Did not consider appointing foreign experts as judges - Rajapaksa

Did not consider appointing foreign experts as judges - Rajapaksa

October 21, 2015   05:30 pm

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Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday said his government, at no time, contemplated the appointment of foreign experts as judges exercising judicial power in respect of the Sri Lankan armed forces and other Sri Lankan citizens.

Stating this during his meeting with Motoo Noguchi of the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office of Japan at his residence this morning, Mr Rajapaksa said such a move was “politically unacceptable to our people and also, it involved conflict with basic provisions of the constitution of Sri Lanka,” a press release issued by the former President’s media unit said.

The release quoted Mr Noguchi as saying that the best course of action was to have judicial mechanisms manned by Sri Lanka’s own nationals.

Only on Tuesday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe informed Parliament that his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, had suggested the name of Mr Noguchi.

On the invitation given by the Rajapaksa regime to him last year to serve as an advisor to the Commission on Missing Persons, the former President said the intention of his government, in response to a written request by Chairman of the Commission Justice Maxwell Paranagama, was to secure the expertise of several international experts. 

He emphasised that the role of the experts was to serve as resource persons in dealing with complex issues of international humanitarian law and international human rights law which arose in the course of the work of the Commission.

The Japanese jurist, who served as an International Judge of the Supreme Court Chamber in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia during 2006-2012, gave an account of his experience in the war crimes tribunal of Cambodia. 

The release pointed out that Mr Rajapaksa referred to the fundamental difference between the Sri Lankan and Cambodian contexts. The basic element of the salient features of the Sri Lankan situation was “the eradication of terrorism and the availability of the opportunity today for all citizens of Sri Lanka irrespective ethnic identity, to live in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.”

Former Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L Peiris was also present at the meeting.

Full Statement: 

Mr. Motoo Noguchi of the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office of Japan called on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at his residence this morning. The Former Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L Peiris was also present at the meeting. President Rajapaksa cordially welcomed Mr. Noguchi and referred to the warm and mutually supportive relationship between Sri Lanka and Japan and in particular the strong support which the government of Japan had extended to his government, especially with regard to the economy and trade relations.
 
President Rajapaksa and Mr. Noguchi discussed a range of issues connected with current initiatives regarding reconciliation and the way forward. Mr. Noguchi described his experience in the war crimes tribunal of Cambodia and the manner in which it was functioning.
 
President Rajapaksa, while appreciating his insights, pointed out the fundamental difference between the Sri Lankan and Cambodian contexts, and referred to the salient features of the Sri Lankan situation, the basic element of which was the eradication of terrorism and the availability of the opportunity today for all citizens of Sri Lanka irrespective ethnic identity, to live in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. He described in some detail the challenges which confronted his government and the strategies which he put in place to overcome them.
 
Mr. Noguchi expressed appreciation of the invitation which had been extended to him by the government of President Rajapaksa to serve in an advisory capacity to assist the Commission on Missing Persons headed by Mr. Maxwell Paranagama. President Rajapaksa specifically clarified that the intention of his government, in response to a written request by Chairman Paranagama was to secure for the benefit of the Sri Lankan commission the expertise of several international experts including Mr. Noguchi. He emphasised that the role of these experts was to serve as resource persons in dealing with complex issues of international humanitarian law and international human rights law which arose in the course of the work of the commission. He said that the appointment of foreign experts as judges exercising judicial power in respect of the Sri Lankan armed forces and other Sri Lankan citizens was at no time contemplated by his government because it was politically unacceptable to our people and also because it involved conflict with basic provisions of the constitution of Sri Lanka. Mr. Noguchi agreed that the best course of action was to have judicial mechanisms manned by Sri Lanka's own nationals.
 
President Rajapaksa and Mr. Noguchi in the course of their cordial conversation discussed other issues of mutual interest.

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