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March 26, 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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Wigneswaran Wants Role In Reconciliation Process
[Sunday 2017-03-26 17:00]

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran yesterday called for his inclusion or that of a member of the Northern Provincial Council in the reconciliation process. Speaking at an event attended by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga in Tellipalai, Wigneswaran said that the Tamils in the North have been agitating for their participation in the processes adopted for reconciliation.

Wimal admitted to Prison hospital
[Sunday 2017-03-26 16:00]

Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa, who has been on hunger strike inside the Welikada prison since March 22, has been transferred to the Prison Hospital this monring, after his condition deteriorated, his party said.

Sri Lanka and India to conduct joint oceanographic survey
[Sunday 2017-03-26 16:00]

The Indian Navy and Sri Lanka Navy will be conducting a joint oceanographic survey off the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka from 30 March to 11 May 2017, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said today. The aim of the joint survey is to update all the navigational charts covering the southern Sri Lankan waters with the latest hydrographic data and to further cooperation between the two countries in the field of hydrography. The survey will be useful in enhancing the level of navigational safety of all ships visiting Sri Lanka.

Anti-terrorism law in this year: PM
[Sunday 2017-03-26 16:00]

A series of new laws would be brought in this year-including anti-terrorism law -as a part of Government's bid to modernise the country's legal system, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said over the weekend. The Prime Minister expressed this remark at the induction of U. R. L. due Silva the newly elected President of Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) on Saturday.

Hambantota deal: Major changes in final draft
[Sunday 2017-03-26 16:00]

China Merchant Port Holdings Company Ltd (CMPort) which has clinched majority shares of the Hambantota Port joint venture company will sell a quarter of them within the first ten years to a Sri Lankan party at a “fair value” determined by an independent valuer, the final draft of the concession agreement between the company and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) states.

Top US award for Sandhya Ekneligoda
[Sunday 2017-03-26 16:00]

The US Department of State is to name Sandhya Ekneligoda, wife of slain journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, for one of its International Women of Courage Awards. She will travel to Washington DC later next week to receive the award. Ms Ekneligoda was nominated by the United States Embassy in Colombo, “due to her work pursuing justice in her own husband’s case as well as on behalf of missing families from both Sinhalese and Tamil communities as a profound symbol in Sri Lanka’s efforts towards justice and reconciliation.”

Rajinikanth cancels Sri Lanka visit after protests from Tamil groups
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

Following protest from the pro-Tamil groups like Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), superstar Rajinikanth has decided not to participate in the Jaffna event, which is scheduled on April 9. Trade analyst Ramesh Bala shared Rajinikanth's letter on Twitter. In the letter, Rajini says, "I will not participate in the event, although I disagree with the reasons stated by Thirumavalavan and Vaiko."

Sri Lanka thanks co-sponsors of resolution adopted at UNHRC
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

The Government of Sri Lanka extends its appreciation to all the countries that extended support to Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council for the adoption of Resolution A/HRC/34/1 titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’, by consensus.

TNA welcomes UNHRC resolution
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) today welcomed the adoption of UNHRC resolution 34/L 1 which reaffirms the full implementation of resolution 30/1 of 2015, promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka. The TNA said in a statement that it welcomed the fact that resolution 34/L 1, gives specific time frames for the Government of Sri Lanka and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on the successful implementation of the 30/1 resolution at the 37th and 40th UNHRC sessions respectively in 2018 and 2019.

Data on ethnic riots of 1983 hard to come by; Govt
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

It was revealed that data on ethnic riots that took place in July/August 1983 was currently not available in most police divisions in the country. This was revealed in Parliament by Chief Government Whip Gayantha Karunatilake in response to an oral question raised by joint opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila, yesterday.

All forest reserves in Wilpattu North merged into one
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

All the forest reserves belonging to the Department of Forest Conservation, located in the northern part of Wilpattu National Park, have been declared as a single forest reserve. Accordingly, Mavillu, Weppal, Karadikkudi, Marichchakatti, Withthikulam and Periyamuruppu have been combined in terms of the Forest conservation Ordinance and President Maithripala Sirisena signed the Gazette Notification today during his visit to Moscow. The President has advised to take necessary steps to preserve the adjoining forest reserves as well.

Rathupaswela tragedy: Three Army personnel arrested
[Saturday 2017-03-25 17:00]

Three Army personnel were arrested today by the CID in connection with the shooting incident at Rathupaswala in Weliweriya on August 1, 2013. The investigations have been resumed under the unity government three years after the incident. Among those arrested are: staff sergeant Sirisena, corporals Lalithge and Tillekaratne. They were asked to report to the CID to record a statement this morning and were subsequently arrested. Police said they were produced in Court and remanded till April 3 by acting Gampah Magistrate Wasantha Gunasekera.

Human Rights Council gives Sri Lanka two more years
[Friday 2017-03-24 19:00]

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Sri Lanka for the fifth time yesterday, but the Government will claim a diplomatic victory after it won a two-year extended timeline to establish mechanisms that will deliver justice to thousands of victims and reconcile a country torn apart by a civil war that spanned three decades.

Wigneswaran tells Malik to withdraw Army from North
[Friday 2017-03-24 18:00]

Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran today told International Trade Minister Malik Samarwickrama the Army must be withdrawn from the North and replaced by an enhanced efficient Police force. Wigneswaran said that during the past eight years there has not been any activity in the Northern Province which connotes a return to the war days.

SL ‘war crimes’ have caused pain and anguish for India: Sushma
[Friday 2017-03-24 18:00]

The Government of India felt anguish and pain over the Sri Lankan military’s alleged war crimes against unarmed Tamils in the 2009 war, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in an unusually strong observation on the Sri Lanka’s human rights record.

Due to Tamil Separatism: Nearly 25,363 tri forces, civil defence forces members killed during 1972 to 2009
[Friday 2017-03-24 18:00]

Chief Government Whip and Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathillake said that 25,363 members of the tri forces and civil defence force had been killed during 1972 to 2009 period due to the issue of Tamil Separatism. He said that due to the same issue 38,675 members of the same forces have been rendered disable.

UK calls for meaningful devolution in Sri Lanka
[Friday 2017-03-24 18:00]

The British Government today encouraged Sri Lanka to deliver meaningful devolution through constitutional reform, establish credible transitional justice mechanisms, return all remaining military-held private land and replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act with human rights compliant legislation.A statement by the British High Commission in Colombo said that the UK welcomes the co-sponsorship of the new UN Human Rights Council resolution by the Government of Sri Lanka, which reaffirms commitments made in resolution 30/1 in October 2015, for the next two years.

Chagie’s visa application under consideration – AHC
[Friday 2017-03-24 18:00]

The Australian High Commission yesterday said that no final decision had been taken in respect of Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage’s visa application. Veteran Gajaba Regiment officer is Director General of Infantry. The Australian High Commission was responding to The island query whether any other Sri Lakan military officer had been denied visa over unsubstantiated war crimes allegations.

Vital for Sri Lanka to send message that 'impunity is no longer tolerated' underlines UN rights chief
[Thursday 2017-03-23 17:00]

Presenting an oral update on the rights situation in Sri Lanka, the top United Nations human rights official today said that a general lack of trust in the impartiality of the justice system in the country regarding past violations and continuing “unwillingness or inability” to address impunity reinforces the need for international participation in a judicial mechanism.

Chagie denied Australian visa over ‘war crimes’ allegations
[Thursday 2017-03-23 17:00]

Australia has deprived Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage of an opportunity to visit his brother, an Australian citizen on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations against the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). Australia has found fault with Gallage for being in command of the 59 Division from May 7, 2009 to July 20, 2009. In response to inquiries made by Gallage, the Australian High Commission has stated that troops under his command certainly committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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