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January 19, 2018 [GMT]
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Rapporteur calls for transparent justice system in Sri Lanka
[Monday 2017-03-20 19:00]

The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers says the administration of justice in Sri Lanka deserves to be more transparent, decentralized and democratic. A report by Mónica Pinto, the former Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on her visit to Sri Lanka last year, has been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers says the administration of justice in Sri Lanka deserves to be more transparent, decentralized and democratic. A report by Mónica Pinto, the former Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on her visit to Sri Lanka last year, has been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).


Pinto visited Sri Lanka from 29 April to 7 May 2016, at the invitation of the Government, to assess the situation and remaining challenges concerning the independence of judges, prosecutors and lawyers and the proper administration of justice. The visit was conducted jointly with the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez. In the report, Mónica Pinto says Sri Lanka needs to conduct a strict exercise of introspection, so as to improve the independence, quality and credibility of its judiciary, the Attorney-General’s department and police forces.

“A significant change in the attitude and sensitivity of many members of the legal professions, in particular the judiciary, towards reforms and human rights will be necessary. Guidance on how to go about strengthening the independence, impartiality and competence of the administration of justice can be found in this report, but also in an important number of international and regional instruments, including the Latimer House Principles on the Three Branches of Government endorsed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2003,” she says. Pinto says while the democratic gains of the last two years must be welcomed, it is important to recognize that much more could and should have been done to manifest a commitment to genuine reform, in particular in the justice sector, and concretizing the creation of meaningful and participatory transitional justice mechanisms.

She also notes more tangible reforms are expected and necessary before the country can be considered to be on a stable and sustainable path towards democracy governed by the rule of law. “It is important to accelerate the process of positive change within a comprehensive and inclusive framework otherwise the momentum for such reform could be lost,” she added. Pinto notes that building a justice system that all sectors of society will trust and be able to rely on to defend and enforce their rights will take time, but it will also take bold steps as a sign of the authorities’ commitment to address the atrocities of the past and above all the structures that allowed these to happen. She says is it important to remember that justice must not merely be done, but must also be seen to be done.

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SL delays implementing pledges to UN: HRW
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

The Sri Lankan Government has stalled on its key pledges to provide justice for conflict-related violations and to strengthen human rights protections, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today in its 2018 World Report. It said the government took some steps in 2017 to reduce restrictions on speech and assembly, but there was little progress on transitional justice initiatives agreed to at the UN Human Rights Council in 2015.

SLPP petition for Maharagama rejected
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

The petition filed by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) over the rejection of its nominations list for the Maharagama Urban Council, was rejected by the Supreme Court today. It was rejected after being considered by a bench of Judges headed by the Chief Justice.

EU insists on key reforms in Sri Lanka
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

The EU stressed yesterday its clear and unwavering expectation that urgent action would be taken by the Sri Lankan authorities to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and replace it with legislation that is in line with international standards.

Dead army officer’s claim doubtful: CID
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

The Army Intelligence Officer who had committed suicide by hanging himself in 2016, having written a letter taking responsibility for the killing of senior journalist and Sunday Leader Chief Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, had in fact spent that day in the Kegalle area, the CID informed the Mount Lavinia Magistrate yesterday. This revelation is based on the officer’s telephone records, unearthed by the CID.

[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said during his term he expects to duly punish those politicians responsible for fraud and corruption. “Some people are asking, when I will leave office. I would like to tell them that I will leave office when corrupt politicians are duly punished for their fraudulent acts”.

Judge orders to halt excavation of alleged LTTE ‘treasures’
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

Mullaitivu District Judge Lenin Kumar on January 18 ordered an immediate halt to excavations done in a selected area in Mullivaikkal, Mullaitivu in search of alleged LTTE hidden treasures. The District Judge made this order after considering two submissions made to court by Mullaitivu Police. The police in its submissions said water had filled the excavated large pit causing great inconvenience to residents and there were no signs of any gold being buried despite digging operations done to a depth of nearly 21 feet.

Wiggy wants Intl legal framework
[Thursday 2018-01-18 18:00]

Northern Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran stressed on the need to find a political solution for the Tamils through an International legal framework. Wigneswaran was addressing a special meeting, convened by the Tamil People's Council (TPC) under the theme ''informing people'. Prof. S. Swarnaraj (Former professor, Law Faculty, University of Colombo) who participated in the peace talks during the Norwegian peace facilitation period was also present at this special meeting which was held at the Jaffna Veerasingam hall on Tuesday (16).

Trudeau celebrates Thai Pongal
[Thursday 2018-01-18 18:00]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, attired in traditional Tamil dress (silk 'veshti' and shawl), celebrated 'thai pongal' the Tamil harvest festival along with the expatriate Tamil Canadians. Trudeau said, "he had a great time" at the festivities. It also happens to be the 'Tamil Heritage Month' in Canada. He wished everyone in Tamil: "Iniya Thai Pongal Nalvazhthukkal!", which means, "Sweet Pongal Greetings." Canadian Parliamentarian of Lankan origin Gary Anandasangaree, the son of the TULF leader V.Anandasangaree is also seen in the picture.

Operation two begins on Bond report: MS
[Thursday 2018-01-18 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena said in Elpitiya that operation number two has begun on the bond commission report as he instructed the Attorney General and other stakeholders to proceed with legal action based on the report.

President Sirisena should resign- Mahinda Yapa
[Thursday 2018-01-18 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena did not have had good leadership qualities and therefore should resign from the office, MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said yesterday. Addressing a news conference, he said that the President had shown his incapability on numerous occasions and had failed in taking crucial decisions. “The President seems to be desperate and heartbroken following the negative remarks that have been made by some UNP members recently,” he said.

Over 40,000 postal vote applications rejected
[Thursday 2018-01-18 18:00]

560,000 applications for postal votes have been received from public servants for the LG polls on February 10 but 41,000 of them have been rejected as they were erroneously filed and some were received after the due date. About 560,120 applications have been accepted. The highest number of applications for postal votes have been received from the Kurunegala District and that number is 67,411.

MS will contest next presidential poll: SLFP
[Thursday 2018-01-18 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena will definitely contest at the next presidential election in the event the executive presidency is not abolished and the constitution is not changed, State Minister of Finance, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said today.

Two remanded for posting greetings with LTTE symbols on social media
[Wednesday 2018-01-17 17:00]

Two persons have been remanded by the Colombo Additional Magistrate till January 24 for posting new year greetings with LTTE symbols and a picture of deceased LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on social media. The Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) arrested the suspects, Dinesh Kumar and Wijekumar Wigilishan following a complaint made by Ratnapura Division SSP Buddhika Siriwardena. Additional Magistrate Danuja Lakmali Jayatunga ordered the suspects be remanded after the TID informed the court that the investigations against are not complete

PM tells UNPers not to drag President into problems
[Wednesday 2018-01-17 17:00]

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had instructed UNP Ministers and MPs not to make controversial statements dragging President Maithripala Sirisena anymore. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had given the instruction at the UNP Working Committee meeting at the party headquarters Sirikotha this morning. Party sources said the Prime Minister had also informed the UNP MPs and Ministers to take on the SLFP Ministers directly and settle whatever issues which they may have with the other main ally of the Government.

LG polls Rival candidate disrupts TNA meeting
[Wednesday 2018-01-17 17:00]

A Local Government (LG) election meeting of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was disturbed by a rival party candidate at Eevinai, Punnalaikattuvan in Valikamam South on Monday (15). Informed sources said the meeting had been held at the community centre of Punnalaikattuvan Village Development Society hall in support of TNA candidates Gangatharan and Rathi. While the meeting was in progress, a rival party candidate had entered the hall and shouted in abusive language at the people gathered at the meeting. He also behaved in a rude manner and tried to chase the candidates and those present inside the hall.

Jallicut’ in Kilinochchi
[Wednesday 2018-01-17 17:00]

'Jallicut', a traditional Tamil sport, which is played during the Thai Pongal period, was revived after several years in Kilinochchi on Monday (15). Bulls are chased and caught by young men in this sport. Most of the time bulls are the winners and the men who try to overpower them fail as a result of the aggressive nature of the bulls. However there were instances when the men overpowered bulls and won attractive prizes. The sport was abandoned when Kilinochchi was in a chaotic state during the turbulent days in the North. It was after several years the sport has been revived this year as part of the Thai Pongal celebration.

Postal voting: ballot papers delivered
[Wednesday 2018-01-17 17:00]

The delivery of postal vote ballot papers to voters in the provinces began yesterday. The ballot papers were handed over to the relevant government institutions under strict Police surveillance. This year 560,536 government workers are eligible to cast postal votes. Postal voting will take place on January 24 and 25.

Bond Commission report debate to be decided next week
[Wednesday 2018-01-17 17:00]

The date for Parliament to debate the Bond commission report as well as the reports of the Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption, and Abuse of Power (PRECIFAC) will be decided next week, Speaker Karu Jayasuirya said today. He said the decision will be taken at the party leaders meeting to be held on January 22. The Speaker received the copies of the bond commissions as well the other commission’s reports today.

2004 Kollupitiya suicide-bomb: suspect gets 2yr imprisonment
[Tuesday 2018-01-16 18:00]

One of the suspects of the Kollupitiya police station suicide bomb case in 2004, was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 15 years, by High Court Judge Vikum Kaluarachchi today. The suspect, Selvakumari Sathyaleela, was in remand custody for 14 years prior to the sentence which was delivered today. On July 07, 2004, five policemen were killed when a suspected LTTE woman suicide bomber blew herself up inside the Kollupitiya police station.

TNA office attacked in Mannar
[Tuesday 2018-01-16 18:00]

Manthai police in Mannar have received a complaint that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) office and the house of a candidate in the adjacent area were attacked last Sunday. The candidate has complained that banners, posters and buntings kept in the party office were all destroyed and stones and bottles were thrown at his house. When the inmates of the house came out the attackers lit firecrackers before fleeing in a vehicle. The TNA has claimed the attackers are EPRLF supporters. The EPRLF has denied the allegation. The TNA has also complained to the Elections Commission about the incident.

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