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Foreign legal experts: Ranil raises pertinent questions

[Grief: A Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil woman cries holding a portrait of her missing son; Photo: Daily Mail]
Speaking at the parliament on 7th August  UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe raised  some pertinent questions related to the appoinment of a three Member Panel of Experts to advise and assist Presidential Commission into Disappearance and Missing Persons chaired by Maxwell Paranagama, the Island reported.

Sri Lanka government is to appoint 3 more experts, according to media reports.  Present panel consists of  Sir Desmond de Silva, QC, Sir Geoffrey Nice and Prof. D. Crane.

Questions raised by Mr. Wikremesinghe fellows as reported bythe Isand:

“This Panel has been appointed subsequent to Human Rights Council – twenty fifth sessions Resolution A/HRC/25/L1/Rev1 of 26 March 2014, which states: ‘to monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and to continue to assess progress on relevant national processes.”  Under this resolution the appointment of the  panel is being commented in the media as a means of satisfying the requirements laid down in the above mentioned resolution.

“Therefore will the government make a statement to this House, the reasons for appointing the Panel? Will the government also inform this House: What was the process followed by the Government in selecting this panel? Which agency was responsible for negotiating with them? The basis for appointing these members?  Period of engagement? Whether they are paid, and if so how much? Where are the funds for the expenses for the panel, drawn from?”

“The Commissions of Inquiry Act clearly states that if the Commission has an issue they can seek the advice of public officials or the Attorney General, they cannot hire experts from outside to do their work. If they are incapable of completing the task, they should resign. Payments for experts are not authorized under the Act.”

Responding to Mr. Wikremesinghe Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris has said that external advices were appointed because the Maxwell Paranagama commission requested legal help and the Attorney General do not have the expertises needed for the purpose of the Commission.
For the The Island  news report  click  here.

No process in selecting the 3 experts

G.L-PeirisThe Government or President Mahainda Rajapaksa did not follow any process when selecting the three experts appointed to advice the Missing Persons Commission in its investigations on the war.

External Affairs Minister, Professor G.L Peiris told Parliament today that President Rajapaksa selected the three experts after he felt they were suitable for the job at hand.

He said that UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon and UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay, had also selected experts as panelists for their respective commissions on Sri Lanka based on the suitability of the commission members and not through a process.

Professor G.L Peiris also said that it was too early to reveal the cost involved for the three foreign experts as the duration of their role in Sri Lanka is still unclear.

He said that the experts will continue to provide advice to the Missing Persons Commission and visit Sri Lanka when required until it is felt their services are no more required.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had last month expanded the mandate of the Presidential Commission on Mission Persons and appointed three international experts to advice the commission.

The President was of the opinion that the Commission of Inquiry should have the benefit of the advice of distinguished international experts, whose internationally recognized expertise and experience encompasses legal and other relevant dimensions of the matters covered in the mandate.

Accordingly the President named Sir Desmond de Silva, QC (Chairman), Sir Geoffrey Nice, QC and Prof. David Crane as the three experts to advice the commission.

The experts will serve on an Advisory Council to the Commission of Inquiry to which the President had said he may appoint other experts as may be required from time to time, to advise the Chairman and Members of the Commission of Inquiry, at their request, on matters pertaining to the work of the Commission. (Colombo Gazette)


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