Friday, August 28, 2009

The need for an independent Attorney General's Department

Today's New York Times reports:

"Despite the C.I.A. pressure and the stated desire of the White House not to dwell on the past, Mr. Holder (the US Attorney general) went ahead with an investigation that will determine whether agents broke the law in their brutal interrogations (during the Bush era)"
Here is Obama saying no to looking back into the past and the CIA saying please dont. But still the US AG is pushing for investigations. This would be unthinkable in Sri Lanka. I have seen the AG's department fellows vigorously defend the political programme of the GOSL in front of both judicial forums (Journalist Tissanayagam's Trial in the Colombo High Court , Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu's IDPs case in the Supreme Court) and in international political forums (like the UN Human Rights Council). Same goes with the AG absolutely surrendering his independence in advising the government on bills that might be constitutionally incompatible. The AG basically nods for everything.

The Ag's department should be acting in the public's interest and they are paid by the public. But they act as the Government's lawyers. They have absolutely no integrity. The AG has been appointed by the President whereas he should have been by the Constitutional Council which remains unconstituted by the President for more than four years now.


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