Former New Zealand Governor- General Silvia Cartwright Appointed by Navi Pillay to “Lead”UN Team Probing Last Seven Years of War in Sri Lanka.



The Hon Dame Silvia Cartwright, PCNZM, DBE, QSO

The Hon Dame Silvia Cartwright, PCNZM, DBE, QSO

Former Governor-general and Campodian war crimes Tribunal judge Dame Silvia Cartwright has been appointed by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms.Navanetham Pillay as one of two senior human rights experts to “lead” the UN team that would probe the war in Sri Lanka for the period 2002 to 2009.

The team of investigators was set up under the purview of the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s office in terms of the resolution on Sri Lanka that was passed by the 47 member UN Human Rights Council in Geneva during March 2014.

The UN team will probe human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed by both the Sri Lankan armed forces as well as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the last seven years of the war from 2002 to 2009.

While the probe will be conducted in the main by UN officials and Special rapporteurs appointed by the UN Secretry-General the lead role in the investigation was to be undertaken by a high profile personality of immense international stature and recognition. This led to much speculation and among those whose names were mentioned in the media in this regard was former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself.

It is now learnt reliably that 70 Year old Dame Sylvia Rose Cartwright(nee Poulter) New Zealand’s 18th Governor-General will function as one of two senior human rights experts to jointly supervise and lead the investigation team while senior UN official Ms. Sandra Beidas would be the coordinator in charge of the administrative aspects of the investigation.

Excerpts from an entry in “Wikipedia” the Free Encyclopedia about Ms. Silvia Cartwright state as follows-

Dame Silvia Rose Cartwright born 7 November 1943 served as the 18th Governor-General of New Zealand from 4 April 2001 to 4 August 2006.

Sis a graduate of the University of Otago, where she gained her LL.B degree in 1967, and a former student at Otago Girls’ High School. She is married to Peter Cartwright.In 1989, she became the first female Chief District Court Judge of New Zealand and in 1993 she was the first woman to be appointed to the New Zealand High Court.

Prior to her appointment as Governor-General, she presided over a 1988 inquiry into issues related to cervical cancer and its treatment at Auckland’s National Women’s Hospital, known as the Cartwright Inquiry.

Ms.Cartwright has previously served on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and played a major role in the drafting of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

In 2007, in recognition for her work as a lawyer, the Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association established a lecture known as the Dame Silvia Cartwright Lecture Series.

Dame Sivia Cartwright was appointed to sit as one of two international judges in the Trial Chamber of the Cambodia Tribunal by Cambodia’s Supreme Council of MagistracyMultiple Defence requests that she stand down from this position have been consistently rejected by both the Trial Chamber and Supreme Court Chambers on their merits.

She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1989 and upon her retirement from the High Court was granted the use of the style “The Honourable” for life.

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at