International legal advice was 'very favourable to Sri Lanka'

A top investigative body appointed to probe into disappearances was restricted only to obtain international legal advice favorable to the military, says the former president of Sri Lanka.

Addressing a meeting at a Buddhist institute in Colombo, Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that the Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons (PCICMP) led by former judge Maxwell Paranagama recieved legal opinion  'very favourable to Sri Lanka' from internationally renowned legal experts.

The former president who appointed the commission said that Sir Desmond de Silva QC, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Professor David Crane, Professor Michael Newton and Rodney Dixon and Major General John Holmes formerly of the British SAS had provided 'some very valuable written opinions' to the Paranagama Commission. They are all 'experts in the law of armed conflict' he has said.

Opinion Vs judgement

QC Silva who was reported to have received a monthly payment of over £60,000 for his advice to the PCICMP, cleared the Sri Lankan armed forces of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the last phase of Sri Lanka's bloody war.

Slamming a UN resolution proposing a probe on Sri Lanka in war,  Ex President Rajapaksa has said, "the difference between obtaining advisory opinions about the arguments that can be made in our favour from foreign experts and appointing foreign judges to hear court cases against our war heroes should be clear to everybody".

The resolution on Sri Lanka unanimously adopted in the UN rights body in Geneva called for a 'Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators'.

Rajapaksa has said that he totally opposed the setting up of such a mechanism that will be 'the creation of a new criminal justice system parallel to the existing one'.

Power of parliament

"Parliament has the power to thwart all these plans being made to victimize our war heroes," he has said.

Calling the UN proposal 'a matter that goes beyond politics and is about our country, our nation, our sovereignty and our self respect,' Mahinda Rajapaksa urged all members of parliament 'not to allow the passage of any legislation aimed at persecuting members of our armed forces'.

Any changes to Sri Lanka's constitution needs to be approved by two thirds of Sri Lanka's parliament with 225 legislators.

The current ruling coalition is made of 154 parliamentarians. 107 belong to the United national Party (UNP) led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe while 47 of them are members of the United People's Front Alliance (UPFA) to which Mahinda Rajapaksa also belongs.

The Paranagama commission was appointed in 2013 to investigate complaints of involuntary disappearances and forcible abductions from the war affected Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka during the period of June 10, 1990 and May 19, 2009.




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