The Sri Lankan government yesterday strongly protested against British legal action in respect of Brigadier Priyankara Fernando, one-time defence attache with the Sri Lankan High Commission in the UK.
Well informed sources told The Island that at a meeting held at the Foreign Ministry yesterday afternoon between Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha and British High Commissioner James Dauris, the former raised the issue at hand.
Sources said that the BHC was summoned in respect of the summons by the Magistrate’s Court of Westminster, and the arrest warrant without bail on Brigadier Priyanka Fernando.
Secretary Aryasinha reiterated the GoSL position earlier conveyed by the Sri Lanka High Commission in London through Note Verbal 29 October 2018, that a diplomatic agent enjoys immunity from the criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction of the receiving state under Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961)
It was further pointed out that a diplomatic agent is not required to file a responsive pleading or appear before the Courts or other tribunals of another State and hence is not required to file a response.
Foreign Secretary requested that the British High Commission takes necessary steps to ensure a review of the process including the order of the Magistrates Court of Westminster to correct the Court’s misunderstanding of International Law.
This position has also been communicated through our High Commission to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK.
Dauris assured that the GoSL’s concerns would be conveyed promptly to his Government, and that it was his understanding that the warrant against Brigadier Fernando will be withdrawn.