JSC, BASL in fresh row; judges can’t go to Dhaka
Five judges of the Court of Appeal have been prevented from attending a judicial training programme organised by the US government in Dhaka, Bangladesh, later this month, officials said yesterday amidst a fresh dispute between the Judicial Services Commision and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.
The training programme focusing on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism has been organised in consultation with the US Department of State and Treasury for judges from SAARC countries.
The Sri Lankan judges had already made arrangements to travel to Bangladesh for the event when they were ordered not to proceed.
Initially, the invitation for the workshop was sent to the Bar Association (BASL) which had referred it to the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) requesting them to nominate three magistrates for the workshop. It was then expanded to include four High Court judges as well.
However, JSC Secretary Sisira Ratnayake informed Bar Association President Upul Jayasuriya that the request could not be acceded to “due to the fact that it has not been communicated to the Commission giving adequate time to make necessary arrangements”.
BASL sources said that the invitation was sent to the JSC in June for the programme that was in late August. After the JSC turned down the request, the BASL had asked the President of the Court of Appeal to nominate five judges from that court (the JSC doesn’t control that court). Five judges had been nominated and the US embassy had two staffers meet them to discuss the workshop. Their visas had also been obtained for the trip when last Thursday, the judges were told by the President of the Court of Appeal that he had received instructions from Chief Justice Mohan Peiris to abort the judges going for the workshop.
Chief Justice Mohan Peiris left the country shortly thereafter