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President Sirisena Rules out Once Again the Participation of Foreign Judges In war Crimes court

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By P K Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday reiterated his opposition to the appointment of any foreign judge in the Judicial Mechanism that is to be set up to try war crimes cases as per the October 1, 2015 resolution of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Presidential Secretariat sources told Express.

Speaking at the higher ordination ceremony of the Ramanna Maha Nikaya in Panadura, the President had said: “ Though various views are being expressed in various places regarding the bringing of foreign judges and establishing of foreign military courts to take action against the so called human rights violations during the period of war, I will not allow any national or international activity which challenges the freedom, independence and territorial integrity of the country.”

Sirisena was compelled to clarify his position on employing foreign judges because Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had told the media that government is considering all options, including the appointment of foreign judges, and that the final decision on this will be taken after consulting all stakeholders including the Tamil victims of the alleged war crimes.

When asked to comment on President Sirisena’s of repeated assertion that there is no question of using foreign judges, Samarawera said that it was the President’s personal view. In a democratic country, everybody, including the President and the Prime Minister, has the right to hold a view and express it, but the final decision of the government will be based on consultations with the stakeholders, he assured.

In his speech at Panadura, President Sirisena did not mention Foreign Minister Samaraweera or his remarks.

The President however vowed that, as a Buddhist and as the Head of State, he will not allow any dilution of sovereignty and that he will go by the advice of the Buddhist Maha Sangha (the highest seat of Buddhism in Lanka) to ensure national security.

“It is the policy of the current government to act according to the advice and guidance of the venerable Maha Sangha in every activity related to national security and other matters,” Daily Mirror quoted Sirisena as saying.

Lanka’s Sinhalese majority opposes foreign involvement in the Judicial Mechanism, as it is seen as an infringement of national sovereignty, but the minority Tamils are demanding it to ensure neutrality and justice.

Courtesy:New Indian Express

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