Motoo Noguchi of the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office of Japan called on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at his residence this morning.
Former Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L Peiris was also present at the meeting. Former President Rajapaksa cordially welcomed Noguchi and referred to the warm and mutually supportive relationship between Sri Lanka and Japan and in particular the strong support which the government of Japan had extended to his government, especially with regard to the economy and trade relations, Rajapaksa’s office said in a statement.
Rajapaksa and Noguchi discussed a range of issues connected with current initiatives regarding reconciliation and the way forward. Noguchi described his experience in the war crimes tribunal of Cambodia and the manner in which it was functioning.
Rajapaksa, while appreciating his insights, pointed out the fundamental difference between the Sri Lankan and Cambodian contexts, and referred to the salient features of the Sri Lankan situation, the basic element of which was the eradication of terrorism and the availability of the opportunity today for all citizens of Sri Lanka irrespective ethnic identity, to live in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. He described in some detail the challenges which confronted his government and the strategies which he put in place to overcome them.
Noguchi expressed appreciation of the invitation which had been extended to him by the government of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to serve in an advisory capacity to assist the Commission on Missing Persons headed by Maxwell Paranagama.
Rajapaksa specifically clarified that the intention of his government, in response to a written request by Chairman Paranagama was to secure for the benefit of the Sri Lankan commission the expertise of several international experts including Noguchi.
He emphasised that the role of these experts was to serve as resource persons in dealing with complex issues of international humanitarian law and international human rights law which arose in the course of the work of the commission.
He said that the appointment of foreign experts as judges exercising judicial power in respect of the Sri Lankan armed forces and other Sri Lankan citizens was at no time contemplated by his government because it was politically unacceptable to our people and also because it involved conflict with basic provisions of the constitution of Sri Lanka.
Noguchi agreed that the best course of action was to have judicial mechanisms manned by Sri Lanka’s own nationals. Rajapaksa and Noguchi in the course of their cordial conversation discussed other issues of mutual interest. (Colombo Gazette)