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July 28, 2017 [GMT]
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I have no confidence in the CTF: Wijeyadasa
[Saturday 2017-01-07 19:00]

 Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said today said he had no confidence in the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF) appointed by the Prime Minister. He said the CTF, which recommended the inclusion of at least one international judge on every bench set up to hear allegations of war crimes and the violation of human rights that had taken place during the final stages of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka.

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said today said he had no confidence in the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF) appointed by the Prime Minister. He said the CTF, which recommended the inclusion of at least one international judge on every bench set up to hear allegations of war crimes and the violation of human rights that had taken place during the final stages of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka.

  

The minister said some of the members of the CTF Committee were representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO). “No one is complaining about the independence of the judiciary anymore. We have reconciliation and peace processes in place. This report, at this juncture, is totally unwarranted. Therefore, we don’t have to follow these recommendations by the CTF,” he told the Daily Mirror.

The minister said no one could force us to have foreign judges or make us do things for the sake of reconciliation and impartiality. “If forcing continues, Sinhalese and Muslims will also be compelled to ask for justice for the crimes committed by the LTTE. They will ask for probes on terror attacks on the Dalada Maligawa, Sri Maha Bodhiya, Aranthalawa, Kattankudy and so on,” he said. He said even the UN could not force the government to include foreign judges, as it was against the UN charter to force or to pressure member states, be it large or small, powerful or weak. Having foreign judges in local tribunals is also a violation of the Constitution.

The minister said this situation was the result of the agreement signed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa with former UN Chief Ban Ki-moon. The CTF presented its final report to former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the Chairperson of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) on Tuesday at the Presidential Secretariat.

It was set up by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on January 26 last year to obtain public views, particularly those of affected communities across the country, on the reconciliation mechanisms proposed by the Government and incorporated in the Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council.

  
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B.C. judge finds 4 Sri Lankan men accused of human smuggling in 2009 not guilty
[Friday 2017-07-28 18:00]

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has found four Sri Lankan men not guilty of human smuggling. Justice Arne Silverman said Thursday that while there was evidence of organized crime in the smuggling operation, he wasn’t satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the men were connected to any crime. He also said the men were asylum seekers aboard the MV Ocean Lady get to asylum on the B.C. coast in October 2009.



Hambantota port agreement signing to go ahead tomorrow
[Friday 2017-07-28 18:00]

The signing of the Hambantota port agreement is to go ahead tomorrow despite the matter not being debated in Parliament today. Under the agreement the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and China Merchant Port Holdings Company Ltd will establish the Hambantota International Port Services Co. (Pvt) Ltd – with a capital of USD 606 million and 50.7% shares to SLPA and 49.3% to CMPort.



SC declares Tamil couple’s rights violated
[Friday 2017-07-28 18:00]

The Supreme Court yesterday declared the violation of fundamental rights of a Tamil couple, whose three-storeyed house at Wellawatte was acquired by the Defence Ministry by a Special Gazette dated Dec. 17, 2009. The state is to pay Rs. 500,000 as compensation to the owner. The court ordered that the house be handed over to the owners, who are now resident in Switzerland. The handing over is to be done within eight weeks.



Sri Lanka expects more Chinese investments in the country
[Friday 2017-07-28 18:00]

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake has spoken highly of the proposed Belt and Road Initiative, saying that Colombo would like to see more Chinese investments. The newly-appointed Foreign Minister told Xinhua news agency that China and Sri Lanka had maintained strong ties since ancient times, with the relationship being at its strongest level at present.



Husband fired unintentionally, says Jaffna killing suspect’s wife
[Friday 2017-07-28 18:00]

My husband, Selavarasa Jayanthan (39) from Jaffna, was never a member of the LTTE. It is a rumour to say that he was a former combatant. My husband fired unintentionally, the wife of the main suspect said. Two people were arrested in connections with the shooting incident targeting Jaffna High Court Judge, M. Elancheliyan at the Nallur South Road on July 22. The main suspect surrendered on Tuesday morning and made his statement to the Police.



TNA endorses govt. action
[Friday 2017-07-28 18:00]

The TNA called on workers to exercise their right to trade union action in a very responsible and constructive manner. TNA MP MA Sumanthiran, participating in a debate in parliament on the government’s decision to declare petroleum sector an essential service under the provisions of the Public Security Ordinance, said that resorting to strike action at the drop of a hat devalued the most potent weapon at the disposal of the working class.



LTTE remains a terrorist organisation: EU
[Thursday 2017-07-27 18:00]

Despite the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling which annulled measures against the LTTE, the European Union today said the terror organisation remains listed as a terrorist organisation by the EU. Issuing a statement, it said the ECJ judgment was a legal ruling on the procedure used for listing the LTTE.



Police officer assaulted in Jaffna
[Thursday 2017-07-27 18:00]

A Sub Inspector attached to the Jaffna Police Station was assaulted by a group of individuals last night. Nelliadi Police said that the officer was traveling on his motorcycle when the men had given chase him on motorcycles and blocked him on the Kodikamam Peduruthuduwa road. The officer has been admitted to Jaffna Kawechcheri hospital. According to hospital sources, his condition is not critical. Nelliadi Police is conducting further investigations.



President rejects Ravi K’s proposals
[Thursday 2017-07-27 18:00]

Three Cabinet proposals put forward by Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday were rejected by President Maithripala Sirisena. One paper sought permission to acquire Visumpaya (Acland House) Union Place, Colombo as his official residence, Cabinet Co-spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne said. Visumpaya has been used as an official residence for Government Ministers and a residence for visiting heads of states.



Mullaithivu land to be handed over to its rightful owners
[Thursday 2017-07-27 18:00]

Discussions were underway to handover the land where the Mullaithivu Army camp is located to its rightful owners within the next month, Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M. Swaminathan today said. The minister said 70 acres of land where the camp is located will be given to the previous settlers while the ministry bears the camp’s relocation cost of Rs. 140 million.



Stalin welcomes EU decision to remove LTTE from terror list
[Thursday 2017-07-27 18:00]

DMK working president M K Stalin has welcomed the decision of the European Union to remove LTTE from the list of terror organisations. "The Government of Sri Lanka, which has systematically interfered and undermined investigations about the human rights abuses orchestrated by the Sri Lankan Army on Eelam Tamils, should understand the intent of EU's highest court's act of lifting the ban on LTTE and work towards ensuring meaningful share of power to Eelam Tamils, equal rights on a par with Sinhala majority and create an ecosystem for Tamils to rebuild and live their life with self-respect," Stalin said in the statement.



Sri Lanka will work closely with new Indian President’
[Thursday 2017-07-27 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena, congratulating newly elected Indian President Ram Nath Kovind expressed his willingness to work closely with his Indian counterpart to further develop and strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. Sending a congratulatory message to President Kovind, President Sirisena stated that the vision and maturity of the new President will be beneficial in achieving harmony and unity that will encompass all communities in India.



EU court removes freeze on LTTE funds, orders delisting
[Wednesday 2017-07-26 18:00]

The European Union’s top court today removed the freeze on LTTE funds in EU countries and also ordered that the LTTE be removed from the EU’s terrorism list. The court said the EU had not produced any evidence to show that there was a risk of the Tamil Tigers carrying out attacks after its military defeat in 2009, the Reuters news agency reported. “The Court of Justice therefore confirms the annulment of the continued freezing of the LTTE’s funds,” it said.



Indo-Lanka accord hailed as helping defeat Prabakaran
[Wednesday 2017-07-26 18:00]

The 1987 agreement between India and Sri Lanka helped defeat the LTTE led by Vellupillai Prabakaran, Minister of Plantation Industries Navin Dissanayake said. Dissanayake said that when the Indo-Lanka accord was signed at the time his father, Gamini Dissanayake, was a Minister in the United National Party (UNP) Government, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party opposed it. He says if the agreement was not signed India would not have supported Sri Lanka to defeat Vellupillai Prabakaran.



Sampanthan’s adjournment motion touches secret detention camps denied by govt
[Wednesday 2017-07-26 18:00]

Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan yesterday moving an adjournment motion ‘relating to a matter of urgent public importance’ said the issue of missing persons particularly in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country had been a serious matter for some time and those families had conducted peaceful demonstrations in all districts there to impress on the government the urgent need to bring it to a satisfactory closure. Therefore they have been assured the following steps would be taken:



Main suspect of Nallur shooting remanded till 8 August
[Wednesday 2017-07-26 18:00]

A Sri Lankan court Tuesday remanded the main suspect in the shooting incident in Nallur, Jaffna of which a police officer was killed. Jaffna Magistrate ordered to remand the 39 year old Selvarasa Jayandan until the 8th of August when he was produced in court after he surrendered to the police this morning and subsequently arrested. The shooting resulted in the death of police sergeant Sarath Premachandra and severely injured another police officer in the security detail of the Jaffna Magistrate M. Illancheliyan, who escaped the shooting unscathed.



Brain dead man’s leg attached to another
[Wednesday 2017-07-26 18:00]

For the first time in Sri Lankan medical history, a leg from a brain dead individual, has been attached to another at the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital. The operation took place on Monday (24). At present less than 10 such operations have been done around the world. A year ago, a 32-year-old man had to have his leg amputated just above his knee as a result of an accident.



Army takes over operations of petroleum refineries
[Wednesday 2017-07-26 18:00]

Control of fuel distribution from the Kolonnawa and Muthurajawela refineries was taken over by the Army at midnight in order to restore fuel supply in the country, Army Spokesman Roshan Seneviratne said. "The distribution of fuel will be restored within hours and discussions are underway to gain technical support from the management and the workers who did not support the trade union action,” Brigadier Seneviratne told Daily Mirror.



UK legislator to push for pressure on Sri Lanka on rights issue
[Tuesday 2017-07-25 18:00]

A British legislator has said he will continue to push for pressure on Sri Lanka on the human rights issue. Newly elected as the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG), Paul Scully has said human rights concerns remain in Sri Lanka and he pledged to continue to raise the issue internationally. Scully said he would support the interests of the Tamil community in the UK while the APPG will continue to raise the issue in the UK Parliament, in Brussels and Geneva aiming to keep this in the mind of the Government, the EU and the United Nations.



Main suspect in Nallur shooting surrenders
[Tuesday 2017-07-25 18:00]

The main suspect in the shooting at Nallur in Jaffna on Saturday, where Jaffna High Court Judge M. Ilancheliyan and his security detail were shot at killing a police sergeant, surrendered to police short while ago. Police spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said 39-year-old Selvarasa Jayandan was arrested after he surrendered to the Jaffna Police Station this morning.


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