Sri Lankan president blames NGOs for calling for foreign judges

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena once again reiterated his opposition to foreign judges being involved in an accountability mechanism for violations of international law, blaming “NGOs affiliated to the LTTE” for calling for international involvement.

The Daily FT reported the president as stating he was “of the strict view that foreign judges should not be brought to the country at any time”.

The Sri Lankan President went on to blame “some LTTE members living abroad and members of some organisations as well as NGOs affiliated to the LTTE”.

He went on to claim that the UN Human Rights Council and other foreign governments had not raised the issue of international judges, stating, “I consider it a victory Sri Lanka received as an independent sovereign country”.

Mr Sirisena’s speech addressing the Annual Conference for Judicial Officers in Colombo this week, is the latest in a series of statements in which he has consistently spoken out against international involvement in an accountability mechanism. Tamil political parties, civil society groups and international human rights organisations have repeatedly stressed the importance of foreign involvement in any such process.

The Sri Lankan government itself co-sponsored a UN resolution mandating a “hybrid court” involving foreign judges, but has not yet taken any steps to initiate such process.

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