31 October, 2020

Blog

Sri Lanka’s Diversity Not Reflected In Judiciary, AG’s Office And Police, Says UN

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mónica Pinto has called for a more acceptable composition of Tamil speaking judges, and police in the country.

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers - Mónica Pinto

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers – Mónica Pinto

In her preliminary observations and recommendations at the conclusion of her official visit to Sri Lanka, Pinto said that while the society in Sri Lanka is predominantly Sinhalese, with important Tamil and Muslim minorities, which in the North and East of the country are in a majority position, the diversity of the population is not reflected in the composition of the judiciary, the Attorney General’s office, or the police, or in the language in which proceedings are conducted.

“For instance, there are very few Tamil-speaking judges appointed at the highest levels of the judiciary – in fact, with the exception of the current Chief Justice, there are no Tamils in the superior courts (Supreme Court and Court of Appeal). Police forces, in charge of investigation and the first steps to initiate criminal proceedings, are also composed of a large majority of Sinhala-speaking people. There are also very few Tamil-speaking State counsels in the Attorney-General’s office,” she said.

She therefore urged for diversity in recruitment of judges, state counsels, and police officers, while also emphasizing upon the need for qualified interpreters to be assigned to tribunals as a measure to guarantee due process.

“The police force also plays an important role in judicial criminal proceedings, for this reason they should be appropriately trained. The police force should incorporate members of the 8 different groups living in the country and speak all the languages of the country. Not only policemen should be able to communicate in Sinhalese and in Tamil, but they should be able to do so when recording the statement of detainees, so as to produce reliable pieces of evidence before the judges and to observe due process. As the police assumes the prosecutorial role before magistrate courts, its officers should be adequately trained to discharge this delicate function,” she said.

Pinto also urged the government to ensure that every person detained has access to a lawyer from the moment of the arrest and that every person is told about this right. “This right should be enshrined in the Constitution but pending an amendment, it should be embodied in national legislation and law enforcement agents should be entrusted with the duty to tell detainees about their rights,” she said.

Pinto noted that the frequent practice of confessions – especially in cases under the Prevention of Terrorism Act – and the plea bargain – which is not explicitly provided for in legislation in force -, if they are kept, should be coupled with some evidence supporting them, so that the judicial proceeding fulfills its function of shedding light to the facts. “Truth is but one of the goals of the judicial process,” she emphasized.

According to her, the country’s judicial proceedings are too long, and the time they involve affect especially people deprived of liberty. It amounts to a denial of justice. Cases are regularly postponed. Judges cannot afford the number of cases they have to deal with. The Criminal Investigations Department and the government Analyst Department are centralized in Colombo and conduct investigations for the whole justice system.

“Criminal prosecutors are overburdened. The backlog of Tribunals, in both civil and criminal matters, should be considered so as to be the object of some work plan to tackle the delays and to prevent their occurrence. Some elements to be taken care of are the increased capacities of the Mediation System Board, the increase in the number of judges and the establishment of some more courts in different parts of the country and some family courts, the clear cut difference in the prosecutorial services in the Attorney-General’s office so as to have a strong Prosecutor’s Office, and the implementation of an evaluation of performance plan,” she said.

“Sri Lankans need to be in a position to reach the courts and to have their cases timely adjudicated. 335 judges at all instances and in the whole country, a number given to us by the Judicial Service Commission, seem insufficient for a population of more than 20 million inhabitants. Further, the number of judges does not seem enough to deal with the variety and complexity of legal issues faced in Sri Lanka. Appointing more judges also needs to be accompanied by adequate facilities and resources, including building new court houses,” she added.

Click here to read Preliminary observations and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mónica Pinto

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 3
    4

    Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers – Mónica Pinto

    RE: Sri Lanka’s Diversity Not Reflected In Judiciary, AG’s Office And Police, Says UN

    1. ” Pinto said that while the society in Sri Lanka is predominantly Sinhalese, with important Tamil and Muslim minorities, which in the North and East of the country are in a majority position, the diversity of the population is not reflected in the composition of the judiciary, the Attorney General’s office, or the police, or in the language in which proceedings are conducted.”

    This is called the Para-Sinhala and Para-Sinhala “Buddhist ” marginalization of the Para-Tamils and Para-Muslims in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

    2. “She therefore urged for diversity in recruitment of judges, state counsels, and police officers, while also emphasizing upon the need for qualified interpreters to be assigned to tribunals as a measure to guarantee due process.”

    Madam, you better tell the Para-Sinhala and Para-Sinhala “Buddhists ” that marginalization of the Para-Tamils and Para-Muslims in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho is unacceptable and is against the Sri Lankan Constitution and the UN Charter.

    Keep reminding the Paras, that they are Paras.

    • 0
      0

      Amarasiri,

      What exactly do you mean by the word “Para”?

  • 7
    3

    As a past medico-legal officer in Srilanka I have found that judicial system in Srilanka viz Police, Bar and the bench are overtly racist and Tamils can never get justice in any conflict with Sinhalese.

    • 5
      1

      “are overtly racist and Tamils can never get justice in any conflict with Sinhalese. “

      If one has the money to retain the best lawyer – whether its sinhala, tamil or muslim he wins the case.- It’s been the norm before 48 too.

      that is what lawyers are there for- turn black to white.

      Say corruption is higher than before and give it a degree and you win the day.

      remember `honest sergeant Kandiah`, now there are many `honest minister lebbe’s` too.

  • 3
    1

    This is very true. We have to recover early from this situation. Tamil public servants in south before 1983 were exemplary in their service and ethical standards.

    Apart from mob violence from time to time continuous confrontational posture and the isolanist policies of the Tamil political class led this situation.

    Soma

  • 6
    2

    It will not be surprising if the recommendation of UN’s Special Monica Pinto will also face the same barrage of criticism as South Africa’s Ms Navaneetham Pillay did face in the Lankan SB politically controlled media.

  • 10
    10

    Very interesting.

    30 % of the population in France are Muslims, Do they have Arabic Judges, Arabic Police and Arabic Public Service.

    Toronto has nearly 20 % Tamils. How many Tamil Courts and Tamil Posts do they have there…

    • 8
      5

      The examples you have quoted are recent immigrant populations in these countries and not indigenous ethnic minority populations like the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

      You are a moron not to understand this simple but important difference.

      • 4
        1

        KA Sumanasekera ,

        Do not worry nothing spectacular is going to happen. Remember the only Tamil MP Scarborough – She lost while her party has come to power. Wherever the lankans go they do Dot, dot kakka.
        It happened at London elections too- That includes the sinhalese where the Bengalis refuse to nominate them – fraud on fraud!!

        Argentina’s claim to the Falklands is just a distraction from its own incompetence
        TIM COLLINS
        30 MARCH 2016 • 12:00PM
        The assertion by the UN’s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf that Argentina’s maritime territory should include the Falkland Islands is a bit like Jeremy Corbyn’s assertion that the UK should open negotiations over their fate. It does not matter. It is never going to change anything.

        It is frustrating, however, that the UN seeks to breath life into a dormant conflict against a settled, peaceful and democratically content people, in a world where Kim Jong-un threatens nuclear war while the European ideal disappears under a wave of humanity displaced by the brutality of militant Islam. Their migrant columns march only a few hundred miles south of the Ukrainian stand-off where death stalks the front lines.

        • 6
          3

          Pistachio,

          UN only goes after small fry..

      • 1
        0

        Not indegenous..that is the case

    • 7
      4

      KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

      “Toronto has nearly 20 % Tamils. How many Tamil Courts and Tamil Posts do they have there…”

      Here is a news:

      A Sri Lankan born Tamil becomes a Deputy Inspector General of Police in Canada.

      – Oct 11, 2015

      Tamil People living in Canada is proud to announce that a Sri Lankan citizen who was working in the Canadian police service has been appointed as the Deputy Inspector General of police.
      Nishanthan Thuraiappa who joined the Canadian police force as a police constable in the Harlton area has been gradually promoted to the rank of the Deputy Inspector General due to his outstanding performance. The Harlton police department announced this last weekend.

      The announcement says that Nishanthan Thuraiappa who is a new citizen has been an exemplary to other nationals. The latter who is the one of the grandson of Alfred Thuraiappa has gone to Canada when he was three and has involved in many social service activities in Canada.

      Nishanthan Thuraiappa who was very famous police officer in the Harlton area in Canada has introduced many people friendly plans in his area.

      ethalaya.com

      lankanewsweb.net/

      • 7
        4

        Dear Native,

        I thought the CJ of the Supreme Court of the Future Federal Republic of Srilanka is a Tamil already.

        So what is the big deal about your mate Thraiappu becoming an IGP in Toronto?….

        • 5
          3

          KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

          “So what is the big deal about your mate Thraiappu becoming an IGP in Toronto?….”

          “Toronto has nearly 20 % Tamils. How many Tamil Courts and Tamil Posts do they have there…”

          There is a Tamil Supreme court judge in Canada whose name I have forgotten.

          I will let you have the details when my Elders update me on these petty history.

          Given the stupid Tamils and stupid Sinhalese share the same stupid gene does it matter who is being appointed to supreme courts in Toronto or elsewhere?

          Both remain stupid.

        • 3
          1

          The stupid UN of ex-government servants- komission kakko!

          It is typical of this failed institution. I am hoping that the Prime Minister, leader of one of the permanent five members of the UN Security Council, quietly reminds the UN who is paying for their junkets. If I were he I would be getting tired of their recent assertions that sexism is more “pervasive” and “in your face” in the UK than any other country or that the reform of of housing benefit was an attack on human rights and invite them to focus on the real world – or do what the US does and simply stop the payments. At the same time I would very publicly ask how Argentine’s contributions were at. I would suspect that they are badly in arrears because Argentina is broke.

          • 5
            2

            Pistachio,

            Our Yahapalana Ponnayas are the only leaders in the Woeld who go against the nation’s own interests to worship and please these retired 2nd graders who are hired by the West to fill the UN positions as paybacks

            • 3
              1

              KA Sumanasekera ,
              The best most practical Government they can have is a Lankan LKY
              Gotabaya and BBS- thats my choice for the feuding nation- he has it all!!

              Just because some journos spoke rubbish to have a better life in the USA (she was rejected down under even though her sis lives) because as an Army man he asked her to move her butt. Next because his english may not be good as theirs so what.
              But he learnt one lesson When he studied for his MSc perhaps 50% were nadu boys with a chip on their shoulders and the others were from All India. He can have the support of India better than Ranil with Deccan Plateau Support Minister of Defence is IIT man from Deccan so is Modi.
              Jayawewa.!!
              No point in wasting time with BodiSira- The Indians can topple him when Trump comes in this November.

            • 4
              3

              KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

              “Our Yahapalana Ponnayas are the only leaders in the Woeld who go against the nation’s own interests to worship and please these retired 2nd graders who are hired by the West to fill the UN positions as paybacks”

              Do you now group MR, his son Namal and his client G L Pieris with yahalapana government for appealing to UN for security?

            • 3
              0

              KA Sumanasekera ,
              I think a leader who is, is a weak leader. Between being loved and being feared,

              The present UN is Americas used Elastoplast now a toilet paper for member states to wipe their butt. So send in a request by all means to let the world know- a cheaper way of communicating. As a politician, MR did the right thing

              Even the Tamil journalist at France requested the Tamils who are affected by the war to refrain from appearing at the deliberations. – Give them a slap on their fing face- they jockeyed and assisted in the carnage- Tamil relatives of SG too for that matter were their experts.

        • 0
          0

          Has T..appu ever arrested a Tamil Terrorist in Toronto where hundreds of them are engaged in crimes of sorts? If this fellow hasn’t brought terrorists to face and, given his position terrorism may well florish in Toroto and will become a problem for that city very soon. Good luck Toronto!

      • 1
        0

        NV –
        The Deputy Police chief – Nishanthan Duraiyapah. It is worthy to mention this young man is a nephew of our Mr. Alfred Duraiyapah who the dreaded LTTE buggers assassinated. Whether this rascal VP killed him or whether it was Amirthalingam’s son Kandeepan killed him is still up for discussion. I still think it is Kandeepan. Nishanthan went from the PEEL region to HALTON region and quickly rose up the ranks to this role.

        It is not the Supreme court but a representative court called Superior court in New Market Ontario by the name Mrs. Mohan.

        • 3
          0

          Tamil from the north

          “It is not the Supreme court but a representative court called Superior court in New Market Ontario by the name Mrs. Mohan.”

          Thanks.

          What is the difference between a superior court and a supreme court in Canada.

          Here in this island not much difference is found if one considers Sarath de Silva as a supreme court judge.

          • 2
            0

            Superior court of justice = High Court of Sri Lanka, similar to a representative court of the Supreme court where major criminal cases are held. You know the rest….thanks for asking.

    • 2
      1

      Idiot Sumanasekeram, Toronto’s Tamil population is only about 5-6%. Tamils are members of parliament, Deputy Police Chief in the Halton region, a judge in the superior court by the name Mrs. Mohan, Senior VPs in Banks, surgeons and lawyers………the list goes on. The Tamils in SL are not recent immigrants but been in the country around the same time the Sinhalese have been there. [Edited out]

      • 0
        1

        Thamil from Scarborough..

        Good to hear that a few at least are working to help pay the Dole for the rest.

        Real Canadians must be happy , to hear at least few decimal points can be reduced from their hefty Tax bill for the Dole payments.

    • 1
      0

      Sumana, london has elected a Muslim of pakistani dissent as Mayor. In Canada there are indian Ministers of first generation immigrants in Germany ministers from turkish immigration background, Sarkosy was son of hungary immigrants and so on… you stick to negative examples to protect your racism.
      What do you thing, in SLK a srilankan Tamil would ever get a chance to become PM or president on a political party basic? The Modayas would ransack the nation and stage a pogrom like in the past!

    • 0
      0

      In the US and Australia minotities are over represented in jails but not in their judiciaries, academia, media! Try telling the US and Australia to change their constitutions and see how far you get. Do their judges numerically reflect the population mix? I don’t think so but I forgot; these gutless jokers are here for bullying a small nation but, they are too frigtened to criticise the big boys.

  • 1
    4

    Sounds like the UN intends to unite the country through the Courts, Judicial and Police systems. Great directive indeed! The disgrace of the Sri Lankan public services was glaringly apparent right throughout. (Tried to scrutinize for any subtle configuration towards federalism and/or land-bridge issues, but saw none.)

  • 3
    0

    Good, big thanks to the present government for allowed decent, civilised people to see our jungle people and jungle law. Hope our people will become civilised soon and not rely on monks to decide the law. They and their sathyakiraha and protest march followed by tearing off agreements by many PMs are the main course for our countries present pathetic plight from the day we achieved the so called independence from civilised British. Now those lacy Buddhist monks are building temples every where in peoples agricultural land and ruining our economy – I think no one informed this to UN visitors. Also Swaminathan (another Lion covered in Tiger skin) to be replaced by a real Tamil-Tamil to develop the country. He is acting against Tamils wishes in all aspects (ex pre-fab houses, removing army from the north, building Buddhist temples in Tamils land, and many more). He may be another MR, robbing and ruining the country.

  • 3
    1

    An ever growing imbalance in ethnic composition in the judiciary and in the police known for so long is now highlighted by a UN official. How much correction has Good Governance done in the last 16 months?

  • 5
    1

    Agreed, Sri Lanka’s Diversity Not Reflected in Ministry of External Affairs as well. Canada has the largest Sri Lankan Tamil population outside of Sri Lanka, but Sri Lankan High Commission in Ottawa never had a Tamil High Commissioner.

  • 3
    0

    Sorry, I have mixed-up with names and mentioned Swaminathen instead of Reginald Kura who is actually not a Tamil(I was under the impression that the north Governor is a Tamil) and he has to be replaced with a Tamil person to develop North. Singhalese Governors will never understand Tamils feelings and never work for the benefit of Tamils. You can not manipulate everything as racism. This person’s pathetic comment about keeping army in the North shows his ignorance – I do not think Tamils need advise from this person, there are many highly educated people to provide advise. This person to be replaced with an able Tamil person to save North from deteriorating. There is no big difference between him and MR.

  • 6
    2

    “United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mónica Pinto has called for a more acceptable composition of Tamil speaking judges, and police in the country.”

    Could she ask them to return from Canada and UK Please?

  • 6
    1

    No chance of this becoming a reality in Sri Lanka, ever. The state will ensure that. A federal state in the northeast is the only option.

  • 2
    0

    It should be highly appreciated the fidings of UN special Repporture.These vital factors are suppressed by the political leaders of UNP &SLFP as well as their party supporters. Main reason for this pathotic situation is the both party leaders wanted make happy their party supporters ignorig fact that they have chosen to sereve the entire nation wthout any discrimnation , Therefore this is high time to take up issues raised by U N representative and prepare a comprehesive mechanism enabling all three communities to have equal oppertunties to enter public service. As appears now the power of giving appointment is dominate by the ministers concrned.
    The other factor is intoduce and public new code of ethics for all government servants as well as politicos enabling public to take justifiable judicial actions against those who violte such code of ethics as the senior government servants have become pets of the politicians

  • 5
    1

    You can not compare Canada, France etc. with Srilanka. Canada, France etc. are entirely different countries to Srilnka, white peoples country. Many others migrated due to ethnic cleansing in their own countries. Tamils native is Srilanka and you cannot expect Tamils to live happily in their own county with the same facilities they get in those country. That argument is totally out of proportion. How many people migrated to middle east or India got citizenship after living for centauries – why go far, how about upcountry people living in our country. Federalism is the one and only option after all this killings.

    • 0
      0

      I beg to differ that Federalism is the solution. The notion of Federalism was the root cause of the problem. The notion of Federalism was advanced by Ponnas, Sunda and Chelva with their mindsets of hatred for the Sinhalese and has brought about immense suffering to the entire nation. Therefore, it is in everybodys interest to forget Federalism and think about an integrated democratic Unitary state.

  • 1
    0

    Discussing only the rights issue. Why not add responsibility issues also?

  • 0
    0

    Tamils should be enabled to record complaints in Tamil, at police stations. They should not be compelled to sign “confessions” in Singhalese.

    In USA, the rights of anyone arrested are conveyed immediately on arrest – “You have the right to remain silent. What you say will be held against you at a trial. You have the right to an attorney” etc.
    This could be adopted in Sri Lanka.
    Those arrested are treated humanely and held in single cells.

    Those produced before a magistrate after arrest, should be questioned/interrogated by the magistrate privately before deciding on bail. The magistrate should also look for signs/symptoms of trauma, obvious to a layman.
    This does not happen now.

    This so called “rehabilitation” of persons is a nebulous process – it may include torture – which maybe why citizens are “threatened” with “rehabilitation”.
    Such process does not happen in other democracies.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.