President asked to rescind tripartite understanding on foreign judges

By Shamindra Ferdinando

National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, has requested President Maithripala Sirisena to probe the recent TNA claim that the inclusion of foreign judges in the proposed war crimes court had been agreed in tripartite talks involving the government of Sri Lanka, the US and the TNA ahead of Geneva session last Sept/Oct.

Participating in congressional hearing on June 14, MP Sumanthiran claimed that Geneva Resolution 30/1 had been unanimously agreed on Oct 1, 2015 on the basis of the tripartite understanding, therefore the TNA expected the government to fully implement the resolution.

Urging the President to reveal those who had been involved in the project inimical to Sri Lanka, MP Weerawansa emphasized the need to rescind the agreement. MP Weerawansa pointed out that the TNA MP had gone to the extent of claiming that the agreed inclusion of foreign judges wasn’t contrary to the Constitution.

Weerawansa has told President Sirisena that Sri Lanka had to pay a very heavy price for involving external elements in domestic matters, hence the urgent need to verify MP Sumanthiran’s declaration made in the presence of Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Washington Prasad Kariyawasam.

The UPFA MP said that as a front-page news item headlined ‘Constitution no bar to foreign judges in war crimes court-TNA’ in June 28, 2016 edition of The Island hadn’t been denied by MP Sumanthiran, President Maithripala Sirisena should therefore intervene immediately.

Weerawansa has asked the President to reveal what the government had promised to TNA for agreeing to a hybrid court instead of its longstanding call for an international war crimes court. The Colombo District MP also sought an explanation from the President in respect of tripartite understanding on the devolution of power and the purpose of having consultations on constitutional reforms against the backdrop of reaching an understanding with the TNA in that regard.

The former JVP heavyweight also requested President Maithripala Sirisena to name politicians and officials involved in talks with the US and TNA and who authorized the negotiations.

MP Weerawansa told The Island that as the parliament hadn’t approved such a course of action, it would be important to establish the circumstances under which the unprecedented understanding had been reached. The MP said that MP Sumanthiran had contradicted President Maithripala Sirisena’s stand that foreign judges wouldn’t be accommodated in the proposed judicial mechanism under any circumstances.

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