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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 111

Is the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons truly independent?

By a Special Correspondent in Geneva

Geneva, 19 June, (Asiantribune.com); The Attorney-General C.R. De Silva, President’s Counsel, speaking at the panel discussion organized by the International Commission of Jurists on Sri Lanka’s Presidential Commission of Inquiry and the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 13th June, gave an exhaustive explanation of the role of the Attorney-General in Sri Lanka and responded in detail to the IIGEP’s public statement of 11th June 2007.

The Attorney-General commented that it is possible that the IIGEP members may have confused the role of the Attorney-General by equating the role played by the Attorneys General in the respective jurisdiction that they come from.

He reiterated that in Sri Lanka, the Attorney General is neither a political appointee nor does he enjoy Cabinet rank.

He further stated that the IIGEP had also misunderstood the role played by the Attorney General in Criminal prosecutions.

He reiterated that the AG’s Department only offers legal advice during investigations and does not direct investigations as incorrectly assumed by the IIGEP in their public statement.

Responding to IIGEP’s comment that the Counsel of the AGs Department assisting the COI may find themselves investigating themselves, the Attorney-General dismissed the comment as baseless and unfounded.

The Attorney General also expressed his views with regard to the observations made in the IIGEP public statement on timeliness, witness-protection and mandate.

Mr. Dewey, a member of the IIGEP could not effectively respond to the Attorney-General. On being questioned if it is true, that a member of the IIGEP and one of its assistants had paid an unsolicited visit to the Kantale Magistrate hearing the inquest of the 17 aid workers and handed over a report on the case prepared on behalf of the International Commission of Jurists, Mr. Dewey could neither confirm or deny the allegation.

If true, Mr. Dewey was asked would he consider it an interference with the judicial process in Sri Lanka and whether any international norm or standard justifies such intrusion.

Mr. Dewey could not offer any explanation.

- Asian Tribune -

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