Statement by Justice W. L. R. Silva , Commissioner of Commission to investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption - Sri Lanka- 05.06.2018 at working group meeting on International Corporation, Vienna, Austria - 08.06.2018

CIIThe Chairperson, members of the head table the learned and distinguished delegates, let me thank you all for the opportunity extended to Sri Lanka for an intervention. Let me begin by congratulating you on your appointment to chair this important meeting.


Before expressing our views on ‘international Cooperation’, we wish to draw the attention of all state parties to the preamble of the UNCAC.


Open quote
Concerned about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardizing sustainable development and the rule of law,

Concerned also about the links between corruption and other forms of crime, in particular organized crime and economic crime, including money laundering,

Concerned further about cases of corruption that involve vast quantities of assets, which may constitute a substantial proportion of the resources of States, and that threaten the political stability and sustainable development of those States,

Convinced that corruption is no longer a local matter but a transnational
phenomenon that affects all societies and economies, making international cooperation to prevent and control is essential,
Close quote

Further, I wish to draw your attention to article 1 of the UNCAC which clearly reiterate the golden rules of this convention such as , to promote facilitate and support International Corporation and Technical Assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption including Asset Recovery.

Therefore Mr. chair I take this opportunity to respectfully express our solidarity and our stand as Sri Lanka for the fulfillment of that obligation spelled out in the preamble to the UNCAC and article 1 quoted above.
Mr. Chair, International Corporation is not a matter that can be taken care of in isolation. Many states have faced difficulties in dealing with international cooperation in the field of extradition, MLA and asset recovery using the available tools.

At this stage I would like to draw your attention to the opinion of Justice Weeramanthry in the ICJ case named GABCIKOVO-NAGYMAROS the famous case commonly known as the Danube case.

Justice weeramanthry addressed three questions dealing with aspects of environmental law - the principle of sustainable development in balancing the competing demands of development and environmental protection, the principle of continuing environmental impact assessment, and the question of the inappropriateness of the use of' inter parties legal principle such as estoppel in the resolution of issues with erga omnes implications such as a claim when environmental damage is involved.

On the first question, his opinion states that both the right to development and the right to environmental protection are principles currently forming part of the corpus of international law. They could operate in collision with each other unless there was a principle of international law which indicated how they should be reconciled. That principle is the principle of sustainable development which, according to this opinion, is more than a mere concept, but is itself a recognized principle of contemporary international law. In seeking to develop this principle, the Court should draw upon prior human experience, for humanity has lived for millennia with the need to reconcile the principles of development and care for the environment. Sustainable development is therefore not a new concept and, for developing it today, a rich body of global experience is available. The opinion examines a number of ancient irrigation civilizations for this purpose. The Court, as representing the main forms of civilization, needs to draw upon the wisdom of all cultures, especially in regard to areas of international law which are presently in a developmental phase. Among the principle that can be so derived from these cultures are the principles of trusteeship of earth resources, intergenerational rights. protection of flora and fauna,, respect for land, maximization of the use of natural resources while preserving their regenerative capacity, and the principle that development and environmental protection should go hand in hand.

These are the principles where we could draw a parallel to financial crimes to money laundering and other corruption matters affecting not only the parties or the particular state but the entire universe and generations to come. These are called Universal Obligations( erga omnes). The normal and common laws Presumptions, treaties and laws will not be adequate to deal with these universal crimes.

I’m of the opinion that the main judgement is equally applicable to the matters contemplated by the preamble to the UNCAC and article I of UNCAC. Our first priority should be to promote international coperation to fight organized crime and economic crimes which are considered as transnational phenomena and to prevent and countervail effectually to protect nations communities and economies to maintain their political stability and sustainable development. Drafting new rules and law mutatis mutandis such as that involve universal obligations should be the norm of the day. In that I’m proud to say that we in Sri Lanka have already enacted same of these principles and rules into our legisltions. E.g. sec. 23A of B/Asec. 14 of CIABOC

In conclusion I would like to earnestly and humbly request that all nations must help one another based on UNCAC, irrespective of the fact that there is no by lateral or multilateral treaty to that effect or that a particular state is or as rest is not a member of the UNCAC or any other related organization.
Finally we thank you for the opportunity given to the Sri Lankan delegation to express our humble views.
Thank you.

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