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BASL exemplifies Sri Lanka’s legal institutional decay


The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) “express[ed] serious concerns as to diabolic overtures by the West to destabilize Sri Lanka on the instigation of the Tamil Diaspora…,” a Sri Lanka weekly said Sunday, and added, BASL is establishing “a high powered” committee to advise the government on matters that should be raised before the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva. The Head of the Committee, de Z. Gunasekera’s initial defense of Colombo arguing that delay in Channel-4 video presentation as evidence the video is a fake reflects a serious lack of basic legal reasoning skills from the highest legal institution of practicing lawyers, legal sources in Washington pointed out.

(for these documents pl visit the original article in TN)
Prof. Alston’s Report on Extra-judicial killings
IBA Sri Lanka Report: Justice in retreat
ICG Report: Sri Lanka’s Judiciary – Politicized Courts, Compromised Rights
Filing with Mareno O’Campo, ICC Prosecutor

 The new BASL Committee is to “evaluate matters relating to Western allegations centering around the massacre of some 40,000 Tamils during May, 2009,” the paper said.

BASL committee’s head, Gunasekera asks, “if the Sri Lankan armed forces had killed 40,000 Tamils and if the Channel 4 video was filmed in the last 3 weeks of the war from the beginning of May 2009 to the 19, why did they not produce it when Sri Lanka was called up before the Geneva Human Rights Commission in September or October 2009?” asserting that delay is sufficient reason to expose the video as fake.

Aristotle (384-322BC) – At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.

Secondly Gunasekara asserts, “there is ample proof that all related allegations had been doctored by…a group of people trying to take Sri Lanka before the Geneva HRC on the grounds that most of them had been largely bribed by the LTTE Diaspora.”

Thirdly, the head of the Committee says, “[i]f 40,000 people were killed in the last stages of the war where was the evidence – the incinerators, bones and graves – in what is alleged to have taken place in the last three weeks of the war.”

“Reasoning that delay is rationally related to and dispositive of the video’s authenticity is prima facie illogical, and reflects a desperate, and ultimately unpersuasive, rationale to mitigate the damage to Sri Lanka’s post-war international image.

“As a legal matter even local laws provide “substantial’ time defined as Statute of Limitation” to file cases. Criminal prosecutions and civil statutes have, for example, two to ten years. Universal crimes such as torture do not have any time limits,” legal sources in Washington pointed out.

“Monolithic categorizations of the global Tamil justice movement as ‘LTTE Diaspora’ in the post-Mu’l’livaaykkaal context is rhetoric suited only for domestic consumption, and unlikely to be accepted by reasonable minds in and outside Sri Lanka. The pathological impulse to brand Tamils as Tigers after Mu’l’livaaykkaal only serves to unearth the depth of racial prejudice latent in BASL culture, reflective of blind national patriotism. Besides there have been hardly any proof that expatriate Tamils engaged in bribery of any sort,” spokesperson for Tamils Against Genocide, a US-based activist organization, responded to BASL’s second argument.

“In the Sri Lankan context, where Colombo allowed only the military access to the Safe Zone before, during, and after the Tamil killing field, ‘absence’ of locations of the Tamil bodies does not reasonably establish 40,000 Tamils were not killed.

“TAG’s affidavit from an ex-SLA army commander and interviews with ex-LTTE members in charge of body disposal, provide a partial picture to this question, which is likely to remain not fully answered until high technology methods to discover bodies underneath newly constructed military and other structures, and inside deeply dug mass-graves, are made possible through an international investigation unobstructed by Colombo-engineered local obstacles. Evidence is emerging that the dominant methods of body disposal have been (1) burning, (2) mass graves, and (3) dumping bodies in the ocean,” TAG spokesperson responded to BASL’s third reason.

“Colombo vehemently opposes any outside investigation, and instantly dismisses any such attempts as violation of sovereignty, a farcical veil to hide State sponsored alleged international crimes of genocidal magnitude, and BASL cannot be unaware of Colombo’s fear of its orgy of terror being exposed by an external investigation” TAG spokesperson added.

Several NGOs, and eminent jurists, meanwhile, have commented excessive executive interference, corruption, and highly politicized judiciary are undermining the rule of law in Sri Lanka.

“Functioning within the authoritarian governance in Sri Lanka where fear of the State is pervasive, BASL too has lost its bearings,” Tamil observers said of BASL’s new mission to save Colombo.


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