UNHRC Resolution: Confusion over who committed to foreign judges
Posted on March 23rd, 2017

By Kelum Bandara Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Ahead of the vote on yet another resolution on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) tomorrow, an intense debate has taken place on the move for the inclusion of foreign judges in a judicial mechanism to hear accountability and human rights issues during the war time.

The new resolution, to be put to vote tomorrow , is just a rollover seeking to extend the timeline given for the government of Sri Lanka to deliver on its commitments in the previous resolution adopted on October 1, 2015 with Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship.

The 2015 resolution calls for the inclusion of foreign or commonwealth judges in a judicial mechanism to hear the cases concerned. The Operative Paragraph 6 of the 2015 resolution says-
(UNHRC) Welcomes the government’s recognition that accountability is essential to uphold the rule of law and build confidence in the people of all communities of Sri Lanka in the justice system, takes note with appreciation of the Government of Sri Lanka’s proposal to establish a Judicial Mechanism with a Special Counsel to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, as applicable; and affirms that a credible justice process should include independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by individuals known for integrity and impartiality; and further affirms in this regard the importance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators.”
Despite Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship of this resolution, President Maitripala Sirisena said he would not accept foreign judges. Alongside, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe echoed similar sentiments and even said the provisions of the present Constitution did not provide for the inclusion of foreign judges.

Tomorrow’s resolution is sought to extend the time for the implementation of the provisions of the 2015 resolution. If it is adopted, Sri Lanka will get two more years to implement the provisions which include the special judicial mechanism. There is strict opposition to the participation of international judicial personnel even by the Head of State. Then, it is now questioned who committed Sri Lanka to such a resolution in 2015, even unmindful of barriers for it in the Constitution as the supreme law of the country.

That commitment seems to have been made even without the connivance of the President and the Prime Minister as they are publicly opposed to it.

The Joint Opposition or the Mahinda Rajapaksa faction of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) takes Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera to task over this. It believes Mr. Samaraweera did it in his own to appease the sections of the international community and the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora. However, Mr. Samaraweera, in an interview with the Daily Mirror, once said he took the decision to co-sponsor this resolution on October 1, 2015 well in consultation with all concerned. There are confusions and contradictions in this regard.

It is still not too late for the government to do away with the controversial paragraph of the resolution. It has time till tomorrow for any action in this respect. In fact, there is also the call for the deletion of the operative paragraph 6 when the new resolution is moved for a vote tomorrow. Then, the country will be able to absolve itself from responsibility to include foreign judges in hearing the alleged violations of human rights and accountability issues during the war period. The Joint Opposition urged the government to initiate action in this direction at a press conference.

TNA wants foreign judges
Meanwhile, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the main force lobbying for an international probe, is adamant that foreign judges should be allowed to participate in a judicial mechanism. Its Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran is on record saying it during a press interaction.

Sarath Weerasekara takes on LTTE lobbyists
As for the current session of the UNHRC, there is a novel development this time. For the first time, former Head of the Civil Defence Force Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara went to Geneva to lobby against an international probe, and to defend the Sri Lanka’s security forces against war crimes allegation.

He managed to secure a seat at the main table at an event in the UNHRC to present his case. He went along with a report compiled by professionals here countering the report of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights. Alongside, some Joint Opposition MPs such as Bandula Gunawardane and Rohitha Abeygunawardane also flew to Geneva for the same purpose.

President axes two more JO MPs from organiser posts
President Maithripala Sirisena, in his reform programme of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), stripped two more MPs of the Joint Opposition from their organiser posts of the party. Accordingly, MP Ramesh Patirane, the son of late Minister Richard Patirane, was removed from his post as the SLFP organiser of Akmeemana, Galle, and MP Mohan Silva from the Ratgama electorate. Also, a new organiser was appointed to the Balapitiya electorate.

Afterwards, President Sirisena headed for Russia yesterday on a State visit, the first by a Sri Lankan leader after 1974. The visit was undertaken at an invitation by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Five Cabinet Ministers including Mr. Samaraweera, joined the entourage

MR instructs JO to have protest campaigns
The leaders of the Joint opposition had a meeting on March 13 at the official residence of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Only the Joint Opposition plays the role of the Opposition in the proper sense. So, the Government is involved in repression of its activities. The Government had got panicked,” Mr. Rajapaksa told the gathering.

Then, MP Dinesh Gunawardane drew the attention of the meeting to the resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council to be sent to Geneva.
This amounts to the violation of the Constitution. The Government remains mute over such developments. The President, bound to protect the territorial integrity of the country, is also silent,” he said.

Afterwards, the participants focused their attention on the delay in conducting the local government elections. As of now, two years have rolled by without elections to the local bodies. Commenting on this, MP Dallus Alahapperuma said the local government members were demanding the elections at the earliest.

Mr. Rajapaksa said these members would demonstrate throughout the country. Accordingly, two demonstrations were organised in Ratnapura and Matara. He said that at the end of the month, there would be a massive protest rally.

GL, Udaya go to see Wimal in remand prison
Chairman of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Prof. G.L. Peiris, along with MPs Udaya Gammanpila and Niroshan Premaratne, went to see MP Wimal Weerawansa in remand prison. By the time, Mr. Weerawansa had started his hunger strike. According to sources, Mr. Weerawansa stressed the need to have a broad initiative against repression by the government.

Afterwards, Prof. Peiris and others were planning for the next course of action to secure bail for Mr. Weerawansa. One is to file a revised bail application to the High Court, and the second to go to the Court of Appeal. Or else, there is the third option to seek bail from the magistrate court.
The court vacation is coming up, and as a result, whatever process is to take a little time. Against the backdrop, Mr. Weerawansa fears that he will have to languish in remand prison during the Avurudu season.

Welgama’s luck
In view of the International Women’s  Day, the Joint Opposition organised a rally in Vihara Mahadevi Park in Colombo. A woman who was passing by got her one foot entangled and collapsed on Kalutara District MP Kumara Welgama who was there. The other MPs, Namal Rajapaksa, Dilum Amunugama and Prasanna Ranatunga, made fun of it.

It was sheer luck for Kumara aiya,” Namal Rajapaksa quipped.
Mr. Welgama replied.
The luck, I wish it should work malli.”
Then, Mr. Ranatunga joined in.
We know Kumara aiya is always lucky.”
Such jovial remarks created laughter among those present.

– See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/UNHRC-Resolution-Confusion-over-who-committed-to-foreign-judges-126025.html#sthash.hQXHO9nu.dpuf

One Response to “UNHRC Resolution: Confusion over who committed to foreign judges”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    GL Pieris alerted, warned and demanded the 6th provision in the new UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka to be rejected and removed by the Government of Sri Lanka.

    GL said that it is STILL possible for the GOSL to do so, and that the TREACHEROUS Foreign Minister Ava-Managala Samsraweera should not be allowed to sign it in Geneva, but HIS PLEA HAS FALLEN ON DEAF EARS!

    Our illustrious PANA-NATHI JANA-PATHI, living in his dream world, DID NOTHING, but twiddle his thumbs!

    As a result, the 6th provision in the new UNHRC resolution in Geneva will commit Sri Lanka to fully complying with the old UNHRC resolution, that Ava-Managla Samaraweera had previously signed without the concurrence of the President and the GOSL, within TWO years!

    Already, the regime change artistes of the US, the UK and Human Rights Watch have chimed in demanding a FIRM SCHEDULE from the GOSL for its full implementation!

    Sri Lanka has fallen from the FRYING PAN into the BURNING FIRE! May GODs help us!

    At least, this AWFUL TRAITOR Ava-Managala Samaraweera should be SUMMARILY FIRED and PROSECUTED for making policy in VIOLATION of his bounden duty to obtain concurrence of the President and the Parliament!

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