26 September, 2020

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Lawyers Collective Regrets Denial Of Visa To IBA; Urges Government To Be Transparent

By Lawyers Collective

It is reported that visas issued to a delegation of the International Bar Association (IBA), consisting of eminent jurists, headed by the distinguished former Chief Justice of India  J.S. Verma,  had later been revoked. The delegation was expected to conduct meetings with a diversity of stakeholders on the development of the legal profession, rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka. This was not the first time IBA missions visited Sri Lanka and in fact, on two previous occasions the IBA visited and compiled reports, which enriched the legal profession and judiciary  immensely.

The International Bar Association, established in 1947, is the world’s leading association of legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies.  It has a membership of more than 50,000 individual lawyers and over 200 bar associations and law societies spanning all continents. It has considerable expertise in providing assistance to the global legal community. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) is a member of the IBA. Sri Lankan legal community is an integral part of the global legal fraternity.

The Government of Sri Lanka has constantly stated that the impeachment against its Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake has been done in accordance with the constitutional and international best practices. An independent assessment would have assisted the Government of Sri Lanka to prove its credibility. It is regrettable that the Government of Sri Lanka has denied visas to the members of this delegation, consisting of persons of highest credibility and recognition. Lawyers Collective believes that if the government did not have anything to hide, or it had followed Latimer House principles, the mission would have been permitted. We wish to remind those who matter that the only country which denied visas to IBA missions ever was Fiji in 2008, which was later suspended from Commonwealth in 2009.

Lawyers Collective urges the Government of Sri Lanka in the circumstances to be transparent and be open for scrutiny of its impeachment process and Rule of Law. Such openness would help the democracy in Sri Lanka in general and the professional standards of the Sri Lankan legal professionals.

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Latest comments

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    Govt is now set on an open collision course with the international legal community and commonwealth. Can it succeed?

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      The COMMONWEALTH of Clowns is an obsolete and irrelevant COLONIAL organization! If it wants to have any legitimacy it should expel the Rajapaska dictatorship and regime, rather than letting it host a head of Govt’s (CHOGM) meeting in Lanka! This would be the joke of the season!
      The Commonwealth organization in any case has a track record of supporting third world dictators while massaging the memory of British imperialism and Colonialism to make UK and the Queen feel good!
      It is truly amazing how this motley crew – the so-called “Commonwealth of Nations” (Ha Ha!) has repeatedly come to Rajapassa’s rescue and promote him and his EGO when all other international organizations ignore the dictator! Huge amounts of Sri Lankan tax payers funds have been spent on useless Commonwealth games bids and Commonwealth of clowns parliamentarians hosted in Lanka in 2012, while the citizens of COlombo were kept in a military lock down to protect Rajapassa and the parliamentarians of the Commonwealth of Clowns!

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    While we appreciate that this group, comprising of upright individuals, having the courage to go at least this far in the face of threats and let downs and what not, this statement falls short of expected clarity in many aspects.

    If the purpose of statements such as this one to give an accurate information, while the govt. and private media in the country is not giving all sides to the story and foreign ministry slandering IBA delegation that they visa rules were violated, and if BASL evidently is “looking the way” this statement raises several questions:

    a) Is there a reason for this statement not to inform the public that GOSL has no valid reason to not to allow the IBA delegation ? that means, clarifying briefly what happened with visa issuing and withdrawal, without leaving room for govt. to slander and get away.

    b) what were the last occasions IBA came here and on what role they played going beyond spin ( enriched legal profession and judiciary) as it says “on two previous occasions the IBA visited and compiled reports, which enriched the legal profession and judiciary immensely”?

    c) And on what basis the previous IBA delegation came here and did similar work, was it at the invitation of BASL, or JSC or can they come on their own ?

    d) Was IBA ( and experienced and committed lawyers in this collective) so naive to expect that GOSL would not stop them at the smallest pretext, after using such raw power in ousting the legal CJ ?

    e) Is it not a waste of time and energy trying to send reminders ( in a patronising way) on a relatively minor issue – “those who matter that the only country which denied visas to IBA missions ever was Fiji in 2008, which was later suspended from Commonwealth in 2009” – while they knowingly ignore (not forgotten) some absolutely fundamental principles in modern societies such as rule of law and safeguarding country’s Constitution?

    f) Or are these also efforts similar to half baked and selling your soul and dignity, face saving measures by BASL leadership?

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    I think that the Lawyers Collective knows that their appeal to this government carries only an academic interest. MR will not stop his march towards a total dictatorship come hell or high water! The Lawyers Collective instead of making appeals to the tyrant should throw in their lot with the forces planning to oust this government. Meanwhile, they can use all legal means at their disposal to make the illegal Chief Justice as uncomfortable as possible!

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    This so-called ‘Lawyers Collective’ has already proved that they are a group of spineless ‘black coats’ with no vision, direction or commitment. In public this group issue various statements and in private they worship the de-facto CJ as they are not prepared to take risks when it matters most. Their monumental failure to mobilize, the members in the profession and outside of it, against the unlawful and unjust removal of the CJ Dr Shirani Bandaranayaka, gave MR full confidence to get rid of the CJ with no fear. At least now on, this rubbish group, nothing more than a laughingstock, should stop making irrelevant statements, that only one to ridicule the legal profession, that is already at the receiving end.

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    Don’t ask features from tortoise. Because they are helpless and they can’t give something they don’t have. This so-called ‘collective group’ was just spectators and absolutely did nothing tangible to help me, the counsel, fought the case against Mohan Peiris, the de facto CJ, challenging his gross misconduct and dishonesty before the Supreme Court. In fact Weliamuma simply declined, probably in fear of persecution by Mohan Peiris, de facto CJ, and he simply refused even to comment about the case. This is the reality we have to live with in this country. I am sorry to say that these ‘great sons of mother Lanka’ who claim that they are committed to restore rule of law in this country, in my view, is utterly irrelevant and disintegrated group of lawyers, who refuse to take right decisions at right time,when their private interests are at risk.

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    Who are these ‘Lawyers Collective, groups and who they actually represent. Please stop wasting your space for this group who betrayed the Lady CJ. They are only talkers with no deeds. Had they taken a right decision at the most appropriate time CJ would not have left the official residence. And only after this group failed accept the offer made by the Judicial Service Association, that they would stand by any decision taken by the BASL,CJ left the Official Residence, having lost confidence of this group. Had they had courage and right determination and declared stoppage of work until the CJ is recalled and restored in office, MR would have no other option but to request her to resume the office.

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    DE FACTO CHIEF JUSTICE AND DE FACTO PRESIDENT…DEMOCRACY

    SRI LANKA STYLE!!!

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    Be honest in the first place. Your collective group must accept the collective responsibility for total failure onn your part to mobilse the membership when the JSA offered total support for stoppage of Court work until the CJ is recalled and restored in Office.

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    demonstrate transparency in the working of the legal profession first. Why not you declare how many of you are reported to the BASL for proffesional misconduct per month month. People have a right to know the details. First put your house in order before raise your finger on others.

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    I agree as someone said that this ‘so-called collective black coats’ is nothing more than a laughing stock.They just delivered nothing at all and conveniently betrayed the Chief Justice, the courageous lady Justice, abandoned by her own lot, including the three lady Judges sitting in the Supreme Court,who have now meekly surrendered their moral execellence to Mohan Peiris. Yet, MR cannot rob the steal of Bandaranayaka J, a lady judge with enormous courage and determination to stand against all pressure that she was subjected to.

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