NGOs campaign against Sir Desmond de Silva
Posted on August 9th, 2015

Courtesy Island

Certain matters do not get the attention they deserve because everybody is so focused on the election. Last week, a group of 38 NGO activists sent off a petition to President Maithripala Sirisena demanding that Sir Desmond de Silva QC, be removed from the panel of international lawyers advising the government of Sri Lanka on the Geneva issue. What they did was to get one NGO to lodge a complaint against Sir Desmond with the British Bar Standards Board and then send a petition to the president demanding his removal on the grounds that he is being investigated by the British Bar Standards Board! These are the same NGOs that presided over the removal of former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris through a combination of mob action and yahapalana executive fiat. They are now trying the same tactics to get Desmond de Silva removed.

The reason why de Silva has earned the ire of these NGOs is because of the legal opinions that he provided to the Sri Lankan government on the law of armed conflict in relation to the accusations that had been made against the Sri Lankan government. These opinions were secret documents until The Island serialized them some months ago. The opinions that Sir Desmond and all the other international lawyers gave were in fact the only opinions they could give in terms of the existing international law of armed conflict. If readers look into the archives of The Sunday Island, they will see that this columnist too has said much the same things about the international law of armed conflict long before this panel of lawyers came on the scene. You don’t have to be a lawyer to read and understand what has been laid down clearly in black and white.

The only thing that these NGOs can expect to gain from the orchestrated complaint made against Sir Desmond to the UK Bar Standards Board is to use that as an excuse to get him removed from the Sri Lankan panel of advisors. They will not be able to gain anything else from it because the international law of armed conflict was shaped entirely by the Western powers with Britain playing a prominent part in it. All that Sir Desmond has done is to apply that law of armed conflict to the Sri Lankan case. He and the other lawyers on the panel could not have said anything different because they are all Westerners and have to back to their countries after giving their opinions in Sri Lanka. The British Bar Standards Board for its part will examine whether what Sir Desmond said was in accordance with the law of armed conflict and once they do so they will throw out the complaint. If the British Bar Standards Board gives any ruling that will have the effect of altering the present law of armed conflict that will earn the ire of the British establishment and raise howls of protest from the allies of the UK – particularly the USA.

It is with some difficulty that the Western powers have managed to keep the international law of armed conflict within parameters that make it possible to wage war when necessary. International NGOs like the ICRC have been consistently trying to make it impossible for anyone to wage war or even defend oneself and the Western powers up to now have done a good job of beating off the attempts of assorted do-gooders, feminists, anarchists and other such flotsam and jetsam to enable terrorists to take over the world without resistance. The British Bar Standards Board has no option but to fall in line. One of the charges made by the local NGOs against Sir Desmond is that he failed to ‘win the confidence of the victims’ in the Sri Lankan conflict. A lawyer can’t be expected to change the law to win the confidence of victims. If the British Bar Standards Board upholds this charge against Sir Desmond, can anyone imagine what that will do to the involvement of Britain in conflicts around the world?

This writer would like to come back to this topic when the election is over and matters like this will take centre stage with the Geneva matter coming soon afterwards. This is only a hurried note to say that the opinions expressed by Sir Desmond and all the other international lawyers advising the Sri Lankan government was all that could be said about the Sri Lankan case in terms of the existing international law of armed conflict.

One Response to “NGOs campaign against Sir Desmond de Silva”

  1. Sooriarachi Says:

    Having been successful in hoodwinking Maithripala Sirisena to do many irregular things like appointing a Prime Minister from a minority party whilst there was already a Prime Minister from the majority ruling party; terminating the existing Chief Justice by a letter without impeaching him; dissolving the parliament a day before a report on the biggest post independence scam in Sri Lanka, committed through the Central Bank in the very first month; allowing the police to investigate only those referred to it by the current ‘Prime Minister’ etc etc, these petitioners believe Sirisena is a simpleton and a fool who could be flattered into doing even more stupid things favourable to the Tigers and is hoping Sirisena would rubber stamp what is dictated to him and remove an eminent international lawyer from the advisory panel to the internal investigation of the last stages of the brutal conflict orchestrated by the LTTE. I wont be surprised if this inexperienced President continue to blindly signs such demands.

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