Urging Sri Lanka to follow ‘Due Process’ : BASL deplores Swiss Govt’s statement | Sunday Observer

Urging Sri Lanka to follow ‘Due Process’ : BASL deplores Swiss Govt’s statement

Kalinga Indatissa
Kalinga Indatissa

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) issuing a statement condemned the statement issued by the Swiss Government where it is alleged that the ‘Due Process’ has not been followed in the matter relating to the Swiss Embassy local employee.

“We request the makers of this statement to immediately disclose the areas of ‘Due Process’ that has not been followed in this instance,” the statement, issued under the signature of its President Kalinga Indatissa President’s Counsel, read.

Accordingly the statement claims that the embassy should not make bare statements without mentioning specific instances of where due process has not been followed.

The failure to indicate such specific instance, according to the BASL, amounts to a serious undermining of the Judiciary and the other Law enforcement agencies in Sri Lanka which are more than equipped to follow the accepted norms.

“We request the Embassy to refrain from making such baseless statements and if there is any concern that they have, to bring it before the relevant forum without making ad hoc and inconsistent statements which undermines our Legal System and the Judiciary,” the statement read.

The BASL also notes that none of the lawyers representing the Swiss Embassy have gone down on record regarding the failure to observe “Due Process” as alleged in the statement.

It further states that “since the matter is before Court and whenever a matter is sub judice, it is wrong and incorrect for statements to be made in respect of such matter before Court. The statement issued by the Swiss Government dated December 30, 2019 violates this basic Rule.”

“The sequence of events would reflect that investigations have taken its normal pace. No ad hoc arrests have been made. The employee concerned was permitted to be free without being called upon to make a statement, for the purpose of the judicial proceedings, for a considerable period.

She has been permitted legal representation at the CID. Embassy officials were permitted to be present as observers at the point of recording her statement.

All material emanating from the investigations and the surfacing evidence had been placed before the Court. In these circumstances, the BASL is of the view that the investigations have proceeded in this case as expected by the Law and on the basis of the normal legal norms accepted domestically and internationally,” the statement read.

The BASL also reminded that when a reference was made regarding the right of certain members of the legal profession to appear in this case on behalf of the Swiss Embassy, the BASL immediately issued a statement confirming that every person who is aggrieved or is a party to a Court proceeding has a right of representation under our law. Furthermore it read that being a responsible nation as claimed, the Government of Switzerland should be mindful of Article 41 of the Vienna Convention which clearly states that all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities have an equal duty to respect the Laws and Regulations of the receiving State, in this instance; Sri Lanka. It is further illustrated in Article 41 that there should not be any interference in the internal affairs of the State.

“It is best if the Government of Switzerland would make an attempt to understand their role in making comments about the Judicial system and the law enforcement system of a separate, independent and a sovereign State.”