Rapporteur calls for transparent justice system in Sri Lanka

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. 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. 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. She says is it important to remember that justice must not merely be done, but must also be seen to be done. (Colombo Gazette) read more

See More

Côte dIvoire parties renew commitment to peace agreement

The diplomatic breakthrough came on Friday at a summit meeting convened by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Ghanaian President John Kufuor, head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo agreed to implement the provisions the 2003 Linas-Marcoussis Agreement and to adopt a decree spelling out the delegation of powers. He also reiterated past commitments to proceed with the adoption of all legal reforms envisaged under the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement. All the Ivorian parties reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring the support of their respective members of the National Assembly for the adoption of these legislative texts by the end of August.They also undertook to start disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former fighters by mid-October. That process, which will be conducted on the basis of a specific timetable, will include all paramilitary and militia groups. In addition, agreement was reached on the need to restructure the defence and security forces.The President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the Ivorian political forces agreed on the urgency of resuming the work of the Government of National Reconciliation “in order to enable it to play its vital role of restoring normalcy in the country and for ensuring sustained implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement,” the UN said.Recognizing the need to respect human rights and the rule of law, the parties agreed to cooperate fully with the International Commission of Inquiry looking into abuses committed in Côte d’Ivoire since the beginning of the crisis on 19 September 2002.Speaking to the press after the agreement was reached, the Secretary-General stressed the need for follow-up. “It is important that the parties honour the commitments they’ve made here today to each other and to the people of Ivory Coast,” he said.Asked about ministers who had been dismissed by President Gbagbo, Mr. Annan said “they will be back in Ivory Coast and the government will resume its work.” read more

See More