3 December, 2020

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The AHRC Seeks UN Intervention On The Independence Of The Judiciary In Sri Lanka

By Colombo Telegraph

The Asian Human Rights Commission today wrote a letter to Ms. Gabriella Knaul, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers informing her of the attempted abduction and assault of Mrs. Manjula Tilakaratne, the secretary of the Judicial Service Commission of Sri Lanka.

The AHRC stated that: The judiciary in Sri Lanka is facing an exception threat of being reduced merely to administrative functions and of rubber stamping the decisions of the executive as are some ‘judiciaries’ in Asia such as that of Myanmar and Cambodia. This is a very real and serious threat.

The AHRC requested the Special Rapporteur that:

…. in your capacity as the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers you should seek a visit to Sri Lanka in order to observe the situation yourself or otherwise take some exceptional steps for assessment of the situation and to make an effective intervention. The highest bodies of the United Nations need to be duly informed about the predicament that the independent judiciary in Sri Lanka is faced with.

The full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Ms. Knaul,

Re: Attempted abduction and the assault of the secretary of the Judicial Service Commission of Sri Lanka

I refer to my earlier correspondence to you dated September 25, 2012 regarding a press release issued by Mr. Manjula Tilakaratne, the secretary to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) regarding certain threats faced by the JSC and the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka. I am now writing to you to inform you that there was an attempted abduction of the JSC secretary in which he was assaulted on October 7. Perhaps you have already been made aware of this incident.

The details of the incident are as follows:

On October 7, 2012 the secretary to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Manjula Thilakaratne, a former High Court judge, was attacked by four persons. The JSC secretary, accompanied by his wife, had taken his son to drop him at the St. Thomas College gymnasium. After dropping his wife and son at the college he parked his car and as he to wait for some time took a newspaper and was reading it.

Suddenly he saw four persons stopping near his car. One of them had a pole that was about three-feet long and another was holding a pistol. The one with the pole walked towards the passenger’s door of the car and the other three were in front of the door on the driver’s side. The one with the pistol and the other two demanded that the JSC secretary should open the door but he refused.

Then they threatened to use the pistol and at that point he opened the door. One of the three persons asked whether he was the boss (Lokka) of the JSC. Then without warning they started beating him about the face and tried to drag him out of the car.

He continued to resist them. Having realised that it would be difficult to pull him out of the car they tried to push him into the passenger’s seat and he realised that they were trying to abduct him. At this stage he shouted loudly.

On hearing his shouts some doors from the nearby houses opened and some three-wheeler drivers and others were attracted by the noise.

At this stage the four assailants grabbed his mobile phone and ran towards the road behind the car and he lost sight of them.

Later the JSC secretary was admitted to the hospital and is being treated for his injuries.

The following day all the judges and lawyers of Sri Lanka boycotted the courts for a day as a mark of protest.

I am attaching herewith a copy of a statement issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission pointing out the basic threats faced by the JSC and the independence of the judiciary in general in Sri Lanka.

The judiciary in Sri Lanka is facing an exception threat of being reduced merely to administrative functions and of rubber stamping the decisions of the executive as are some ‘judiciaries’ in Asia such as that of Myanmar and Cambodia. This is a very real and serious threat.

Perhaps in your capacity as the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers you should seek a visit to Sri Lanka in order to observe the situation yourself or otherwise take some exceptional steps for assessment of the situation and to make an effective intervention. The highest bodies of the United Nations need to be duly informed about the predicament that the independent judiciary in Sri Lanka is faced with.

Hoping for your urgent intervention on the situation of the Sri Lankan judiciary,

I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Basil Fernando
Director Policy and Programme Development
Asian Human Rights Commission

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Latest comments

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    The UN should be disbanded if they do not take some drastic steps regarding this issue. Where is Obama the self appointed Policeman? Ban Ki Moon should resign if he can not get the UN to intervene in this matter and take MR to task. If they do not, what is obvious is that the US and all other countries are favouring MR and it is they who are responsible for the War Crimes and Destroying Democracy in this country, although they pretend to be the Saviours of Human Rights.

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    I completely agree with Gamini’s views. If UN, USA and other key bodies and players in the world who pretend to be the guardians of human rights, democracy and good governances do not take any meaningful, practical, compulsory and punitive measures against the Rajapaksha government it means these people, organizations and countries in the world are just doing a fake pretense and therefore they are responsible for the war crimes and genocide that have taken place in Sri Lanka! For all these years what they have really done is to just harangue about human rights, reconciliation, accountability etc. but doing nothing about Rajapaksha government’s doing nothing along those lines. I have a strong suspicion that they intentionally want to allow this country to be controlled by a puppet despot like MR so that they can exploit this country and its people for their advantage! We will have to use more caustic wordings against these paragons if they continue to remain insensitive to these issues!

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    Penitent voter: Some people seem to feel that there is no independent judiciary in this country and there’s no purpose in trying to save something that does not exist. Even our opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has reportedly charged that our judiciary is highly politicized. However, shouldn’t we try our best to protect our judiciary for what it is still worth even if it can no longer be considered independent? After all, there can be many judges of integrity. The move on the part of the AHRC is commendable. Let us hope it will produce some positive results.

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    There are two major procedures that the United Nations provides for individuals to lodge complaints against state for human rights violations. One is open to anyone who is able to send a comunication. That opportunity is provided by Resolution 1503 of the Economic and Social Council. It permits individual complaints to be recived and allows the Human Rights Commission to catalogue and coordinate them. This procedure has only little significance but in the long run this might encourage the state to accept and adhere to basic human right norms. Thanks for the effort and good luck.

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    Let the Sri lankan people to decided by own affair by themself.
    No need foreging intervenation of any UNO orginization of Country ongoing demostic issues.Soverignty, terrorial intergrity and unity are basic foundation OF DEMOCRACY OF SRI LANKA.
    If we loose such fundamental pillars of nation ,there is no Human Right or Indepandeance Judicairy or no elecated Parlmentry in our soil.

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    The 18th amendment has turned this regime into a virtual dictatorship. The executive is above the law. The sovereignty of the people has been usurped by a select few. There is no strong opposition to put the government on its toes. Western democracies, HR watchdogs and the UN agencies like the HRC are our saviours at the moment. Some people seem to be too stupid to realize from where the threat to our human rights and sovereignty is really coming! – Penitent voter

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    P.D.M. Ariyadasa,

    “”..Let the Sri lankan people to decided by own affair by themself.
    No need foreging intervenation of any UNO orginization of Country ongoing demostic issues.Soverignty, terrorial intergrity and unity are basic foundation OF DEMOCRACY OF SRI LANKA…”

    It seems you have invented your own definition using your broken English of democracy and that is why today democracy in Sri Lanka demo-crazy! How the hell do you expect Lankan people to decide their own affairs when a despotic megalomaniac has usurped all the sovereignty of people and all the elections are rigged and plundered? Where the fucking hell did you get this notion of “Soverignty, terrorial intergrity and unity” being basic foundation of democracy? Huh..! You regime happy brat! You very coolly try to distort the facts by mentioning “DEMOCRACY OF SRI LANKA…”! There is not a fucking democracy local and intrinsic to Sri Lanka alone but a democracy that is common to the whole world where the will of the people wins and the universally accepted norms of good governance is enshrined!

  • 0
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    This is basil Fernando’s rhetorics. This [Edited out] Singing for his supper.
    He is the one who fled Sri Lanka with the assistance of the Liberal Party with stink in his pants for the fear of the JVP then.

    [Edited out]

  • 0
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    I believe that there many people who appreciate Basil Fernando’s valuable contribution towards the cause of human rights and good governance in the country. Carry on, Basil, your good work undeterred by mud slinging by some either through malice or ignorance!

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