24 March, 2019

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Release The Buried Reports, Be Transparent – Bar Association SL Tells Commonwealth Sharma

Senior Lawyers at the Sri Lankan Bar will take issue directly with the Commonwealth Secretariat over a decision by Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma to refrain from disclosing the content of two major legal opinions he sought regarding the Sri Lankan Government’s impeachment of its Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

BASL President, Upul Jayasuriya

As exclusively revealed in the Colombo Telegraph, Commonwealth SG Sharma may have covered up two key independent legal opinions by South African and British jurists on the legality of Sri Lanka’s impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, withholding the content of those opinions even from the powerful Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

Bar Association of Sri Lanka President, Upul Jayasuriya said he would be writing directly to the Commonwealth Secretariat, calling for transparency and a release of these two legal opinions. “We are interested in this matter ourselves, these are opinions sought about the Sri Lankan judicial system. We are stakeholders in this issue so whether the impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake was wrong or right, we have every right to know,” Jayasuriya told Colombo Telegraph.

He added that in the name of transparency, the Secretary General had an obligation to reveal the content of the opinions he had sought about the Sri Lankan impeachment.

“Kamalesh Sharma did not pay for these independent opinions with his personal silver – he paid for it with Commonwealth funds,” he charged.

Jayasuriya explained that as a citizen of the Commonwealth and as a member of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association which was responsible for conceptualising the Latimer House principles governing the independence of the judiciary in Commonwealth Member States. “We are entitled to know if there has been a violation of these principles or not,” he explained.

JC Weliamuna

Under Jayasuriya’s stewardship, the Bar has refused to recognise the appointment of Bandaranayake’s successor Mohan Pieris and decided to invite the impeached Chief Justice to his presidential installation.

The BASL remains a staunch critic of the impeachment process against Bandaranayake and the Government’s ongoing witch-hunt against the deposed Chief Justice.

Meanwhile, legal activist group the Lawyers Collective that mobilised against Bandaranayake’s impeachment said they were shocked at the revelations about the Secretary General’s decision to bury the reports. Speaking on behalf of the collective, activist and Lawyer J.C Weliamuna said that the Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Secretary was undoubtedly expected to be more transparent and should disclose all  facts for the Members to come to a reasonable and correct conclusion on the venue of the CHOGM. “In addition, if the story is true, the conduct the SG suggests unfortunate “collaboration” with the Sri Lankan political authorities,  to suppress a material fact that may be conclusive in many aspects. The Members of Commonwealth then  must then ask whether the SG should continue in that position any more in order to maintain the integrity and values of the Commonwealth,” Weliamuna charged.

He said that the impeachment was not an exclusively-internal matter for the country and therefore, post justification of impeachment  (through various other means using its own organs  within Sri Lanka)  of the impeachment cannot justify a blatant violation of Commonwealth Values.

Speculation in Commonwealth and diplomatic circles is that the Secretary General has decided not to disclose the content of the opinions because they may have forced him to act against Sri Lanka which is the next host of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this November, a top diplomat told Colombo Telegraph.

It is learned that CMAG Chair Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni is unhappy about Sharma’s lack of disclosure of these key legal opinions. The Canadian High Commissioner in London wrote to Sharma in May this year, asking for the opinions to be provided to the CMAG. Sharma responded that the opinions were “privileged”.

Related stories;

Exclusive: Secretary General Hides Two Key Legal Findings On CJ Impeachment From CMAG

C’wealth Spokesman, Presidential Media In Joint Twitter Q&A – Uku Fails To Answer Tough Questions On CJ Impeachment Reports And Others

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Privilege of the dictators and criminals to hide their crimes? Latimer house principles according to Sharma. Jai Commonwealth.

    • 0
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      The Commonwealth of Clowns is a corrupt at the Sri Lanka and Indian regimes that it supports..

      Moral of the Tale: Commonwealth of Nations should be SHUT DOWN!
      It is an irrelevant OBSOLETE British Colonial outfit that is a platform for Third World African and Asian Dictators and India’s delusions of grandeur about being a regional power in Asia…

    • 0
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      Sharma MUST RESIGN and the CHOGM shifted from Sri Lanka to another venue.

  • 0
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    Dear Bar Association Members

    Rather common wealth, try to educate your Magistrates about the danger posed by garages to human health.

    If you have PHI report, Central Environmental Authority and Police report you have to close garage. But Magistrate are not doing that because of sex, bribes and corruptions.

  • 0
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    Dipu Moni cannot desert Sharma now. They, in concert, took the
    Rajapakses off the hook. If Sharma is now caught red-handed Moni is equally culpable. The sense of neutrality, fairness and integrity
    of the Commonwealth Secretariat is in trial here. BASL under Upul
    Jayasuriya send a message to Sharma Sri Lanka cannot be treated lightly.

    Senguttuvan

    • 0
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      Exactly , Dipu and Uku guys play according to clown Sharma’s tune!!

  • 0
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    Start a signature campaign to to sack Sharama as Commonwealth Secretary General immediately and relocate CHOGM elsewhere.

    International colluders need an Ed Snowden to clean them.

    Remove this guy before the CHOGM.

  • 0
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    “Jayasuriya explained …… “We are entitled to know if there has been a violation of these principles or not,” he explained.”

    So Jayasuriya has already decided to take the two opinions as judgements (expecting they are adverse to GOSL). He must be thinking that we still live in the days of Privy Council times where coup plotters were able to escape punishment.

  • 0
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    This only happens when “Common Wealth” become some ones “Personal Wealth” and Rajapakses have mastered it well.

  • 0
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    Well said Mahela,Perhaps we will see the beginning of the ultimate dilution and decay of what the commonwealth stood for hitherto,come November.

  • 0
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    Why Kamalesh reluctant to release two reports?

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