The TNA today pointed out that the Sri Lankan Constitution did not prevent the setting up of special courts with foreign judges to hear human rights cases and that it would do its best to haul Sri Lanka before an international tribunal if it failed to set up such courts.
TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran said this when participating in the committee stage debate on the budget last morning.
“Sri Lanka must adhere to the commitment it gave the UNHRC from 2015 to date. If not we will call for the setting up of an international tribunal,” he said.
The TNA MP said what Sri Lanka’s President and the Prime Minister have been saying for some time and what the present foreign minister had said at the UNHRC sessions that Sri Lankan constitution does not provide provision for special courts was false.
He said former justice minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who attended the UNHRC sessions in 2015 did not highlight this position.
“It was Mr. Rajapakshe himself who presented a private members motion to allow foreign judicial officers to participate in the Sri Lankan judicial system.
“This legislation was tabled during the impeachment era of former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayke. He would not have presented this piece of legislation if the constitution does not provide for the participation of foreign judges in the Sri Lankan judicial system.” the TNA MP said.
He said Sri Lanka through the resolution it co-sponsored even this year and in the past was committed to the setting up of special courts.
He read out paragraph 6 of the UNHRC resolution which says, “The commission welcomes recognition of Sri Lankan government that accountability is essential to implement the rule of law by building confidence among all communities in the judicial system and note with appreciation the position of Sri Lankan government to set up a judicial mechanism with a special council to investigate allegations of human rights violations and other international humanitarian laws and ensure credible justice through establishing a credible mechanism which would comprise independent institutions which will be represented by individuals who are known for their credibility and integrity. These individuals who could be commonwealth or other foreign judges and international prosecutors," the TNA MP said. (Yohan Perera and AjithSiriwardana)