7 May, 2021

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On Proposed Law To Enable Foreign Countries & International Criminal Tribunals To Prosecute Sri Lankans

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

A Bill has been gazetted to incorporate into the law of Sri Lanka, the provisions of the ‘International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances’ which was hurriedly signed and ratified by the present government. Clause 8 of this Bill enables foreign countries to seek the extradition of a Sri Lankan who is suspected, accused or convicted of having caused enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka. When such a request is made, the government of Sri Lanka is obliged to inform the foreign country of the measures it intends taking to prosecute or extradite that person. Clause 21 empowers the executive arm of the State to oversee the full implementation of this international convention in Sri Lanka and Clause 23 states that this new law is to override all other written law.

Articles 10 and 11 of the International Convention against Enforced Disappearances empowers any member State to arrest anybody, even a foreigner present within its jurisdiction on suspicion of having been involved in enforced disappearances in any other country. The State that carries out such an arrest can prosecute the suspect without extraditing him to his own country. Most significantly, a suspect arrested in that manner, can be handed over to an international criminal tribunal even if the suspect’s own country does not come under the jurisdiction of that international tribunal.  

Article 32 of the international Convention (which the Sri Lankan government has accepted by a separate declaration) enables any member State to complain to the ten-member ‘Committee on Enforced Disappearances’ in Geneva that Sri Lanka is not fulfilling her obligations under this Convention and the Committee can investigate such complaints. Countries like the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada, never even signed this Convention. Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland and India signed it ten years ago in 2007, but never ratified it. Many countries have kept away from this Convention altogether for the obvious reason that its provisions have the potential to violate the individual rights of citizens of the States that join it.  

No one who is prosecuted in the courts of a foreign country or by an international criminal tribunal which is funded and maintained by interested foreign governments in relation to a crime allegedly committed in that person’s home country, can really expect justice. Such prosecutions are always politically motivated. All the elements that relate to an enforced disappearance – abduction, illegal confinement, murder and the illegal disposal of dead bodies etc are more than adequately covered by the Penal Code and the existing criminal law in Sri Lanka. The only real purpose of this proposed law will be to give interested foreign parties an opportunity to interfere in the justice system in Sri Lanka. Fortunately, according to our legal system and the judgement given by the Supreme Court in Nallaratnam Singarasa v. The Attorney General (2006), even an international convention that is signed and ratified does not become law in this country unless it is expressly incorporated into local law by Parliament.

Even though the government in its folly has signed and ratified an international convention that wiser nations have steered clear of, Parliament can reduce the damage to some extent by not passing the legislation to incorporate it into local law. The proposed law is an attempt to subject our armed forces to international war crimes prosecutions without using the term ‘war crimes’ and rephrasing it as ‘disappearances’. The use of the word ‘disappearances’ makes this look like an innocuous attempt to trace missing persons. However the purpose of this proposed legislation is not to trace missing persons but to hunt down and prosecute those who won the war against terrorism.

The only ‘disappeared’ persons whose cases will be dealt with under this proposed law, will be those of the LTTE because the armed forces have already categorised the thousands of soldiers who disappeared as ‘assumed to be dead’. However LTTE combatants who have either died in battle or fled overseas still continue to be categorised as having ‘disappeared’ by all interested parties. All Members of Parliament should be mindful that passing this Bill into law will be a clear case of betraying our country to the pro-LTTE Diaspora and the interested foreign parties backing them.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    3

    No need of foreign judges for you and helping Hambantota family unique in Asian history for plunder and atrocities.

    • 9
      1

      Mahinda,

      …………. You were always bragging that you are ever ready to go to the chair anytime to protect the soldiers. Here’s your chance to perform your act of smart-patriotism. Don’t chicken-out, buddy. ………………….. Lankans will be teaching your act of patriotism in schools for generations to come. ……….. Great, now Prabakaran has competition in the patriotic stakes! ……….. With Dayan and all his sidekicks joining, little by little it’ll be a sea of patriots. …………… Isn’t Lanka the luckiest country?

      • 2
        0

        He knew Europe never had electric chair and now no death penalty? GL told him.

  • 8
    3

    the rajapaksas are scared that it applies to them so they quote the army.if the latter are responsible it is at their request

  • 4
    1

    Who wrote this for him? He would never have understood the contents!

  • 9
    1

    Mr. Rajapakse & Bros had the chance to resolve the major problems that have been there since the BC pact was aborted because of pressure excerted by a section of the Sangha (April 9th 1958) and the assasination of SWRD ( 26th Sept 1959 ) who uplifted the majority of the SriLankan majority together sections of the minorities.

    Having crushed the LTTE with the help of International Support, What did MaRa regime do between 2010 and 2015 ? The Island news paper has summed it up with her beautiful editorial ” Messi’s belated bicycle kick ” 2nd July 2017.
    Goigama Sudhu Mahinda must understand what Kalu Malinga told the sports minister.

    It is hightime MaRa & Bros retire from active politics and allow younger generation to take the leadership.

    • 5
      1

      Another predictable sermon by Mahinda Pieris Jayatillake.
      “On Proposed Law To Enable Foreign Countries & International Criminal Tribunals To Prosecute Sri Lankans”
      Well, I say, if Sri Lankan courts are unwilling to prosecute you and your goons, and the sacred “war heroes”, why not let the foreigners do it? They have no hang-ups about persons wearing yellow sarees either.

  • 5
    1

    Today I read about an ex-soldier being sentenced to death by the Polonnaruwa High Court for killing his wife. Should we protest since he would have been a fighter during the war. Similarly forced disappearances or killings should be probed. If not locally internationally. Ekneligodas wife and childern will wait for hundreds of years to see the husband /father come back home. Could MR tell us why his government was lethargic in probing the deaths and dissappearances of journalists. The international community is concerned that we have a history of a former CJ apologizing for a wrong judgement delivered by him.

  • 5
    1

    This is a major problem according to Rajapaksa: the whole family is in jeopardy. He has first hand information of enforced disappearances and those responsible. This is not fair Gota wanted the Presidents House and yapalanaya is trying to send to a different house.

  • 4
    1

    Why not taste your own medicine.

  • 1
    7

    The LTTE led proxy war against Sri Lankan Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity and National Independency advocating by Tamil separatism has been created by western back that War of splitting our Island by installed Rough state in North-Eastern part of Island war was a unjust one.
    Its War of Tamil LTTE -terrorism against prevailing democracy of Sri lanka threaten by Tamil-terrorist for homeland .
    1 On the one hand resist War was key to nation survival of democracy order of people’s of Sri Lankan.
    2 On the other hand it was survival and safeguard of 2600 years civilization of majority community.
    Tamil terrorist of LTTE target to uproot ours values of Buddhist teaching and Sinhalese culture by War footing politics was back by USA, UK, EU and to some extent Indian hegemonies
    Our nation having every rights to resist war politics of LTTE .
    That was MR govt. did by defeated LTTE 2009 May 18th by our nation security forces . Indeed Unjust war of LTTE was One was an eliminated sovereignty and other destroy national security of citizens of Sri Lankan.
    Such Nation having every right to protected and safeguard by ours national security forces.
    There is no issues of “war crime” will be arise against political leaders of elected by votes and Armed Forces in Sri Lankan citizens. That is our national security of citizens ,no one cannot examine by foreign power or Judiciary outside our soil?

    • 5
      1

      Nimal read your post: then tell us what-the-hell your trying to say.

      • 0
        0

        Burt,
        He wrote it in Chinese and ran it through Google Translator.

  • 4
    1

    Mahinda, old friend,

    You say ” ….. Articles 10 and 11 of the International Convention against Enforced Disappearances empowers any member State to arrest anybody, even a foreigner present within its jurisdiction on suspicion of having been involved in enforced disappearances in any other country. The State that carries out such an arrest can prosecute the suspect without extraditing him to his own country. Most significantly, a suspect arrested in that manner, can be handed over to an international criminal tribunal even if the suspect’s own country does not come under the jurisdiction of that international tribunal …”

    What’s wrong with that? Is it injustice to criminals? I may not understand the legal finer points of the criminal justice system & I may not have the intellect of the caliber of Dayan J & Prof. GL, but to me, everybody deserves justice & nobody is above the law. I don’t want international criminals evading prosecution protected in SL because of being a non signatory this treaty, which, to my mind, prevents them from being extradited to face charges in a court of law. As for our own criminals, the law states that everyone is innocent until proven guilty & our lethargic & corrupt legal system ensures that part of the law is applied by simply not prosecuting criminals. If you are against this law purely to ‘protect’ war heroes, in my mind, any combatant who engages in rape, mass murder & plunder is not a hero but a criminal, no matter the circumstances & however brave such a person may have been in battle. In fact, he is an insult to his regiment & others who actually acted with courage & bravery. If the entire regiment is accused of such crime, then the Officer in command is also responsible for negligence. They are not soldiers & certainly not war heroes.

    You also say … ”All the elements that relate to an enforced disappearance – abduction, illegal confinement, murder and the illegal disposal of dead bodies etc are more than adequately covered by the Penal Code and the existing criminal law in Sri Lanka”. Are you joking or do you think we all live in cloud cuckoo land? The law may exist but the wheels of justice certainly doesn’t seem to be turning.

  • 2
    0

    This campaign is a precursor aimed to protect all wrong doers including drug smugglers and the like. Team MR is far-sighted all right!

  • 0
    0

    If the present Sri Lankan authorities don’t investigate the allegations leveled against you and your regime, then you will be pulled out together with the rogue elements in the armed forces who have done such crimes, by the UN and International Criminal Court and you will be sent to jail.

    If you gave orders to kill the innocent child of Prabakaran, then you must be put in jail for ever and rot in hell. No decent person kills an innocent child. If you got him killed you have shamed this whole country. The war was won by our brave soldiers. They sacrificed their lives to fight the war with the legal means, and after the war was finished, what happened? Some of the people, including Prabakaran’s child got killed. You will have to answer to this, in a local or international court, with or without these conventions, natural law will punish you, if you brutally got that innocent child, after giving him refreshments.

    Although I didn’t initially believe it, and thought it was all part of the Tamil propaganda, your behaviour later on shows that you are more than capable of allowing these crimes, and even ordering them, and keep on deceiving the people of this country.

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