund to be allocated to the NorthEast. The GOSL shall make
its good faith efforts to implement the recommendation.
The ISGA will, giving due consideration to an equitable distribution,
determine the use of funds placed at its disposal. These funds shall include
the NorthEast General Fund, the NorthEast Reconstruction Fund (NERF)
and the Special Fund.
The GOSL agrees that any and all of its expenditures in or for the
NorthEast shall be subject to the control of the ISGA.
11.1. NorthEast General Fund
The NorthEast General Fund shall be under the control
of ISGA and shall consist of:
1. 11.1.a. The proceeds of all grants and loans made by the GOSL
to the ISGA and the proceeds of all other loans made to the
2. 11.1.b. All allocations by the GOSL from agreements with
states, institutions and/or other organizations earmarked in
any such agreements for the NorthEast.
3. 11.1.c. All other receipts of the ISGA, other than the funds
specified below.
11.2. NorthEast Reconstruction Fund
The NERF shall continue to exist in its present form
except that control over it will be transferred to the
All grants given for the reconstruction of the NorthEast,
will be received through the NERF. Utilization of
resources from NERF will be directly determined and
supervised by the ISGA.
11.3. Special Fund
All loans and any grants which cannot be channeled
through the NERF for the specific purpose of RRRD will
be received into the Special Fund. As in the case of
other Funds, the ISGA shall control the Special Fund.
12. Powers to Borrow, Receive Aid and Trade.
The ISGA shall have powers to borrow internally and externally, provide
guarantees and indemnities, receive aid directly, and engage in or regulate
internal and external trade.
13. Accounting and Auditing of Funds.
13.1. The ISGA shall appoint an Auditor General.
13.2. All Funds referred to in this Agreement shall be operated, maintained
and audited in accordance with internationally accepted accounting and
auditing standards. The accounts will be audited by the Auditor General.
The auditing of all moneys received from international sources shall be
subjected to approval by an internationally-reputed firm appointed by the
14. District Committees.
14.1. In the effective exercise of its legislative and executive powers, the
ISGA may create District Committees to carry out administration in the
districts and delegate to such Committees, such powers as the ISGA may
determine. The Chairpersons of such committees shall be appointed by the
ISGA from amongst its members in order to serve as a liaison between the
ISGA and the Committees.
14.2. The other members of the Committees shall also be appointed by the
ISGA, which shall have the powers to suspend or terminate any such
appointment. In appointing such members, due consideration shall be
given to ensure representation of all communities.
14.3. The Committees will function directly under the ISGA.
14.4. The Chief Administrator of the ISGA shall appoint Principal Executive
Officers in the districts, who shall also function as the Secretaries to the
Committees. The Chief Administrator shall have the powers to suspend or
terminate any such appointment.
14.5. All activities and functions of the Committees shall be coordinated
through the respective Secretaries to the Committees.
14.6. Sub-committees may also be appointed to facilitate administration.
15. Administration
As part of the exercise of its executive powers the ISGA shall have
direction and control over any and all administrative structures and
personnel in the NorthEast pertaining to the powers set out in Clause 9 of
this Agreement.
The ISGA may, at its discretion, create expert advisory committees in
necessary areas. These areas will include but are not limited to Economic
Affairs, Financial Affairs, Judicial Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation
Affairs, Development of Infrastructure, and Essential Services.
16. Administration of Land
Since land is vital to the exercise of the powers set out in Clause 9
(jurisdiction of the ISGA), the ISGA shall have the power to alienate and
determine the appropriate use of all land in the NorthEast that is not
privately owned.
The ISGA shall appoint a Special Commission on Administration of Land to
inquire into and report on the rights of dispossessed people over land and
land subject to encroachment, notwithstanding the lapse of any time
relating to prescription.
The ISGA shall determine the term of competencies of the Special
17. Resettlement of Occupied Lands
The occupation of land by the armed forces of the GOSL, and the denial to
the rightful civilian owners of unfettered access to such land, is a violation
of the norms of international law. Such land must be immediately vacated
and restored to the possession of the previous owners. The GOSL must
also compensate the owners for the past dispossession of their land.
The ISGA shall be responsible for the resettlement and rehabilitation of
displaced civilians and refugees in such lands.
18. Marine and off-shore resources
The ISGA shall have control over the marine and offshore resources of the
adjacent seas and the power to regulate access thereto.
19. Natural Resources
The ISGA will have control over the natural resources in the NorthEast
region. Existing agreements relating to any such natural resources will
continue in force. The GOSL shall ensure that all monies due under such
agreements are paid to the ISGA. Any future changes to such existing
agreements should be made with the concurrence of the ISGA. Future
agreements shall be entered into with the ISGA.
20. Water Use
Upper riparian users of river systems have a duty to ensure that there is a
fair, equitable and reasonable use of water resources by lower riparian
users. The GOSL and the ISGA shall ensure that this internationally
recognized principle is followed in the use of water resources.
21. Agreements and contracts
All future agreements concerning matters under the jurisdiction of the
ISGA shall be made with the ISGA. Existing agreements will continue, but
the GOSL shall ensure that all proceeds under such agreements are paid to
the ISGA. Any changes to such existing agreements should be made with
the concurrence of the ISGA.
22. Settlement of Disputes
Where a dispute arises between the Parties to this Agreement as to its
interpretation or implementation, and it cannot be resolved by any other
means acceptable to the Parties including conciliation by the Royal
Norwegian Government, there shall be an arbitration before a tribunal
consisting of three members, two of whom shall be appointed by each
Party. The third member, who shall be the Chairperson of the tribunal, shall
be appointed jointly by the Parties concerned. In the event of any
disagreement over the appointment of the Chairperson, the Parties shall
ask the President of the International Court of Justice to appoint the
In the determination of any dispute the arbitrators shall ensure the parity of
status of the LTTE and the GOSL and shall resolve disputes by reference
only to the provisions of this Agreement.
The decision of the arbitrators shall be final and conclusive and it shall be
binding on the Parties to the dispute.
23. Operational Period
This Agreement shall continue until a new Government for the NorthEast,
pursuant to a permanent negotiated settlement, is established. The Parties
will negotiate in good faith to reach such a settlement as early as possible.
Provided, however, that at the end of four years if no final agreement has
been reached between the Parties to this agreement, both Parties shall
engage in negotiations in good faith for the purpose of adding, clarifying,
and strengthening the terms of this Agreement.