24 November, 2017

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WikiLeaks: Independent Commissions In Limbo Awaiting Constitutional Council

“Political in-fighting, spearheaded by the Sinhalese nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), is hindering formation of the Constitutional Council, the multi-partisan body empowered to nminate members to independent watchdog authoritis like the Human Rights Commission (HRC), PublicService Commission, the Judicial Service Commissin and the National Police Commission (NPC). Without the Constitutional Council, these agencies, set up to monitor government abuse of authority, are unable to appoint new members–and thus perform their crucial watchdog role–as their Commissioners’ terms expire. This has led to the accusation that the Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) may be using the partisan dispute over appointments to the Constitutional Council as a pretext to hamstring these independent agencies.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

wimal-and-champika

According to the JVP and its ally, the Buddhist monk-led Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), because the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader have already nominated representatives from the minority Tamil and Muslim communities, the majority Sinhalese should have the right to nominate a member as well.| File photo

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The “Confidential” cable is signed by the US Ambassador to Colombo Jeffrey J. Lunstead on April 06, 2006.

The ambassador wrote; “Internal politics–laced with heavy overtones of communalism–underpins the Constitutional Council morass. The Council’s fixed members include the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament, and the Leader of the Opposition. Other members are nominated from the local Tamil and Muslim communities, as directed by the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. The sixth and final member, according to the Constitution, must be nominated by unspecified ‘minority parties.’ The Marxist nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) argues that as the third largest party in Parliament, it–and not the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance–should have the right to make that nomination. According to the JVP and its ally, the Buddhist monk-led Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), because the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader have already nominated representatives from the minority Tamil and Muslim communities, the majority Sinhalese should have the right to nominate a member as well. The TNA’s position, on the other hand, is that since the JVP contested the 2004 general elections on the ruling party’s ticket, it counts as part of the governing coalition and thus is not a ‘minority’ party. (Note: The JVP left the governing coalition last June. The President has the authority to determine who has the right to nominate the sixth member, but so far has shown no wish to exercise it.)”

Read the cable below for further details;

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000553

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA, SCA/INS
NSC FOR E.MILLARD
PLEASE ALSO PASS TOPEC

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/05/2016
TAGS: PHUM PREL CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: INDEPENDENT COMMISSIONS IN LIMBO
AWAITING CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL
REF: COLOMBO 242

Classified By: Ambassador Jeffrey J. Lunstead. Reasons: 1.4(b,d)

¶1. (C) Summary: Political in-fighting, spearheaded by the
Sinhalese nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), is
hindering formation of the Constitutional Council, the
multi-partisan body empowered to nminate members to
independent watchdog authoritis like the Human Rights
Commission (HRC), PublicService Commission, the Judicial
Service Commissin and the National Police Commission (NPC).
Without the Constitutional Council, these agencies, set up to
monitor government abuse of authority, are unable to appoint
new members–and thus perform their crucial watchdog role–as
their Commissioners’ terms expire. This has led to the
accusation that the Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) may be
using the partisan dispute over appointments to the
Constitutional Council as a pretext to hamstring these
independent agencies. End summary.

—————————————–
Constitutional Council: No Signs of Life
—————————————–

¶2. (SBU) The Constitutional Council, empowered to appoint
members of nine independent agencies, has been in rigor
mortis after its members’ terms expired in March 2005.
Without the Constitutional Council, as the terms of members
of such agencies as the Public Service Commission, the
National Police Commission and the Judicial Service
Commission expire, no new Commissioners can be
named–rendering these important watchdog authorities
toothless, able to perform only limited administrative
functions. (The Election Commission is a special case. When
the incumbent Commissioner’s term expired, the Government
addressed the problem by refusing to allow him to retire.)
The latest casualty of this bureaucratic paralysis is the
Human Rights Commission (HRC), whose members’ terms expired
on April 3. (As reported reftel, HRC Chairperson Radhika
Coomaraswamy will join the United Nations as Special
Representative for Children and Armed Conflict on April 15.)

¶3. (C) Internal politics–laced with heavy overtones of
communalism–underpins the Constitutional Council morass.
The Council’s fixed members include the Prime Minister, the
Speaker of Parliament, and the Leader of the Opposition.
Other members are nominated from the local Tamil and Muslim
communities, as directed by the Prime Minister and Opposition
Leader. The sixth and final member, according to the
Constitution, must be nominated by unspecified “minority
parties.” The Marxist nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
(JVP) argues that as the third largest party in Parliament,
it–and not the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance–should have
the right to make that nomination. According to the JVP and
its ally, the Buddhist monk-led Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU),
because the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader have already
nominated representatives from the minority Tamil and Muslim
communities, the majority Sinhalese should have the right to
nominate a member as well. The TNA’s position, on the other
hand, is that since the JVP contested the 2004 general
elections on the ruling party’s ticket, it counts as part of
the governing coalition and thus is not a “minority” party.
(Note: The JVP left the governing coalition last June. The
President has the authority to determine who has the right to
nominate the sixth member, but so far has shown no wish to
exercise it.)

——————————————— —-
Human Rights Commission Can’t Receive Complaints
——————————————— —-

¶4. (SBU) With no new Commissioners appointed to replace those
whose terms have expired, the 10-year-old Human Rights
Commission (HRC) is now unable to accept or investigate
complaints of violations. The HRC’s ten regional offices and

COLOMBO 00000553 002 OF 002

two sub-offices will continue administrative operations
without commissioners, their employees receiving government
salaries, but will lack the full authority accorded the
Commissioners. Human rights activists and organizations,
including Amnesty International, have publicly expressed
concern that this bureaucratic emasculation of the HRC will
further limit Sri Lankans’ access to justice and ability to
seek redress for human rights abuses.

——————-
Police Promotions:
Still Impartial?
——————-

¶5. (C) The National Police Commission (NPC), established to
depoliticize the police personnel system, faced a similar
fate after only four year of operation when its members’
terms expired last November. NGO contacts active in the
field of good governance have cited the creation of the NPC,
which helped shield police from political retribution if they
enforced the law, as critical to the promotion of free and
fair elections in the country. Now, with no new
Commissioners in place, the authority to promote and transfer
policemen has moved back under the Inspector General of
Police (IGP). Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police and
NPC consultant Anton Jeyanathan told poloff, “No one is
interested in solving the issue (of which party make the
sixth and final nomination). . . . .The government wants law
enforcement and judiciary in their hands, so they can meddle.
The damage to the NPC has been done. The IGP has
transferred his own men into every office.” Jeyanathan
estimated the number of IGP-instigated transfers as upward of
300 out of approximately 440 police offices throughout the
country. Echoing this contention, the Hong-Kong based Asian
Human Rights Commission alleged that since the NPC expired in
November “the Inspector General had begun taking on its
powers, including the making of promotions and transfers. . .
. thus making a mockery of (the NPC’s) independent nature.”

——-
Comment
——-

¶6. (C) Without a Constitutional Council in place, watchdog
agencies like the Human Rights Commission and the National
Police Commission are unable to function effectively. While
the immediate cause of the delay may be political infighting,
the Government seems to be in no hurry to rectify the
problem. So far the President has shown no inclination to
use his authority to intervene in the dispute–and risk
alienating either the vociferous JVP on the one hand or give
the TNA additional reason to accuse him of Sinhalese
chauvinism on the other. The longer the President delays,
however, the longer these agencies remain without any real
power to monitor abuses. President Rajapaksa’s preference is
always to look for consensus rather than confrontation, but
the delay has led to charges that the agencies’ powerlessness
and ineffectiveness are just fine with him.
LUNSTEAD

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Latest comments

  • 8
    0

    K.A Sumanasekera

    Can you see an axis of evil in the above photo?

    Are they both closely related to you?

    • 0
      2

      Dear CT Readers,

      An irrelevant Wisecrack from a delusional Masked Tamil.

      This WikiLeak refers to an era 9 years ago when the war was still on and Prabahkaran amongst the living and Rajapaksa was President.

      It has no relevance to the present and it has absolutely no relevance to the CC under the 19A.

      Kind Regards,
      OTC

  • 1
    3

    Dear Native,

    Abiththaya is definitely evil, as far as the great majority of the inhabitants who are Sinhala Buddhist rural people are concerned..

    What he is doing to the good people who liberated the Nation from the evil Tamil Terrorists through Ponil’s F…. CID, is despicable.

    But the Elite,Anglicans , Vellalas and the Wahabis love him.

    In fact he must be the next best for them since sliced Prima..

    Thankfully Weerawansa has been blessed with enough Wisdom to expose the Abiththaya and his new mates, and do what ever he can to protect the great majority.

    Hope Weerwansa get more strength by the grace of Lord Buddha to keep fighting the evil Yahapalana Hoax, , because Ponil and his Western buddies will put Rakapaksas behind bars soon, to neutralize and destroy the opposition of the great majority to the UNP, at the coming election.

    • 3
      0

      K.A Sumanasekera

      “Thankfully Weerawansa has been blessed with enough Wisdom”

      Please find out from him:

      In what language did Tagore compose Indian national anthem?

      In what language do the Singaporean sing their national anthem?

      In what language do the South Africans sing their national anthem?

      If one boycotts google, yahoo, hotmail, ……… who benefits from it?

      Does he know the difference between fast to death and farce to death?

      • 0
        3

        Dear Native,

        I know your Yahapalana mate Singapore Mahendran sang the Anthem in English

        And has done well doing it. Hasn’t he?

        In fact you should be happy too, because you must have got at least a couple of those collectable 5000 Rupiah notes with his cool signature.

        Looks like they will be really rare specimens if your mate Ponil sticks to his word and dissolve parliament when the Non Confidence comes up.

        • 2
          0

          K.A Sumanasekera

          Could you now stop your crab walk (sideways) and comment on what I have asked you in my previous comment.

    • 1
      0

      Sumane,

      Since NV has questioned the wisdom of WW, I am not going to raise it again.

      However I have question about your following words “by the grace of Lord Buddha”
      since when did Lord Buddha became a god ? as per my limited knowledge (though better than most present day Buddhist) Buddhism is a way of life shown by Gautam Buddha. when you say by the grace of Lord Buddha, aren’t you seeking his assistance or seeking his intervention? like Hindus,Christians or Muslims from their god ?

      By the way majority of sensible Lankans would like to see MARA, his family (each and everyone of them) and the clan behind bars for long time albeit selected few could have other ideas. NV has explained who they are in a previous post.

    • 0
      0

      Sumanasekera sinhala is a language and buddism is a philosophy, there are no so called Sinhala buddists you deserve all these thieves you bless

  • 2
    4

    The first communal party in Ceylon was ACTC – The Tamil Congress. The second communal party was ITAK- The Tamil Nationhood Party.

    Nothing has changed since then. The Tamils need to conduct themselves independent of their caste and creed.

    Until that happens its futile to appoint Tamils to the CC.

    • 2
      2

      Once Caste structure is taken away Tamils will disintegrate.

      • 2
        0

        Jim softy

        “Once Caste structure is taken away Tamils will disintegrate.”

        Have you noticed as a person you started disintegrating many many moons ago. It is your own problem.However you are not Dr Who to regenerate again and again. The only problem with your self deception is you also want to take the country with you.

        Future generation is not going to be that stupid like your generation.

        Sinhala/Buddhism whatever that may be is not going to hold them down as they now use social media and travel as much possible. They can see through your Sinhala/Buddhist lies.

        • 0
          0

          Native Vedda:

          Only thing keeping Tamils united politically is Tamil. If Tamil is not there, their caste structure destroy them.

          that is the truth.

  • 0
    0

    Politicians cannot rob if the CC functions properly.

    Hence the appointments will be questionable and the funding will be curtailed to paralise the CC

  • 2
    0

    The photo above and the agenda these two political desperados weave into Sri Lankan politics shows that Sri Lanka can never be part of the modern enlightened and progressive world. They need to be systematically annihilated along with the extreme thinking of TNA and the diaspora if we are to move forward.

    We should approve and support people who have Sri Lanka at the centre of their cause and NOT race or religion, although the latter two must be given equal and due respect.

  • 2
    0

    These stooges of MR did not care about independent commissions at that time either they were scared of white van strategy or happy with the bones they got from the royal family then.

  • 0
    0

    Now having got through the 19A, this Government did not not know how to and whom to nominate the “Three Persons” from the civil society to the Constitution Council. If they do not know how to nominate three people, what to talk and discuss of the appointments to the “Independent Commissions”? It is time for the PEOPLE to decide and “KICK OUT” all these bastards from the Legislature and introduce some vibrant and intelligent people as their true REPRESENTATIVES to carry on with the Administration of Governmental affairs. Now the people must say ENOUGH is ENOUGH.

  • 0
    0

    The original leak was dated 6 April 2006.

    Has there been another leak?

  • 3
    0

    Wimal is a noisy fool who is best ignored, it is the more dangerous Champika who needs to be controlled.

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]

  • 1
    0

    The CC as proposed in the 19th amendment, has also been gutted and is now being quartered by the clowns and sinners we have sent to parliament. The 17th amendment provided for a better constituted CC.

    Radhika Coomraswamy and Ariayaratne are much better beings than most we have in the current parliament. They have reached heights through their abilities. Radhika had the family connections and the opportunities provided by her father’s position in the diplomatic service, to help her along. She however had the intelligence and ability to benefit. Ariayaratne has of course made serious mistakes-mainly nepotism- on his way. This can be pardoned considering that Sarvodaya was his baby and he has made the concept work. However, these would not preclude his serving on the CC.

    Where are we to find perfect men and women. They are at least qualified to carry the lamp to show us the right path!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0
      1

      Well said

  • 1
    0

    Vibushana.

    The Sinhala Maha Sabha of SWRD predates the ACTC. The ITAK was formed in the immediate aftermath of Independence. In fact its leader S.J.V.Chelvanayagam Q.C was unable to retain his seat at the General election of 1952. In fact it was the Sinhala only cry of SWRD IN 1956,that made the ITAK a political force. So these parties did not come into being from thin air. The catalyst was Sinhala chauvinism.

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