Colombo Telegraph

International Acceptance Needed For Cabinet Posts: President Sirisena – A Response

By P. Soma Palan – 

P. Soma Palan

I refer to the news report in the Daily Mirror of 25th April under the above heading. In an Interview with the BBC Sinhala channel in London, President Sirisena has said that “one, who is to be appointed to a Ministerial Portfolio, should have local and International acceptance”.

Firstly, the above, is an unqualified statement of a general principle on appointment of Cabinet Ministers, although it was said in the context of the recent appointment of a new Minister for Law and Order. Appointment of Cabinet Ministers is entirely and purely an internal matter of the country. International acceptance has no relevance at all. The country, more specifically the Government, has the sovereign right to appoint anyone to any portfolio it thinks fit. If it really wanted to appoint Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka as Minister of Law and order, International acceptance is not a bar, nor a necessity. It could have done so, instead of the one appointed. In actual fact, he was the more favoured candidate for the Portfolio of Law and Order. No country will interfere with the internal governance of a country. One cannot understand why the Government should invite a fetter, when none exist, and self-inflict a limitation on its Sovereignty. In the case of appointment of Ambassadors to international countries, the acceptance or rejection of the host country is a required Protocol. But not for Ministers who function within the country.

On the contrary, the President and the Government have said that, it will not allow foreign Judges to a Court to hear charges of “War Crimes” brought against the Political leadership and the Defense forces. In this instance, the Government’s stand is that, it violates the Sovereignty of the country, while gleefully stating that” International acceptance is needed “for appointment of country’s Ministers”. Isn’t this an utter contradiction of principles?

As a member country of the UN, and by extension, the other institutional arms of the UN, notably the UNHRC, it is obligatory and binding on the Country to accept Resolutions adopted by the International body, relating to War Crimes charges. Our defense is that it violates the country’s Sovereignty. All countries of the world as Members of the UN have implicitly agreed to forego a little bit of their sovereignty in the interest of World Peace and Order.

The positions taken by the President (a) International acceptance needed for appointment ministerial portfolios, which is purely an internal governance matter, for which no binding mandate exists, the Government voluntarily imposes a limitation on its national Sovereignty and (b) where it is mandated and binding to accept International Resolutions pertaining to War Crime Charges, the Government invokes the defense of national Sovereignty. The two stances of the Government, patently and diametrically is contradictory? To my mind, it is a peculiar and weird kind of logic. That is, where it is unnecessary (a) we invite limitation of sovereignty and where it is required (b) we reject pleading sovereignty.

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