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About the Commissioners

Mr. C. R. de Silva PC, Chairman, is a former Attorney General and Solicitor General of Sri Lanka. He was a Member of the Council of Legal Education, and of the Law Commission of Sri Lanka. He was called to the Bar in 1974, worked in the chambers of several prominent lawyers of the private Bar before joining the Attorney General’s Department in 1975. He took “silk” as a President’s Counsel in 1997. He has been a member of the Sri Lanka delegation to many international bodies including the Afro-Asian Legal Consultative Committee, UN Human Rights Council, UN Human Rights Committee, UN Convention against Torture Committee and the UN Committee for the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Dr. Rohan Perera PC, was Legal Advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was elected as the Sri Lanka candidate to the International Law Commission, by the UN General Assembly in New York securing one of the seven seats allocated to the Asian region. The International Law Commission was established in 1949 by the General Assembly and entrusted with codification and progressive development of international law. Dr. Perera has served for over thirty years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, initially as assistant Legal Advisor and thereafter, as a legal advisor and also was chairman of the UN ad-hoc Committee on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism which concluded the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. This Committee has been negotiating a comprehensive Convention on Terrorism. He also served as a member of the group of legal advisors and constitutional experts appointed by the President to advice the All Party Representatives Committee on a constitutional reform to resolve the issues relating to ensuring ethnic unity in Sri Lanka.

Prof. Karunaratne Hangawatte, currently professor of criminal justice in the State of Nevada`s premier university in Las Vegas, has undertaken extensive research on global terrorism that has qualified him to teach a course on terrorism in the criminal justice department. Dr. Karu Hangawatte received his LL.B. from the University of Ceylon, Colombo, in 1970 and his Ph.D. (with distinction) in criminal justice in 1984 from the State University of New York at Albany. He is an attorney-at-law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. His areas of interest include law and society, criminal law and procedure, constitutional law, legal method and process, terrorism and political violence, and the administration of criminal justice. He has been an assistant secretary of justice in Sri Lanka. He was one of the experts who worked on the United Nations declaration on the victims of crime and abuse of power and violation of human rights, which covered the cold war era. The UN adopted this declaration in 1985.During the time he was in Sri Lanka Hangawatte occupied a position in the legal research section in the Ministry of Justice and later as assistant secretary of the same ministry. He has also received several teaching awards at UNLV.

Mr. HMGS Palihakkara, was former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations. He has served on the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament matters. He retired as the Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka in December 2006 after 38 years of civil and diplomatic service. Since the 1990s, he has served on a number of assignments to the United Nations in Geneva and New York, covering work related to the General Assembly’s First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), and later the Conference on Disarmament, as well as on human rights, humanitarian and economic and social affairs. He either led or participated as a member of Sri Lanka’s delegation in several peace and security/disarmament-related conferences and meetings, including the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. He served as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and head of delegation to the Conference on Disarmament from 1997 to 2000. After his work in Geneva, he was appointed Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Vietnam, and from 2000 to 2004 served as his country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). Mr. Palihakkara served as Acting Director-General and Deputy Director-General of Sri Lanka’s Peace Secretariat (SCOPP), which serviced the Norwegian-facilitated peace talks (2002) and subsequent ceasefire (2003). Among other positions, during the mid-1990s, he was Director-General of Multilateral Affairs at Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, covering work related to preventive diplomacy, peace-building, arms control and non-proliferation. Holding a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, Mr. Palihakkara entered his country’s foreign service in 1979. His foreign affairs training took place in Australia in 1980, and he followed his studies in international human rights and humanitarian law at the Raul Wallenberg Institute, University of Lund, Sweden.

Mr. C. Chanmugam is former Secretary to the Treasury and former member of the Monetary Board of Sri Lanka. He was also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fitch Ratings Sri Lanka. An Associate of the Royal Institute of Chemistry, Mr. Chanmugam has held many positions of distinction in Sri Lanka and abroad. He was the Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies, Sri Lanka. A former Advisor to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, was also the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Planning; the Alternate Governor to the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank (1987-88). In Sri Lanka, he was also Chairman, Foreign Investment and Advisory Committee and the Controller of Tea, Rubber and Coconut industries.

Mrs. Mano Ramanathan, had a long and distinguished career in the legal profession where she rose to be the Deputy Legal Draughtsman. She has been active in the reform of law to strengthen the rights of women and children, as has been associated with work involving women’s empowerment. She is the wife of the late Justice P. Ramanathan.

Mr. Maxwell Paranagama, a former High Court Judge had a distinguished career in the legal profession before elevation to the bench of the High Court.

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