Udalagama Report sheds light on:
SL's troubled relations with int'l experts
Even as Sri Lanka continues to debate the nature and extent of
participation of foreign judges in the proposed judicial mechanism to go
into allegations of human rights violations, a Report of the Udalagama
Commission (2006-2009) has shed more light on the panel's troubled
relationship with a group of international experts.
Calling the invitation to the experts a "unique feature," the
Commission, in its report of May 2009, stated that from the beginning,
the group, "for reasons best known" to it, displayed a "critical
attitude," which was not conducive to the maintenance of harmonious
relations with the Commission.
Known as the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP),
the group was headed by P.N. Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India and
10 others from various countries. The IIGEP, whose brief was to oversee
the Commission's working, functioned for a year (February 2007-March
2008). While announcing its decision to terminate its operations, the
Group had listed "lack of transparency and timeliness of the
proceedings," "lack of financial independence of the Commission," and
"conflict of interest at all levels, in particular with regard to the
role of the Attorney General's Department" as the reasons for its move.
While rebutting the issues individually, the Commission had
attributed the misunderstanding basically to the non-participation of
members of the Group in a "majority of sessions" of the Commission and
the reliance of the members on reports of their assistants.
"Had the IIGEP tried to understand the constraints" of the panel and
"worked consensually," the hands of the Commission would have been
strengthened. "Instead, they (IIGEP) adopted a hostile attitude and left
prematurely, probably misled by the advice of their assistants."