Prime Minster Ranil Wickremesinghe inaugurating the Commonwealth Asia Regional Seminar for parliamentarians in Colombo on Monday clarified about how foreign judges could participate in the accountability mechanism.
"The composition of the Supreme Court is decided by the constitution. So who can be members of the final body is decided by the constitution and they have to be citizens of Sri Lanka. We have no provision here to have foreign judges just as much as in your countries there are no provisions for foreign judges. But that does not preclude Commonwealth judges from participation in the process. Then there will be the big question of who shall be prosecutors. That, neither the President nor I nor Parliament can decide. We like yours have the same system, the Bar jealously guards their rights and the Supreme Court decides who should be admitted. If you have passed your exams.. all and good. If you are not a lawyer of your own country, the only way is to go before the Supreme Court. If you are going to change that system the Supreme Court will say it requires a referendum. So within this we will look at how judges would participate," he told participating parliamentarians from Commonwealth countries at the regional seminar. The Prime Minister however said Sri Lanka would have to strengthen its judiciary to ensure an effective accountability process and would work with South Africa in setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
He said a technical team and some ministers from Sri Lanka will visit that country shortly for an indepth study on setting up a Reconciliation Commission to suit Sri Lanka’s needs.
“Reconciliation and Accountability should complement each other because there will be no accountability without reconciliation and vice versa,” the Premier said recalling that a resident of Kilinochchi had told him that what they needed most was to rebuild their livelihoods and secure lost property because nothing would be gained even if cases were filed against all security forces' personnel.
He said this person also told him that they were keen to find out what happened to their lost loved ones and bring about a closure once and for all to the pain in their hearts and minds.
Mr. Wickremesinghe said oversight committees would be set up in few months. “In a few months you will be able to see the strongest Parliament in Asia,” he therefore said. (Yohan Perera)