Foreign courts not permitted to try our soldiers – AG

Attorney General, in his sum up on the Bill entitled “Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment)” submitted that Government of Sri Lanka will not permit any of our soldiers to be tried in foreign jurisdiction on war crimes.

The Bill “Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) came before the Supreme Court for its Special Determination on its constitutionality.

The Bench comprised Justices Buwaneka Aluvihara, Sisira J. De Abrew and Nalin Perera.

Three petitions were filed before the Supreme Court for its Special Determination on the Bill. Petitioners are former MP Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, Ven. Maduruoye Dhammissara Thera and Kumarajith Dharmadasa.

Petitioners in their petitions complained that Sri Lanka submits itself to the Universal Jurisdiction pertaining to several criminal offences falling under international humanitarian law and human rights law which make Sri Lankan citizens subject to the jurisdiction of foreign courts and international criminal tribunals/courts.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam appeared for the Attorney General informed court that certain provisions of the Bill would be removed and certain other provisions would be amended.

He further submitted the original Act already provided that any request made by foreign jurisdiction which violates our Constitution including sovereignty, national security and military law will be refused.

He also submitted that this is a safeguard to prevent any of the soldiers being tried in a foreign jurisdiction. He stated the purpose of the Bill has only further strengthen the refusal of request.

Supreme Court will intimate its Special Determination to the Speaker of the Parliament.

Manohara de Silva PC appeared for Rear Admiral Weerasekera. Sanjeeva Jayawardane PC appeared for Ven. Dhammissisra Thera. Caniska Vitharana appeared for Dharmadasa.

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